December 2, 2021

Non-Opioid Treatments for Chronic Pain

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There is insufficient evidence that prescription opioids control chronic pain effectively over the long term, and there is evidence that other treatments may be more effective with less harm.

Before you use opioids to treat chronic pain, try safer methods first. These include drug and non-drug treatments. Ask your doctor which options are right for you. Here are treatments for some common causes of chronic pain.

Non-drug options: Stay active: walk, swim, bike, or do yoga. Try chiropractic care, physical therapy, acupuncture, or massage. Some people find cognitive behavioral therapy helpful. In most cases, lower-back pain goes away in about a month – even without treatment. If not, see your doctor.

Non Opioid Drugs
Try acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen.

Non-drug options: To prevent a migraine, avoid things that trigger your headache. These may include alcohol and certain foods. Control stress: stay active, meditate, and breathe slowly and deeply. And make sure you get enough sleep.

Non Opioid Drugs
If you get mild to moderate migraines, first try acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Or try a mixture of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine as found in Excedrin Migraine and generic versions. If you get severe headaches, or get many in a month’s time ask your doctor about prescription drugs.

Non-drug options: Losing weight and staying active can reduce joint pain. They may even keep your arthritis from getting worse. Try a heating pad for stiffness and ice for swelling. A cane, walker, or over-the-counter knee brace can ease pain.

Non Opioid Drugs
Ibuprofen and naproxen work best. Acetaminophen may also help. Ask your doctor about prescription pain relievers that come in a skin cream-form.

Non-drug options: Try physical and occupational therapy. If you have nerve pain from diabetes, be sure to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.

Non Opioid Drugs
You could try medication that is also used to treat seizure and depression. These can help with nerve pain, too. Also ask about a skin patch with lidocaine.

Non-drug options: Stay active, meditate, or do cognitive behavioral therapy. You can also try tai chi, which combines slow, gentle movements with deep breathing.

Non Opioid Drugs
If those don’t work, consider medication, which is sometimes used for seizures and depression.