Drug-Free Ways to Treat Your Chronic Pain

If you have chronic pain, you know how much it can impact your daily life, interfering with work, school, your social life, and other regular activities. An estimated 20% of adults in the United States are living with chronic pain. Pain that lingers for months on end contributes to a lower quality of life and increases the risk of depression and anxiety.

Effective treatment often involves a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach, and it doesn’t have to rely on pain medication. Drug-free options for pain management can help manage your symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

The pain medication dilemma

Doctors commonly prescribe a powerful class of drugs known as opiates to treat chronic pain. However, these drugs can have unwanted side effects like nausea, constipation, and upset stomach.

The growing concern of dependence on opiate drugs is leading patients to seek drug-free options for managing chronic pain. At Carolinas Center for Advanced Management of Pain, our team of pain specialists can help you control your chronic pain without opiate drugs.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is often an effective first step in managing chronic pain. It can address various common sources of pain, including knee, back, shoulder, and hip pain.

Patients with low back pain who first consult a physical therapist are less likely to need an opioid prescription, according to a 2018 study published in the journal Health Services Research. The physical therapists at Carolinas Center for Advanced Pain Management work with you to create an individualized treatment plan involving stretches and exercises that can address your specific chronic pain.

Physical therapy helps increase flexibility and range of motion, improves the function of your muscles, ligaments, and joints, and reduces strain on areas to decrease pain and improve mobility.

Cognitive therapy

The perception of pain is highly individual. Your mind and body are both involved in the way you experience pain, so your thoughts and your reactions to pain can influence how you experience it.

Cognitive therapy is an approach to chronic pain that involves identifying thoughts and situations that may trigger or contribute to your experience of pain and changing them to reduce pain. Replacing certain thoughts with positive thoughts can calm your mind and your body and interrupt the cascade of chemical reactions involved in the pain response.

Spinal cord stimulation

A spinal cord stimulator is a small device implanted underneath your skin. It sends a mild electrical current to your spinal cord that stimulates the nerves in the area where you feel pain. The electrical pulses mask pain by interrupting pain signals before they reach your brain.

The goal of spinal cord stimulation is to achieve at least 50% to 70% pain relief. A spinal cord stimulator doesn’t eliminate pain completely; however, the level of pain relief it provides can be significant and make a major difference in your ability to carry out your daily activities.

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation can benefit patients with neck pain, low back pain, and joint pain. It involves using an electric current to heat up a targeted area of nerve tissue. This stops the nerve from sending pain signals.

Radiofrequency ablation can provide effective pain relief for 6-12 months. For some patients, the relief lasts for years. The pain specialists at Carolinas Center for Advanced Management of Pain can help determine whether radiofrequency ablation is right for you.

Chronic pain can interfere with nearly all aspects of life, preventing you from getting quality sleep or being active and increasing your risk of social isolation. If you’re dealing with chronic pain, visit one of our convenient locations in North and South Carolina. Call to schedule an appointment with one of our pain specialists today.

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