There’s no question that opioid pain medication, when used knowledgeably and with careful medical oversight, can be effective in controlling chronic pain. However, drawbacks and side effects should make opioids no longer than a short- to medium-term solution.
You need alternatives if your chronic pain condition lasts for years, or if opioids aren’t suitable for your situation.
Dr. James Nassiri of Westside Pain Specialists focuses on finding the right pain management alternatives for you. Dr. Nassiri and his team understand that pain management is often a continuous process, particularly in the case of unknown, incurable, or degenerative conditions.
They place emphasis on pain solutions that are sustainable, while impacting your life and activities as little as possible.
While low-dose opioids reduce the risk of addiction that some people face, you may build up drug resistance over time. As your body becomes accustomed to a medication, it may start to resist the pain-relieving abilities of the substance, requiring increased dosages to manage the same amount of pain.
This is a characteristic of opioid medications that contributes to inadvertent abuse as a pain sufferer increases their intake to find relief from the pain that’s now reasserting itself.
There are also limits to the types of pain that opioids can treat effectively. These are often the ideal solution to postsurgical pain due to the effects of cutting into tissue. Other conditions don’t respond to opioids as effectively.
For instance, while opioid drugs are often prescribed for kidney stone pain, many patients find better results with a combination of non-prescription pain relievers, as directed by their physician.
Opioids aren’t the only prescription drugs used for pain management. Some classes of antidepressants and anticonvulsants are also effective for relieving chronic pain symptoms. However, virtually any medication-based treatment has a level of side effects that makes it unsuitable for at least some patients.
The ideal pain management plan would avoid medication altogether, though this isn’t always possible. Consider these alternative treatments that don’t involve prescription drugs.
Though it seems counterintuitive, staying active is an extremely important part of pain management plans, even for degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis. Though the pain associated with movement may instinctively keep you sedentary, adding gentle activity such as walking an extra 30 minutes per day can ease pain and discomfort.
A diet that’s high in fresh fruits and vegetables along with lean proteins and complex carbohydrates in the form of whole grains provides your body with the building blocks it needs for repair and maintenance. Though it’s not a short-term solution, it can help other aspects of pain management.
When joint pain is a problem, everything you can do to relieve the load on joints is helpful. Weight loss can even be a force multiplier. The force load relieved on joints like the hips, knees, and ankles is sometimes many more pounds than the weight you’ve lost.
Also, blood flows more freely and posture improves, two conditions that help balance and heal your body.
Physical therapy can restore mobility while reducing pain, while occupational therapy helps you to avoid further issues with improvements to common daily activities.
Technological therapies include cold laser treatments, ultrasound, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), techniques that reduce inflammation and change the way your nerves transmit pain impulses.
There’s no single pain management technique that works for everyone, so contacting Westside Pain Specialists is your first step toward finding the treatment options that work for you. Call the nearest office in Beverly Hills or Rancho Cucamonga, California, today.