What’s the first thing you do when you get an ache or a pain? If you’re like most Americans, you probably reach for a pill to take the pain away. We are a country that relies on the quick fix. Often we do get short-term relief from pain medications. However, it’s been well documented that pain medications are overprescribed, frequently abused, and lead to potential issues with addiction and dangerous side effects.

Fortunately, there are alternative therapies available for the treatment of pain that are drug-free. If you have a chronic pain condition, you may want to incorporate some of these alternative therapies into your pain management plan.

Here are a few suggestions to consider:

Movement-based Therapies: There are a variety of physical practices that can reduce pain by strengthening supporting muscles, improving body alignment, and increasing our body’s natural pain relievers called endorphins. Many people get relief from pain with physical therapy, Yoga, Pilates, or Tai chi.

Acupuncture: In traditional Chinese acupuncture: fine needles, heat, and applying pressure to specific points in the body are used to help with chronic pain issues. Pain in areas like the back, neck, knees, and head are easily treated by acupuncture which reduces pain by activating the body’s natural endorphins.

Massage Therapy: Hands-on massage is helpful for treatment of muscle underuse or overuse. It can be used to relax knotted muscle fibers, increase circulation, and release areas of chronic tension. Massage therapy is also helpful for stress reduction that often accompanies chronic pain conditions.

Developing Healthy Habits:  Lifestyle changes can improve pain by relieving stress. Improvements in sleep habits by creating an improved sleep environment with limited light or noise can provide a restorative rest and improvement in pain. Participating in a regular exercise program also helps to build strength, relax the tension in muscle groups, and lower stress levels.

If you are living with chronic pain issues, you may want to speak with your healthcare provider to incorporate alternative treatments modalities into your plan. Your provider can work with you to suggest a variety of techniques to help to improve your quality of life and improve your pain.  

Looking for more information and assistance? Your health advocate can help navigate a treatment plan prescribed by your doctor and offer support for you when getting started.