Health

The Options Available For Non-Addictive Pain Relief

Prescription opioids have long been considered the most helpful medication for pain relief.  The problem is that these medications are highly addictive and can easily lead to opioid abuse or even overdose.  Fortunately, there are a number of non-addictive pain relief options available that you should consider.   These options will provide the pain relief that is needed without any of the risks that come with an opioid addiction.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs 

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also known as NSAIDs are a good non-addictive option.  The most well known of these medications are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.  These drugs will help to control pain levels, reduce inflammation and lower fevers.  These medications are generally the first line of defense when it comes to acute pain, particularly when the problem is not responding to non-medication treatments.

It is possible to buy these medications over the counter.  However, there are also prescription strength options available for people who have chronic pain.  Of course, while these medications are not generally addictive, they do have other risks that you need to know about.

Long-term use of NSAIDs can lead to stomach distress.  Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract is another side effect of long-term use of these medications.  There are also warnings from the FDA which state that non-aspirin NSAIDs do increase the risk of stroke and heart disease which is something that should be considered if you have a medical history with these conditions.

Acetaminophen

A pain relief option that is not as well known as NSAID and that is non-addictive is acetaminophen.  This can be used as a painkiller on its own and is used as an active ingredient in a number of different pain medications.  It is possible to get this over the counter and the most popular option is the brand Tylenol.  This pain relief option is best for acute pain conditions such as arthritis pain and headaches.

One of the benefits of this option is the fact that it does not carry the same gastrointestinal or cardiovascular side effects as NSAIDs when used for a prolonged period.  However, if you do take more than the recommended dosage, you will increase the chances of liver damage.  This liver damage can become severe enough to cause liver failure if you are not careful with your use of this medication.

If you are looking at this option, you will have to carefully consider any other medication that you are on.  While this will not interact negatively with medication, your other medication may contain acetaminophen.  When you take this and an over the counter option, you could be exceeding the recommended dosage.

Anti-Depressants

It is important to note that not all anti-depressants will help you with pain relief.  However, there is a category of anti-depressants known as tricyclic anti-depressants which have scientific evidence of treating pain.  Nerve pain, in particular, has been shown to lessen when these anti-depressants are used.

The most common tricyclic anti-depressants are desipramine, imipramine, and amitryptiline.  These medications will need a prescription and will not always be effective for everyone.  You will need to speak with your doctor about using these medications and know that they might not help you with the pain you feel.

There is some scientific evidence which shows that 2 other anti-depressant categories may help with pain relief.  These are SSRIs such as Prozac and SNRIs which as duloxetine.  While there is some evidence of pain relief with these medications, further research needs to be done before they can be considered effective.

Anti-Epileptic Medication

Chronic nerve pain can be addressed with the use of anti-epileptic medications.  Chronic pain from other conditions such as herniated disks, shingles, diabetes, and fibromyalgia can also be treated with these medications.  However, it is important to note that the research on how well these drugs work on pain is still unclear.  There are some people who receive significant relief from pain with these medications and others who do not find any relief.

The newer anti-epileptic medication such as pregabalin and gabapentin are considered more effective painkillers than the older medications.  These medications will also have fewer side effects than the older ones.  While this is generally true, there is research which shows that certain older medications do offer better pain relief for certain pain conditions.  The problem with these medications is that they will have more side effects that you have to worry about.

Corticosteroids

Another non-addictive pain relief option is corticosteroids which are commonly called steroids.  Steroids will reduce the activity of the immune system and will reduce swelling.  The reduction of swelling will help with pain from certain conditions such as cancer, joint pain, arthritis, nerve pain and back injuries.  Steroids have also been found to be effective in treating acute pain for short periods of time.

It is possible to apply steroids to the affected area with a cream or injection.  They can also be taken orally or be inhaled.  There are side effects that you need to be aware of when using steroids for pain relief.  The most common will be weight gain, a weakened immune system, and high blood pressure.  The side effects can be reduced by taking low doses of steroids for a short period of time.

Non-Medication Treatments

There are a number of non-medication treatments such as Luminas pain reducer, that you can also use for pain relief.  As these treatments do not have any chemicals which affect the way the body works, they have a small chance of being addictive.  These treatments will include acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic and exercise.  The effect that these treatments have on pain will vary depending on the type of pain and the person.

There are a number of organizations which recommend non-medication treatments as the first course of action when dealing with chronic pain.  Medication should only be considered in cases where pain cannot be managed through these treatments.  The side effects of these treatments will generally be minimal, but it is recommended that you speak with your doctor before you start any of these treatments.  The condition which causes your pain could be exacerbated by these treatments if you are not careful.