By now, you must have heard of the opioid crisis. Doctors and drug companies are experiencing a backlash due to the quadrupled increase in opioid prescriptions between 1999 and 2014. The rampant use of these medications has done immeasurable physical, psychological and economic harm to this country.
If you’re one of those experiencing back pain on a regular basis and it’s affecting your life and work, you may be one of the millions with a necessary prescription. You may wonder how you could live without the pain meds. Are there really effective alternatives to opioids for back pain? Your Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) back specialist is well-versed in multiple pain management techniques and offers a number of alternatives to opioids for back pain relief.
Surgical Options for Pain Relief
While the specialists at SSI work to avoid surgery whenever possible, sometimes it’s the best option for dealing with your pain. SSI surgeons have several options — from cervical disc replacement to decompression of narrowed spaces within your spine. And many of these surgical procedures can be done endoscopically.
These techniques correct the problems causing your spine pain. Because they’re less invasive procedures, they also reduce the amount of surgical discomfort and decrease recovery time. In the end, you don’t have to take as many pain medications, lessening the chance of worrisome side effects.
Non-Invasive Back Pain Relief
Pain and stress cause your muscles to tighten, leading to greater pain and increased dependence on medicine. Some of the greatest advancements for helping deal with back pain are nerve blocks and steroid injections. Your back pain specialist may inject your nerve block in:
- Your celiac plexus
- Your occipital nerves
- Your fascia iliaca compartment
- Your lumbar sympathetic nerves
- Select nerves determined by your SSI specialist
Injections at certain key trigger points or facet joints using small amounts of a long-lasting anesthetic and steroids block this pain. This is an effective temporary treatment, especially while you recover from an injury or minor surgery. Precise injections let you exercise and stretch, loosening the tightness and reducing pain while you heal.
Natural Alternatives to Opioids for Back Pain
Finding as many options as possible to consider gives you as much control as possible over the pain in your body. One of the key issues when dealing with pain concerns stress and the subsequent clenched tissues. Exercise and a low-fat diet to reduce your weight help lessen the strain on your tight muscles. You may find other alternatives to opioids through:
- Dry needling. Using tiny needles to stimulate your nerves is a physical therapy technique. It allows your nerves to signal an increase in your endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller, which disrupts your body’s pain signals.
- Massage therapy. Whether restful or restorative, the act of kneading and stretching your muscles releases the toxins in kinked tissue, which your body naturally disposes of. Massage also relaxes soreness and increases endorphins.
- Chiropractic techniques. Manipulation of your spinal column to adjust posture concerns and disruptive muscles spasms corrects contorted structures and relieves kinked or over-compensating muscles.
Your SSI specialist has more options available than ever before to treat your back pain. You no longer have to worry about the side effects of opioids, and you don’t have to live with discomfort. Ask today about safe, effective alternatives to opioids for your back pain.