The opioid crisis has brought national attention to the problem of drug addiction caused by the increased availability of narcotic drugs for pain management. This has led many victims to seek out alternative therapies for both temporary and chronic pain.
Fortunately, there are many proven therapies that rely on a more holistic approach to both pain relief and overall health without the use of opioid drugs. Pain can arise from many sources, including injury, illness, anxiety, physical condition and a compromised connection between the body and the brain.
Here are a few therapeutic choices that can serve as either an alternative to pain medications or be used in conjunction with traditional drug therapy.
Chiropractic manipulation is performed to correct misalignment of the spinal vertebrae. When vertebrae are forced out of alignment, they can irritate the spinal fluid in which the spinal nerves are embedded or damage the nerves themselves. These types of injuries can result in both local pain and pain in other areas of the body.
The spinal nerves send impulses from the brain to every part of the body and from the body to the brain. When this pathway becomes disrupted, messages are compromised. Pain receptors can become stimulated, and healing processes can become curtailed in various areas of the body.
Manual realignment of the spinal vertebrae, along with stretching of muscles that either help or inhibit proper alignment, can relieve pain, stimulate healing and promote overall health by restoring the brain's switchboard to optimal performance.
Anxiety, sedentary lifestyles, repetitive movement associated with work activities and other issues can cause muscles, tendons and ligaments to become tight. This can alter body mechanics and result in unnatural or limited movement in various areas of the body. Nerves associated with affected muscles become distressed, which results in dull aches or sudden acute pain - depending on the extent of the trauma to the nerves.
Therapeutic massage involves gradually stretching tight muscles, ligaments and tendons back to their natural lengths. This relieves pain and stiffness in the affected muscles and joints, and it restores a patient's normal range of movement.
The ability of muscles to move freely and naturally removes the strain from secondary muscle groups that are forced to handle additional stress.
Therapeutic massage inhibits the development of future issues within the supporting muscle groups because they are relieved of their added duties.
After muscles and joints are restored to the optimal length and range of movement, therapeutic exercise can be used to keep them from regressing to their former state. Exercise activities may include both active and passive movements, stretching and strength building. Programs may be tailored to meet the needs and limitations of individuals with specific issues.
For example, those with chronic back pain may benefit from training that strengthens the abdominal core muscles that support the spine. Yoga can serve as a stretching, muscle-strengthening and anxiety-reducing activity.
Other Alternative Therapies
There are also some lesser-known therapies that may be used to manage pain and function as an alternative to drug therapy.
Whole Body Vibration Therapy
This involves standing atop a rapidly vibrating platform that forces all of your muscles to contract involuntarily several times per second in order to maintain balance and equilibrium. Strength building, pain relief and overall health are all enhanced by a quick 10-minute session.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy
This therapy uses electromagnetic impulses to stimulate naturally occurring electromagnetic energy to supercharge the entire body - promoting healing, pain relief and overall well-being.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of options other than opioid drugs that can help you manage your pain. The professionals at Downtown Chiropractic and Orthotic Center offer pain-management therapies that can help you lead a pain-free and healthy life.