Millions of Americans are living with pain. Some have chronic pain from sports injuries or accidents. Others suffer from age-related arthritic pain or debilitating migraine headaches. Many are recovering from surgery or have severe cancer-related pain. Doctors write hundreds of millions of prescriptions for pain medications each year, some of which are opioids, powerful drugs that are used to treat chronic and acute pain. However, there are serious risks associated with prescription opioids, especially with long-term use, including side effects, misuse, addiction, overdose, and death.
What are prescription opioids? Why are opioid drugs dangerous?
Opioids are prescribed for moderate to severe pain arising from multiple diverse medical conditions. They include drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine, sold under brand names such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and Demerol. In the United States, a large number of people are prescribed these medications to treat medical conditions ranging from arthritis to cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , prescription opioid use peaked in 2012 with more than 255 million prescriptions written and a prescribing rate of over 81 prescriptions for every 100 Americans.
The use of opioid drugs for the treatment of severe acute pain and terminal end-of-life comfort in cancer patients is well accepted. But their long-term use for the treatment of chronic pain is controversial. The efficacy of these potent analgesics for chronic pain has not been definitively proven . These medications are associated with a number of side effects such as sedation, respiratory depression, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and dizziness. There is growing concern about the dangers of misuse and opioid use disorder (addiction) as well as overdose and death. In fact, experts believe America is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Overdose deaths in 2017 were five times higher than 1999. The CDC says 46 people die every day from prescription opioid overdose . People above the age of 65 are at increased risk of overdosing on these powerful drugs. The opioid epidemic is costing America almost $80 billion a year in medical care, lost workplace productivity, drug abuse and addiction treatment, and involvement of the criminal justice system.
Physicians are aware of this and are becoming more cautious in their prescribing practices, which is evidenced by a decline in prescribing rates since 2012. But in 2017, the overall annual opioid prescribing rate was still 58 prescriptions per 100 persons . It is important for patients to discuss the risks of opioids with their healthcare providers and consider alternative, less risky, therapies for pain relief.
What are the alternatives to opioids?
Non-opioid medications for pain relief are available over-the-counter and by prescription and include medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, and ibuprofen (Motrin). For people with mild pain, these drugs may be all that is needed. They can be used alone or in combination with non-drug, natural pain therapies for maximum benefit.
What are non-drug natural pain relief methods?
Here at Living Well Balanced Holistic & Integrative Health Care in Raleigh, NC, we offer a range of services that are safe, natural alternatives to opioid drugs. Our approach to pain control is based on the principles of holistic health and natural healing. Many of our clients come to our wellness center to maintain optimal well-being and health even before they find themselves in a health crisis.
We know that a vast majority of symptoms arise from underlying physical disease but are exacerbated by the fast-paced, stressful lives we lead. Our services include chiropractic care, massage therapy, stretching, private and semi-private personal training, nutritional guidance, skincare, and counseling. We offer fully integrated care and a personalized approach to all your health issues, including chronic pain management. Our therapists will obtain a detailed history from you and recommend one or more therapies that can best address your specific needs.
How can I benefit from natural pain relief therapies at Living Well Balanced?
People who can benefit from our services include those with chronic neck and back pain, knee pain due to arthritis, migraines, weight gain, poor flexibility, poor posture, skin problems, and much more. For example, someone who has neck pain from working long hours at a computer and poor posture due to years of sedentary lifestyle may benefit from a combination of chiropractic adjustments and assisted stretching. Another person with knee pain may be a candidate for regenerative medicine injections to boost healing in the arthritic joints, possibly preventing the need for joint replacement surgery. Someone with weight gain and poor flexibility may benefit from a combination of nutritional counseling, personal training, and stretching. A person with stress-related aches and pains and poor sleep may find that relaxing therapeutic massage therapy and essential oils offer natural pain relief without resorting to potentially dangerous medications. Someone with a sports injury may benefit from cryotherapy, an effective treatment for muscle pain and inflammation. People with stress-induced eczema or skin breakouts may be best suited for counseling about proper sleep, hygiene, and stress management along with nutritional guidance.
Natural health care for a happier, healthier, pain-free life
Opioid drugs and their associated risks are not your only choice for chronic pain management and a happy, healthy, pain-free life. At Living Well Balanced, we will address the root cause of your pain and focus on healing your body and mind in an integrated, natural way. Our natural therapies and 360-degree approach to your well-being do not simply mask the symptoms of pain, but rather address the underlying cause of the problem. These steps ensure that your mind and body are rejuvenated and restored to optimum health.
Our approach may be able to help you avoid joint replacement, a major surgical procedure with a long and painful rehabilitation, risk of infection, and various other complications. Our natural pain relief therapies are safe and effective and will not expose you to the potential side effects of potent analgesic medications or complications such as addiction and overdose.
Led by Ankur Prakash, DC, our experienced team of doctors and therapists will conduct a thorough assessment and suggest the best treatment plan for you. Our holistic wellness center in Raleigh is committed to decreasing your levels of stress, motivating you towards your fitness goals, and providing you with the support necessary to heal your mind, body, and spirit.