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Drug-Free Pain Management Options

As the U.S. opioid overdose epidemic rages on, more patients seek a less dangerous pain management method. According to the CDC, prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl have more than quadrupled the deaths from opioid overdose since 1999. Even without being addicted to opioid medication, the long-term side effects of its use are dangerous and can include digestive distress and an increased risk of falls. A 2017 Gallup research poll also found that nearly two-thirds of American adults report having had neck or back pain that led them to seek medical treatment at some point in their lives.

Pain management doesn’t have to rest solely on medication, though. Depending on your pain condition and its severity, there are plenty of other pain management strategies at your disposal without having to reach for a bottle of pills immediately. Because everyone is different and each patient has a unique situation, make sure to speak with your doctor about whether adjunctive therapies would work well for your pain management regimen.

Physical Therapy

Seeking the help of a physical therapist is an excellent way to restore or improve strength, stamina, endurance, and overall comfort. While you may think the last thing you want to do is work on your fitness while you’re in pain, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by dismissing the notion that physical therapy is a highly beneficial and drug-free pain management technique. During your physical therapy sessions, you’ll work with a clinician who will create customized exercises, stretches, and other techniques to relax tight muscles and soothe achy joints.

What’s more, a 2018 Health Services Research study found that people with low back pain were less likely to need opioid prescriptions if they saw a physical therapist compared to those who saw a primary care doctor first.


This mind-body exercise practice focuses on breath control, meditation, and movements that increase your strength and flexibility. The “mind over matter” content of yoga exercises make it unique, because it focuses not only on physical fitness, but mental wellness, as well. A meta-analysis of 17 peer-reviewed research studies found that adults with chronic low back pain improved their daily function, had better mood, and improved psychosocial wellbeing. A yoga instructor can modify any yoga postures that are uncomfortable for you to accommodate your strength and experience so you can learn the positions that will alleviate your pain rather than exacerbate it.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Pain can be worsened by chronic stress and anxiety. By working with a licensed therapist, you can change how you think about pain. Although it doesn’t directly heal your pain, it can help you adjust your mindset regarding its severity because you’ll adjust your negative thinking and determine which triggers you have that make you feel more stressed or anxious.

Complementary Therapies

Seeing an acupuncture specialist is one way you can cope with chronic pain. They can help with low back and knee pain, migraines, and fibromyalgia, although not everyone responds as positively as others. You should consult with your doctor before taking acupuncture and be sure to see a licensed practitioner.

Massage therapy is also very effective at alleviating muscular pain and it can also help soothe stress and anxiety. A massage therapist will personalize your sessions so you get the maximum benefit from recovering from an injury, surgery, or helping with you with your particular pain condition.

Learn More About Pain Management from Our Orthopedic Doctors

Our orthopedists at Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida specialize in helping you break free from the grips of chronic pain with a variety of noninvasive, interventional, and surgical techniques. We are eager to help you learn more about how to combat your pain using drug-free techniques that will be a positive mind-body experience. To book an appointment with us, please call (239) 215-2008 today.