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Navigating Pain Management: Relief Beyond Opioids

People who live with chronic pain face many challenges in day-to-day life. It can be debilitating, affecting every aspect of life, from work to personal relationships. For a long time, doctors felt comfortable simply prescribing narcotic pain medication long-term to help people cope with painful chronic conditions. Today, there are better options. Relying on opioids for pain management is not the only solution, and it may not even be the most effective or safest option in the long run. Choosing alternative therapies can help you take control of your pain management.

When you work with a pain specialist, you open yourself up to a world of possibilities beyond opioids. Pain specialists have tools and techniques to help alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life. From physical therapy and exercise programs to mindfulness-based techniques, non-opioid interventions can help effectively manage pain, depending on the type and severity of your condition. Chronic pain is a common barrier to quality of life; an NIH study found that 5-21% of Americans live with moderate to severe pain, which limits their activities. Pain management will help a person begin to get more active again.

Pain management is not a one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one person may only work for one person. Many people with moderate to severe pain require a multidisciplinary approach to help them manage it, especially because no one disease presents itself the same for every person.

What Can Pain Management Help With?

Pain medicine has people trained to help with different kinds of pain, whether from a progressive rheumatological disease like arthritis or a neurological disease like post-herpetic neuralgia.

Pain management when you don’t have the right tools and resources can be overwhelming and demean your quality of life. Whether you're dealing with conditions like arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, neck pain, neuropathy, or sciatica, chronic pain is no walk in the park.

When you have conditions like   (SRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), we know it's not just about the physical pain. Chronic pain and progressive diseases can also affect your emotions and how you see the world. Doctors and nurses who work in pain medicine take a whole-person approach, looking at everything in your life to find the best way to help you. A pain specialist can help develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs and goals.

By exploring alternative therapies and interventions, you can reduce your reliance on opioids and find long-term relief from chronic pain. Together, we can navigate the complexities of pain management and help you reclaim control over your life.

Pain Management and Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain, such as that experienced in conditions like Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or diabetic neuropathy, can be incredibly challenging to manage. Unlike traditional pain, which stems from tissue damage or inflammation, neuropathic pain arises from abnormalities or dysfunction in the nervous system. These malfunctions can lead to abnormal, intense pain sensations. It often presents as burning, tingling, or shooting pain and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Pain management can help cope with all of these types of pain.

When it comes to managing neuropathic pain, it's essential to recognize that opioids, often the go-to for many types of pain, may not provide relief. Instead, a multidimensional approach focusing on non-opioid treatments is typically more effective. Here are some non-opioid therapies commonly used for neuropathic pain:

  • Anticonvulsants: Medications typically used to treat seizures, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrica), effectively reduce neuropathic pain by stabilizing nerve activity.
  • Antidepressants: Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) are often prescribed for neuropathic pain due to their ability to alter brain chemicals involved in pain perception. They are often used in pain management practices.
  • Topical Treatments: Creams, gels, or patches containing medications like lidocaine or capsaicin can be applied directly in areas of pain.
  • Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises, stretching, and manual techniques administered by a physical therapist can help improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion while reducing neuropathic pain. Pain management often prescribes both medication and PT>
  • Nerve Blocks: Injecting local anesthetics or steroids near nerves affected by neuropathic pain can temporarily relieve pain by interrupting abnormal pain signals.
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) involves implanting a device under the skin that delivers mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord. These impulses interfere with pain signals and relieve certain types of neuropathic pain.
  • Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese therapy involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body, stimulating nerves, and promoting natural pain relief mechanisms.
  • Mind-Body Techniques: Practices like mindfulness meditation, biofeedback, or cognitive-behavioral therapy can help persons manage neuropathic pain by reducing stress, improving coping strategies, and altering pain perception.

Managing neuropathic pain often requires a combination of treatments tailored to a person's needs. By working closely with healthcare providers, persons can explore these non-opioid options to find relief from the debilitating effects of neuropathic pain while minimizing the risks associated with opioid medications.

Managing Muscular and Bone Pain

Let's delve into managing muscular and bone pain, common sources of discomfort that can significantly impact daily life. Whether experiencing sore muscles from strenuous activity or dealing with chronic conditions like osteoarthritis or fractures, pain management can help alleviate your discomfort and improve your well-being. Pain management is often trial-and-error, with the doctor focusing on what is most effective for you.

Here are some practical ways to manage muscular and bone pain:

  • Physical Therapy: Engaging in targeted exercises and stretches with a physical therapist can help strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and promote better posture, ultimately reducing pain and preventing further injury.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help with mild to moderate muscular and bone pain. Prescription medications may be necessary and can include muscle relaxants. People with high blood pressure or kidney disease cannot take NSAIDs.
  • Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold to affected areas temporarily relieves muscular and bone pain. Heating pads, warm baths, or hot packs can relax muscles and increase blood flow, and ice packs/cold compresses can reduce inflammation and numb the area.
  • Massage Therapy: Professional massages or self-massage techniques can help relax tense muscles, improve circulation, and reduce muscular pain and stiffness. Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, or even trigger point therapy may be helpful.
  • Nutritional Supplements: Vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and glucosamine, play essential roles in maintaining bone health and may help alleviate bone pain associated with osteoporosis or osteoarthritis.
  • Injections: Corticosteroids or joint injections with hyaluronic acid can provide targeted relief for inflammatory conditions like tendonitis, bursitis, or osteoarthritis by reducing inflammation and improving joint function.
  • Bracing or Splinting: Braces, splints, or orthotic devices can support weakened or injured muscles and bones, helping to reduce pain and improve mobility.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Changing your daily habits and environment can significantly impact managing muscular and bone pain. These may mean losing weight, practicing good posture, and avoiding repetitive motions or activities that exacerbate pain.
  • Mind-Body Techniques: Practices such as yoga, tai chi, or guided imagery promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve pain tolerance, offering holistic approaches to managing muscular and bone pain.
  • Surgical Intervention: Surgery may be necessary to address underlying structural issues contributing to muscular and bone pain, such as repairing fractures, correcting deformities, or replacing damaged joints.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Sometimes, a doctor may prescribe a low dose of Suboxone or Naltrexone. These medications can offer relief without the risks associated with traditional opioid prescriptions. However, doctors should continuously monitor patients on these medications.

Finding the right combination of treatments for managing muscular and bone pain may require trial and error. Your healthcare team should work to develop a pain management treatment plan that addresses your specific needs. The primary goal is to ultimately help you regain comfort and mobility, enhancing your quality of life.

Managing Other Types of Pain

Other types of pain, such as pain from cancer or nociceptive pain, often caused by injuries or damage to the body, also exist and are classified differently. Some of them require complex approaches, but frequently, treatments that help with other types of pain also help with these types.

Pain Management at Solas Health

At Solas Health, our mission is rooted in compassion and expertise. We understand the debilitating impact of pain and the risks associated with opioid prescriptions.

We're dedicated to providing effective, non-opioid solutions tailored to your needs. With our knowledgeable team and commitment to your well-being, we can guide you toward the relief you deserve.

Your health and safety are our top priorities, and we're here to support you every step of the way. Let's find a path to pain relief that prioritizes your health and overall wellness.

Get in touch to set up an appointment today.


If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.



Contact Solas Health

Our mission is to improve lives and help you get better.

Addiction, pain, and mental health challenges interfere with the joys of living, but we can help. Dr. Corrigan, and the whole team at Solas Health, will help.

If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.

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