Opioids vs Holistic Pain Relievers: What’s the Difference?SEMGeeks
When dealing with pain, physiatrists take a holistic, whole body approach when determining the course of short or long term treatment. Treatments can consist of opioid, non-opioid, or no medication (holistic) approaches. These routes can overlap, too. Some clients benefit from a combination of traditional, regenerative, or holistic medicine. For example, opioids may be used to treat immediate pain, however, in some extreme cases, opioids are managed long term if all other options fail. The problem with opioids, if not used and managed properly, is that they can be habit-forming and increase the risk for addiction. On the other hand, holistic therapies can prevent and manage pain as well.
Opioid Pain Relievers and Their Risks
Opioids are a class of drugs that come from the opium poppy plant. These drugs bind to opioid receptors in the brain to decrease pain. They include illegal drugs like heroin, as well as prescription drugs like fentanyl, morphine, or oxycodone. Even though opioids are effective at treating acute pain, using too much for too long can lead to dependency, raising the risk for addiction, overdose, and death.
In 2016, more than 42,249 people died from an opioid overdose in the U.S. This equals 115 people every day. While opioids do have a place in the medical community and can be effective at controlling acute pain, they are not an answer to treating long-term pain.
Holistic Pain Relievers and Their Benefits
Holistic therapies are chronic pain treatments that fall outside surgical or pharmaceutical treatments. This form of healing addresses the entire person – mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Examples of holistic care include acupuncture, massage therapy. Eating a balanced diet, exercising, meditating, and getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night also play integral roles in holistic care.
Alternative therapies can be effective at managing and preventing discomfort in chronic pain sufferers, though it can take time to find what works for each person. The benefits of treating pain holistically are:
- Identify the root cause of pain
- Address the whole person
- Prevent symptoms from returning
- Remove toxins from the body
- Lower the risk for addiction
- Promote total well-being
If you are living in chronic pain, you have options. This may include taking pain medications for the short term while discovering what types of holistic care can address your needs. In time, the goal is to prevent pain before it starts and have ways to manage it. To learn more about our multi-pronged approach to treating chronic pain, contact Jersey Rehab Pain Management. We have locations in New Jersey and New York.
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