Alternative Treatment to Pain Management
The Law Of… seeking alternatives to painkillers
1 in 7 people in the UK live with chronic pain. Experts in the field of pain management are encouraging chronic pain sufferers to try alternatives to painkillers in a bid to help those who are on a lifelong prescription of medication.
Our Anna Thompson answers questions on research around painkillers and discusses potential alternatives.
Historically, it was always believed that bed rest would help to treat pain. It is now known that this is one of the worst things to do if you are suffering from chronic pain.
Best treatment involves:
- Staying at work (if possible)
- Physical therapy
What Medication Is There For Chronic Pain?
Over-the-counter painkillers may be prescribed in the first instance of chronic pain. This is to help reduce pain and make it easier for you to be active. Paracetamol is the simplest and safest painkiller. Anti-inflammatories, like Ibuprofen can also be taken, assuming there are no other conditions that might prevent the safe taking of them.
If over-the-counter painkillers do not ease the pain enough to make a person able to carry out normal activities, stronger painkillers may be prescribed.
Stronger painkillers may include:
Whilst painkillers are an important part of a multi-disciplinary approach to treating chronic pain, there are often worries over the long term effects of taking painkillers for a prolonged amount of time.
Some chronic pain survivors feel uncomfortable taking medication they don't fully understand; some struggle with the side-effects of painkillers; others are just interested in other options available.
What Are The Alternatives To Painkillers?
There are a huge amount of options for chronic pain sufferers to choose from. Some options are still in the infancy of their research, others have been scientifically proven many times to help with chronic pain. Here are just a few options:
Exercise is a prescribed treatment for chronic pain. It is incredibly important to stay active when suffering from chronic pain. If you take choose the historical method of treating pain by staying in bed, you run the risk of muscles stiffening and bones becoming weaker.
Exercise can sometimes seem impossible when you live with chronic pain, but activity that doesn’t put too much strain on yourself will benefit.
Yoga and Pilates are often recommended for chronic pain survivors as they involve stretching, using safe and effective methods. Yoga and Pilates have also been proven to help with depression and stress; both of which are often side effects of chronic pain.
With any exercise, it is important to try to be active every day, instead of only on good days. This will help you feel more in control and reduce the number of bad days that you have.
There have been recent studies into the benefits of meditation for chronic pain. Mental processes such as meditation can alter how a person feels sensory stimulation like pain.
Through meditation, you can control attention, awareness of the body and depression. Whilst never proven to be a cure for chronic pain, it has been scientifically proven to significantly help with pain management.
Mindfulness is an empowering treatment for pain as it puts the sufferer in control of their own treatment. There are a multitude of different mindfulness meditations that specifically exist to help with chronic pain.
It is important to try out different meditations to find out which suit you and then to practice them. It can be a difficult activity to do when your mind is filled with the pain that you are in, but it is possible to control of your mind given lots of practice.
A huge part of pain is the psychological and emotional effect it has on a person's well-being. Listening to or playing music provides the listener with an alternative stimulus that can help draw an individual's attention away from the pain they are feeling.
Music can disrupt thoughts of pain and relax the listener by inhibiting the release of stress hormones. Whilst music therapy may not cure chronic pain, it could help to condition the chronic pain survivor to relax and release pain and stress.
A Good Night's Sleep
Recent studies have proven that a boost of caffeine or a good night's sleep can help with chronic pain. Sadly, chronic pain can make sleep particularly difficult. It's important to stick to a normal sleep routine so you get the best chance of a good sleep. Sleep deprivation has also been proven to increase pain, which makes sleep an incredibly important treatment.
There have been numerous large scale studies into the benefits of acupuncture as a treatment for pain. The needles used for acupuncture have been shown to relieve chronic pain by stimulating the nerves located in muscles which then release endorphins (the happy hormone). They have also been proven to reduce inflammation and improve muscle and joint mobility.
How Can Simpson Millar Help?
If your chronic pain is the result of someone else's negligence, you have the ability to claim compensation.
Some of the treatments above can be costly and it is important to feel confident that treatments that work for you can be sought, no matter what your financial situation.
Compensation can help you to get the right treatment for you. Call for advice on 0800 260 5010.
"It is fantastic to see that a huge amount of research is taking place into alternative treatments for chronic pain. To live with such a disability every day is incredibly difficult and survivors need as many options open to them as possible."
"Painkillers are an important part of chronic pain treatment, but they can't be the only option. Some people find they just don't get along with them whilst others don't find they work at all. That can't be the end of the road for these people."
"Some research can bring about some odd results and I wouldn't recommend trying anything without looking into the breadth of the research and consulting a GP about the validity of the research."
"I've had clients in the past whose lives have been turned around by exercise in particular. Taking up a new exercise can be daunting but putting aside the huge health benefits, exercise can also open up a person to a new social life that will also help feelings of loneliness that chronic pain sufferers often feel."