Painkillers and Back Pain : Seeking Alternative Treatments

Painkillers offer fast relief for lower back pain. But are they worth the price? Not only are they highly addictive but they can wreak havoc on your body. Physicians across the world are now encouraging patients to seek alternative treatments before reaching for the pills. This guide will cover why you should forego painkillers and instead explore alternative treatments that are helping thousands avoid addiction and relieve their chronic back pain.

Woman Holding Back in Pain

Back pain is perhaps the most common reason for doctor’s visits in the USA today, and it costs the nation untold dollars in medical bills, missed work time, and suffering. While painkillers are a common and effective treatment, their side effects are as dangerous as they are numerous. Medical science now recommends that people with back pain try an alternative therapy such as inversion table therapy, acupuncture, or natural methods of stress reduction.

As we learn more and more about drugs and their negative effects on our lives, the medical world increasingly recommends that people not treat back pain with them.

Here’s everything you need to know about managing your chronic pain with alternative treatments and why you should only use painkillers as a last resort.

Painkillers and Addiction : Alarming Statistics

Chronic back pain is a debilitating condition that reduces one's ability to work, increases depression, and decreases quality of life. This causes millions of people to seek immediate relief in the form of illicit prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.

However, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) these drugs are causing an alarming trend.

  • Of the over 20 million Americans with a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a disorder with prescription pain relievers
  • Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, and over 20,000 overdoses were caused by prescription pain relievers
  • In 2012, more than 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills
  • 80% of heroin users started out with prescriptions opioids

** all statistics courtesy of the American Society of Addiction Medicine **

While millions of Americans currently use prescription painkillers to manage their pain safely, it is clear that there are risks and alarming consequences for seeking pain medication as a first choice.

Use of painkillers can also result in:

  • Physical dependence
  • Extremely high tolerance
  • Full-on addiction

Skip the Painkillers: Treatments You Should Try First

Painkillers go straight to your nerves and trigger positive feelings. When you take them, you will feel relaxed, de-stressed, and happy almost immediately. It’s easy to see why millions of Americans request them when they visit the doctor.

However, as we’ve demonstrated, not only does this ignore the root of your problems, but it can also cause addiction or severe health issues.

Instead, you should skip the painkillers and try alternative treatments. Here are some of the most effective treatments.

  • Exercise: It might seem counter-intuitive to exercise when your body is in pain, but in reality, one of the most common causes of chronic back pain is a weak core and muscle loss, especially in men. If your back is constantly aching, working with a trainer to increase your core strength and train your back muscles has proven to help relieve symptoms. You’ll also look great!
  • Acupuncture: You’re probably familiar with acupuncture—the ancient art of stimulating points of your body with needles. Research has supported the ability of acupuncture to relieve chronic back pain symptoms and reduce stress. It’s a very enjoyable, relaxing, and safe alternative to taking medication.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness is difficult to explain, but it is essentially the art of living in the moment. Bringing your attention to the current moment by training your brain to tune out the voice in your head and other distractions. Mindfulness has proven to reduce stress and relieve tension in your body—a common cause of back pain.
  • Massages: Not much to explain here. Getting regular massages can help relieve pain and eliminate the muscular causes of your back troubles.
  • Heating Pads: Regular usage of heating pads at home is a great way to get rid of minor aches and pains. 

Inversion Table Therapy: Why more and more people are using inversion to reduce pain

The drive to find new and more effective ways to reduce pain rather than simply taking pain medication has led to the increased utilization of inversion therapy.

Basically, inversion therapy is the technique of suspending your body upside down or at an angle, utilizing gravity to reduce the pressure in your spine and pulling your spinal discs apart. The majority of back pain is caused by the pressure that your spinal discs are under, so theoretically, pulling them apart by stretching the spine is a simple, effective, and 100% safe way of reducing pain and fighting the root causes of your chronic aches.

Inversion therapy requires a special piece of equipment called an inversion table. To begin therapy, you strap yourself in to your table and choose your desired angle. From there, you suspend your body upside down for several minutes and let the table work its magic.

By shifting your body’s gravity, you effectively reduce all of that pressure on your back that’s causing you pain. Also, inversion therapy comes with a range of other health benefits:

  • Reduced Stress: Suspending your body upside down and relieving your pain drastically reduces stress and puts you at ease, relaxing your body and mind.
  • Improved Joint Flexibility: Decompressing your joints aids lubrication and stimulates fluids that nourish your joints. Also, the increased ligament strength from suspending your body upside down will lead to stronger, more mobile joints.
  • Improved Core Strength: Suspending your body upside down can increase your core strength and reduce back pain. If you want to try situps and crunches while suspended, be our guest! But you don’t, that’s ok too. Even just keeping your body stable on an inversion table helps increase core strength.

Chronic back pain affects tens of millions of Americans every year, but reaching for prescription pain killers might be more dangerous than simply living with the pain. The medical community is increasingly encouraging Americans to try alternative methods of therapy before taking prescription medication. There is no miracle cure for back pain. You must treat it a little bit each day. If you’d like long-lasting pain relief, inversion therapy is one of the most effective and safe ways to live a happier, healthier life.

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