Did you know there are ways to manage your pain besides taking opioids? Some alternatives include taking less strong opioid medicines or receiving body therapy, such as massages.

Your Health | 2 months ago

Opioid Alternatives to Manage Your Pain

Are you nervous to take opioid medications to help manage your pain? Here's a list of alternatives that include taking less strong medications or receiving different therapies that may help ease your pain.

Opioids are a type of narcotic pain medicine (or pain reliever) that are associated with a higher risk of addiction than your average pain medicine.

Doctors often prescribe opioids for pain related to injuries, surgeries, toothaches or other procedures. Opioids are also used to treat pain for chronic conditions. 

Did you know there are ways to manage your pain besides taking opioids? Some alternatives include taking less strong opioid medicines or receiving body therapy, such as massages.

If you’re interested in opioid alternatives, talk to your doctor.

Pain Treatments You Could Use Instead of Opioids

Alternative treatments can be used with or in place of some opioids, depending on the type of pain you have. Your doctor can help you figure out if any of these alternative pain-management treatments are right for you:

  • Cryotherapy (sometimes called cold therapy) involves placing ice or cold packs on an injured part of the body. The cold temperature causes blood vessels to narrow and blood flow to decrease, helping with pain and inflammation.
  • Acupuncture is one of the oldest types of pain management. Thin needles are inserted to various depths at specific places on the body. This relieves pain by releasing endorphins, which are the body’s pain-killing chemicals. Acupuncture can also positively affect serotonin, the brain chemicals that control your mood.
  • Medical massage can relax painful muscles, tendons and joints, and relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Aromatherapy is the applying or inhaling of essential oils. The oils’ aromas can stimulate areas of your brain that are linked to emotions and behaviors. This can be a safe addition to pain treatment without negative effects.

Pain Medicines You Could Use Instead of Opioids

Sometimes your doctor can add other medicines to your treatment plan to help decrease the amount of opioids you’re taking, such as:

Did you know there are ways to manage your pain besides taking opioids? Some alternatives include taking less strong opioid medicines or receiving body therapy, such as massages.


Learn more about safely using opioids to manage your pain at Atrium Health's Opioid Safety webpage.

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