Managing Chronic pain Without Opioids

Managing Chronic pain Without Opioids

One in five Americans living with chronic pain that limits daily work and activities. Effective management of chronic pain requires a multimodal approach to reduce the limitations that it places on those who suffer. Let’s explore some helpful tips that promote living life with reduced suffering from long-term uncontrolled pain.

One of the most effective pain control management options is physical therapy. Physical therapy can help with musculoskeletal pain. Below are a couple of basic exercises that can help musculoskeletal pain when done correctly.

  • To improve knee pain, try exercises to strengthen the quadriceps muscles, such as leg presses, leg extensions, and running.
  • If you struggle with back pain, like millions of other Americans, start with stretches and strengthening exercises focusing on the lower back and paraspinal muscles. Seated rows, back extensions, and deadlifts can be quickly done with equipment available at the gym.

Before starting an exercise routine, be sure to talk with your primary care provider to see what routines and programs are safe and effective for you.

Proper nutrition is essential if you want to strengthen your muscles and improve your lifestyle. For those not living with kidney disease, consuming at least 1 gram/kilogram per day of protein is recommended to build muscle. Minimizing sugar intake is also extremely helpful to ensure that you are not reversing the positive effects of exercise and a proper diet. Sugar-free ice cream and candy alternatives are available; however, be sure to avoid consuming too many of these treats at once to prevent undesirable gastrointestinal side effects.

Some health conditions, such as heart failure, liver failure, chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, peptic ulcer disease, and diabetes can make consumption of over the counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, unsafe over the long term, and in some cases the short term. Additionally, maintaining a regular exercise routine can often prevent the onset of many of the above listed conditions and the need for OTC pain medications.

There is no better time than today to make changes in your life for the better. If you see changes that need to be made, don’t wait until the New Year to change! Talk with your primary care provider about creating lifestyle changes that will impact your health for the better.

Joseph Markey, MD, is accepting patients at White River Health (WRH) Internal Medicine. To schedule an appointment, call (870) 262-1510.