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Drug Free Pain Management

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There are over 100 million Americans

who suffer from chronic pain.  If you

have ever experienced severe pain that

lasts over a week, you know the personal

cost of chronic pain and the levels of

desperation that pain can drive you to

get rid of it.

Pain As A Separate Condition

Doctors and researchers have discovered,

though, that after 3-6 months, any severe

pain that lingers following an accident or

a surgery is likely not merely a symptom of

the original accident or surgery.

Pain that lingers is actually a separate

condition, one where the nerve cells that

transmit pain signals become hard-wired

to signal there is pain…even when there is

no reason to transmit pain signals.

The problem with chronic pain, then, may

no longer be in your back or your knee…

it’s in your brain and your nervous system.

Addiction to Narcotic Pain Meds

Treating chronic pain using narcotic pain

medications is rarely effective, as you will

develop a tolerance for the medication and

eventually become addicted to it.  It will

become less and less effective in managing

pain, but you will have to take it to avoid

withdrawal symptoms.

More and more physicians in the U.S. are

recognizing the ineffectiveness of narcotic

pain medication for pain management and

the terrible toll that addiction to these drugs

is having on individuals taking them.

Healing the “Nervous” Nervous System

What are effective alternatives to taking

pain medication to manage severe chronic

pain?  As opposed to numbing the nervous

system or providing a temporary escape from

the pain experience, the most effective methods

calm the nervous system and may change the

way the brain responds to pain signals, which

ultimately leads to a perception of decreased pain.

If a treatment method allows a person to move

their pain level from a 9 or 10 to a 2 or 3, that’s

effective pain management, even if all we have

done is alter the way your brain perceives pain


3 “No Pain Pill” Alternatives

1.  The “bible” that I use with clients who want a

drug-free method to manage even the most severe

chronic pain is Full Catastrophe Living by Dr.

Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Dr. Kabat-Zinn founded the

Massachusetts General Hospital Pain Reduction

Clinic, working with the most damaged medical

patients in severe chronic pain, using no-drug

and no-surgery techniques.  15 years after it’s

first publication, it remains the best program I

know of for managing chronic pain without

drugs.  Working with a therapist who can teach

you mindfulness skills and cognitive behavioral

therapy makes the program even more effective.

2.  Acupuncture has been proven to relieve

chronic pain better than standard drug treatment

and better than placebo.  If you have never had

acupuncture, I highly recommend you try it.

It is painless (a good thing if you suffer from

chronic pain) and some insurance companies

now cover it as a procedure.

3.  Massage Therapy.  Although there is

inconsistent empirical support for massage

therapy as an effective treatment for chronic

pain, over 28% of those who received therapeutic

massage report that it gave them the greatest

relief from their pain.  I often recommend it

for both stress management and as an adjunct

for clients suffering from chronic pain.

Getting Off Drugs – Safely

If you are on narcotic pain medication now

and are interested in getting off of them and

managing your pain without them, the best

advice is actually to stay on them while you

learn and experiment with alternative methods

for managing your pain.  As you become

able to successfully manage your pain, you

can work with your doctor to slowly reduce

your reliance on your pain medication.

Under no circumstances should you stop

your pain medication without consulting with

your doctor, as there can be serious side effects

and withdrawals symptoms related to doing so.

Hope for Drug Free Pain Management

Although you may not have been given hope

that you can manage your pain without drugs,

there are effective alternative treatments for

pain management that you can explore.

More than just freedom pain medication,

feeling empowered to manage your chronic

pain is an amazing achievement…one that

is certainly possible for you.


2 Responses to “Drug Free Pain Management”

  • Hi Anita,

    Great article.

    This may explain why my husband is so successful working with people who have chronic pain. He is able to reactive the nervous system and adjust the body such that the pain disappears.

    He is trained in Chinese therapy techniques. Sometimes when I ask him how cured a certain person, he will tell me he is not sure, just that he knew he could. I have always thought there was some magic going on. Perhaps what he is really doing is unblocking the nervous system.

    Thanks again for the article and insight.


  • Nice blog.Thanks for posting it.We are also in same field.contact us at our website.

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