Understanding Chronic Pain

According to the National Institute of Health, chronic pain can be described as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. While acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists—often for months or even longer.

In addition, chronic pain may arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness. However, there may also be no clear cause. Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes, often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit a person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength, and stamina.

Opioid Addiction

With millions of people suffering from chronic pain everyday, it’s no wonder that opioid addiction has turned into an epidemic. Doctors are quick to prescribe opioids to help treat their patient’s pain, however, it can quickly turn into misuse.

Dependence on opioids can come on very quickly. Opioids work by binding to pain receptors, essentially cutting off the communication between your pain source and your brain. This is how opioids can offer such a sudden, much-needed relief from pain.

However, it also offers a euphoric feeling that can quickly become irresistible to the user. Tolerance to the drug builds quickly, forming a dependence to it. This dependence to the drug will quickly turn into a full-blown addiction in a matter of days.

The addiction can balloon to the point where the user has multiple doctors, prescriptions and pharmacies in order to obtain more opioids. People can quickly begin taking way more than prescribed, neglecting responsibilities and feeling sick whenever opioids are not in their system.

Chronic Pain Without Opioids

Once an addiction is formed to opioids, it can be very scary for the user to seek help for their addiction. They believe that their addiction is justified due to their chronic pain, and may never seek help. Their chronic pain is often used as a weapon of defense to loved ones trying to help them with their addiction.

If you are suffering from chronic pain and have had a history of opioid addiction, or would like to avoid the possibility of addiction altogether, there are alternative ways for dealing with your chronic pain. There are multiple non-opioid pain management methods you can try. While it is best to speak with your doctor about what might be right for you, we rounded up a few ways to deal with chronic pain without opioids.

Physical Therapy

When you are suffering from chronic pain, it seems like the last thing you want to do is exercise. However, working with a physical therapist and doing exercises will help them to better understand the underlying cause of your pain. While at first it might be hard, it will become progressively easier.

All of the muscles of the body are somehow connected, so just because you have pain in your arm, doesn’t mean that it is the source of your pain. Once the source of your pain has been identified, the physical therapist is then able to develop a sustainable program of exercises for you to do to keep your body working. There can also be plenty of things assigned for you to do at home, such as stretches and hot and cold therapy.

Eastern Therapies

Therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy and yoga are very beneficial for people suffering from chronic pain. There are also a wealth of herbal supplements and mindfulness practices to help treat chronic pain without opioids. In addition, chiropractic is a great treatment for neck, back and shoulder pain.

Other Eastern therapies can include meditation, hypnosis, tai chi and nutrition. Some of the mindfulness practices that Eastern therapies offer help you manage your reaction to pain, and help you emotionally manage it on a daily basis. Not only do Eastern therapies help relieve pain, but they also offer a very welcomed stress relief and relaxation, since living with chronic pain can be very difficult.


There are medications that can help you deal with chronic pain without opioids. These medications can include over-the-counter products such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These are anti-inflammatory medications that can help manage pain on a daily basis.

Antidepressants have also been shown to treat chronic pain. In addition, it helps to combat the negative feelings associated with chronic pain. People can feel hopeless, isolated and depressed when suffering from long-term chronic pain.

TENS units are also a great way to help with chronic pain, and are available at most drug stores. It produces an electric stimulation through a patch that you place on the area giving you pain.

About Pinelands Recovery Center

When it comes to chronic pain, opioids are not the only answer. There are many other ways to manage your pain without running the risk of falling into an addiction. If you or someone you love is suffering from chronic pain and needs help for their addiction, help for both disorders is available. Pinelands offers multiple therapies to not only help you overcome your addiction, but we will work to help find ways to treat your chronic pain, as well.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and a 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives.

For more information, visit pinelandsrecovery.com