6 Powerful Alternatives to Opioid Medication for Chronic Pain

According to the CDC, an estimated 20% of U.S. adults had chronic pain in 2016.

It’s a big problem with many potential treatment and management options. 

Too often, patients end up with prescriptions for potentially addicting opioid medications. 

Here is a shortlist of safe but powerful alternative treatments that can provide short and long-term pain relief from chronic pain.

1. Radiofrequency Ablation 

This quick outpatient treatment can relieve back, neck, and arthritis pain and pain from conditions like neuropathy for up to a year. 

It involves using an electric current to heat the nerve tissue causing the pain, short-circuiting the pain signals to the brain.  

Pain relief from a radiofrequency ablation procedure can last anywhere from a few days to a few months.

2. Steroid Injections 

Steroid injections are a standard treatment for chronic and acute pain all over the body, but most often for sciatic pain in the lower back and legs.

Steroid injection procedures are performed in an outpatient setting and are fast and typically painless or not very painful.

Steroid injections relieve pain by reducing inflammation. 

A single injection can provide pain relief anywhere from a week to a year. 

3. Therapeutic Nerve Blocks

Therapeutic nerve blocks involve injecting a local anesthetic into a group of nerves to block or reduce the pain signals they are sending.

The procedures can relieve pain in the head, neck, back, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, elbows, and pelvis. 

Relief can be immediate and last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

4. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

TENS can provide short-term relief for muscle pain by interrupting pain signals from nerves to the brain and raising the body’s endorphin level.

This outpatient procedure involves placing padded electrodes on the skin that send non-painful electrical impulses through the nerves or trigger points causing the pain.

5. Spinal cord stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation procedure involves attaching a spinal cord stimulator to the lower back or abdomen.

Small metal prongs or electrodes implanted under the skin send electrical impulses through the spine, replacing pain sensations with light, massage-like or tingling sensations.

And spinal cord stimulators give patients direct control over their pain with a remote controller so they can stop the pain as soon as it hits.

Spinal cord stimulators can treat many types of pain, including:

  • nerve pain
  • post-surgical pain
  • pain from spinal cord injuries
  • amputation pain
  • and more

6. Intrathecal Pump implant

Medicinal pump implants also give patients the power to stop the pain on call by pushing a button that sends a local anesthetic to the problem area. 

The pump implant procedure is performed in-patient under general anesthesia, and pain pumps typically need replacing within 3-5 years. 

Safe Pain Treatment and Management

The pain specialists at Texas Pain Physicians appreciate that people take opioids because they provide pain relief. 

But if you are in pain and would like to discuss non-opioid treatments, please give us a call at (972) 636-5727.

Alternatively, you can book an appointment with us online.