Opioid Crisis: Alternatives to Opioids

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LEHI — Most opioid prescriptions are specifically for pain relief.

Even when used correctly under a health care provider’s direction, opioids can lead to dependence and addiction.

So some people are choosing other less risky alternatives for dealing with their pain.  According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the initial decision to take drugs for pain is voluntary for most people. But it can lead to dependency and addiction.

There is an alternative for dealing with pain.

“I’ve seen a lot of people, whether they’re on opioids or some lower level pain medications, through physical therapy be able to come off of those because of the effects of just being more mobile and stronger,” said Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT Empower Utah Physical Therapy.

Some people are choosing physical therapy and dry-needling.

“Small needles, so there is no medicine involved, but these tiny needles, we insert them into muscles. They have mild fashioned trigger points.  It actually helps release and reduce that tension and reduce the pain that’s involved with those knots,” said Hansen.

“I like that it’s non-medicated; it is honestly nice to use. I’m using something to relieve that discomfort, that is not one more chemical in my body,” said Alyson Allred, Core Fit GRX Instructor/Part Owner.

Some people are skeptical about the treatment, especially when they are dependent on strong painkillers.

“It’s not going to help it.  I take the medication, it’s the only way I can function and the only way you know is if you try. You really can’t say it doesn’t work unless you give it at least give it a try. Maybe it doesn’t reduce your pain down to zero, but it gets you back to tolerable or functional.  Back to where you can actually do the things that you used to be able to do. Basically make life better,” said Hansen.

This technique may not be a substitute to visit the doctor’s office, but it is a good alternative to avoid dependence and addiction.

“There’s a time and season for doctors, believe me, there’s a time and season for that. But when it comes to pain tolerance, it’s just going to be magnified going from one pain med and then getting more and getting more at to what point?” said Allred. 

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