More than 760,000 people in the United States alone have died of a drug overdose since 1999. If that statistic does not worry you, in 2018, two out of three deaths from overdosing were from opioid addiction.
Opioids are still one of the most commonly prescribed painkillers for those who are seeking relief from pain they might be having. But, the danger with opioids is that the rewarding nature of this type of painkiller can be easy to get addicted to the more you take the medication.
In that case, opioid painkiller alternatives like natural painkillers would be the best way to avoid opioids. Here are five types of alternatives to opioid painkillers.
What Is an Opioid?
Opioids are a class of medication that binds to opioid receptors in the brain to provide pain relief.
Some of the most commonly prescribed are oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine. You may also have heard of OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin, which are brand names for these medications.
When people experience acute pain from an injury, surgery, or chronic pain, doctors prescribe these medications. The problem is that opioid receptor activation causes an increase in the activity of the chemical dopamine, which controls pleasure and rewards. For some people, the effects of opioids on their overall pleasure is so rewarding, they want to keep experiencing it.
Here are five types of alternatives to opioid painkillers.
Acupuncture involves thin needles being stuck into your body at certain points to interrupt any pain signals. While it sounds scary at first, many people have found pain relief through this method.
2. Nerve Blocks
If you have muscle spasms or nerve pain, this type of natural painkillers is for you. Doctors inject your body with numbing medication that blocks or lessens pain. This type of treatment may need a series of injections and repeated treatment in order to take full effect.
3. Endomorphin Analogs
Morphine is one of the types of opioid drugs that are risky to abuse if used for long periods of time. This class of medications are similar to morphine, but studies with animals have shown that they offer reduced pain sensitivity that was equal to morphine without the negative side effects associated with morphine.
4. CBD Oil
More and more studies are touting the benefits of CBD oil. You may know that CBD comes from the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa, but CBD is different from THC. THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana that causes a high, is not present in CBD.
Be aware that the Food and Drug Administration in the United States does not regulate CBD.
Besides the above mentioned natural painkiller options, the best way to get rid of opioid addiction is by going to drug rehab. There are also medications like methadone that can help reduce the risk of you getting addicted to opioids.
When In Pain, Consider Opioid Painkiller Alternatives
Opioids are a type of powerful drug that is very tempting to take when you are in need of pain relief. Luckily, using opioid painkiller alternatives will make sure you do not risk getting addicted to opioids. Instead, natural painkillers will prevent you from the ongoing health crisis.
Whether you are coming out of surgery or have a chronic pain condition, know that opioids are not the only option. Before starting any medication, talk to your doctor first.
Hopefully, this helped you think about alternatives to opioid painkillers. Interested in more health articles like this? Check out our website to read more.