The number of chronic pain cases has been on the rise in Canada in recent years. It’s been one factor in the recent opioid crisis. The fact of the matter is more Canadians are living with chronic pain. This has led many people, patients and doctors alike, to seek out different treatments for all forms of chronic pain.
What is the best treatment for chronic pain?
There are many different effective treatments, and the best chronic pain relief options depend somewhat on the kind of chronic pain you have. Medical cannabis, opioid treatments, and antidepressants are often used, along with physical interventions such as physiotherapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy. Other home remedies are also used by many patients, although not all of them are scientifically proven.
If you have chronic pain, you’ll likely want to try some of these different chronic pain relief options.
1. Medical Cannabis Is Becoming One of the More Popular Chronic Pain Relief Options
A few years ago, most medical practitioners wouldn’t authorize medical cannabis for their patients, regardless of the reason. Today, the research evidence has continued to accumulate, and more patients and doctors agree that medical marijuana can be an effective painkiller for many patients.
Many are also interested in seeing medical cannabis used as an alternative to the more traditional opioid treatments. Medical cannabis is used to treat the same conditions as opioids, and it also comes with lower risks of addiction and overdose.
This means cannabis might just be a safer alternative to some of the different chronic pain relief options.
2. Antidepressants Are Sometimes Used to Treat Chronic Pain
This comes as a surprise to many people, but some classes of antidepressants are sometimes used to treat chronic pain. They seem to be particularly effective against nerve pain, and so they are often used in neuropathic pain and they have research supporting they can help in this regard.
In addition, they’re often used in combination with other painkillers to treat anxiety and depression in chronic pain patients. Treating both pain and mental health can improve outcomes.
Antidepressants will not relieve pain for everyone. Older antidepressants often have higher risks of side effects, including depression and suicidal thoughts. As a result, many prefer different treatments for chronic pain.
3. Opioid Medications Are Still Common
Opioids are still used in many cases of chronic pain. This isn’t surprising, given that they’re usually touted as the most effective form of treatment and relief for patients.
That said, opioid medications may not be as effective as they were previously thought to be. They also come with the risks of addiction and overdose. With the opioid crisis in full swing across Canada, many are hoping to curb the prescription of opioids and instead press for different chronic pain relief options.
4. Physical Therapies Can Help Chronic Pain
Many patients will seek additional therapies to add to their chronic pain treatment plan. In addition to pain-relieving medications, these therapies might include acupuncture, physiotherapy, and massage.
The benefits of most of these therapies are widely debated in the scientific literature. Acupuncture, for example, has not reliably been proven to work, and studies don’t seem to indicate how, exactly, it works to relieve pain. Nonetheless, some people find it effective.
The same is true of physiotherapy and massage, although there is better scientific evidence for these two therapies.
5. There Are Many Home Remedies
Other chronic pain relief options include the many home remedies patients may use to help relieve their pain. In some cases, this includes over-the-counter medications, such as muscle relaxers, which can sometimes help, or creams. Others will use herbs and oils to relieve pain and relax muscles.
Most of these options do not have good scientific literature backing them, although many patients state they provide relief. In some cases, something as simple as exercise or a hot bath could be a recommended therapy to help relieve pain.
There are many different chronic pain relief options available. Some are better than others, as they’ve been scientifically proven to work.