Fighting Opioid Abuse With Alternatives to Drugs

When we hear statistics about drug overdose deaths, such as there were 69,029 drug overdoses resulting in death during a one-year period ending in February 2019, we brush it off as something that happens to people on the fringe of society, those who do drugs like heroin or meth.  It’s easy to put it off as something that wouldn’t happen to you, who doesn’t do drugs and only has a glass of wine or two once a month at book club.

But here’s the harsh truth:  Of those 69,029 deaths, nearly 70% were due to opioids and only 22% of those were from heroin.  The biggest culprit?  Prescription opioids.  In 2017, there were more than 191 million prescriptions for opioids written for patients in the U.S.  Prescriptions for opioids used to be reserved for those experiencing the most severe pain such as those recovering from major surgery or fighting cancer but over the years, those standards have been relaxed and now these highly addictive drugs are regularly being prescribed to various types and levels of pain, regardless of the risk.  The most common of these drugs involved in these deaths are Methadone, Oxycodone (OxyContin®️), Hydrocodone (Vicodin®️), and Benzodiazepines (Xanax®️, Vallium®️, and Atavan®️ used to treat anxiety).

Have you ever taken any of these?  Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them.  It may start with a temporary prescription for some back pain but these drugs have been shown to be highly addictive and many patients will build up a tolerance to them which means they need even more of the drugs to relieve their pain.

Stopping the use of prescription opioids should be done under the guidance of your physician who can help you do it slowly and safely.  If you are looking for an alternative to drugs to treat short-term or chronic pain, you do have options.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can target the muscles and joints that may be contributing to your pain and provide patients with exercises and movements that they can do at home to improve their mobility and relieve pain.


Steroids decrease inflammation to provide relief from pain from arthritis and back pain.  The downside to them is that they can suppress the immune system and cause other side effects.


The thought of having needles stuck into your skin may be scary but many people swear by the results for the treatment of pain.  It works by stimulating nerves to influence and activate other areas of the body.

Regular Exercise

Exercise helps us increase mobility and functionality and lessen pain.  When you experience chronic pain, moving may be the last thing you want to do but low-impact exercise can greatly improve your health in many ways.

Chiropractic Care

Through hands-on spinal adjustments, a chiropractor can align your musculoskeletal structure so the body can heal itself.  It helps restore mobility and can relieve pain in joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones.

If you’re experiencing pain, you may be able to find relief through alternatives to addictive opioids.  If you or a loved one needs help because of opioid addiction, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) helpline at (800)662-HELP.

At North County Pain Relief, we take a drug-free, holistic approach to the health of our patients.  Aside from chiropractic adjustments, we also offer electric muscle stimulation, cryotherapy, hydrotherapy, intersegmental traction, and moist heat therapy, all in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.  Call (314)731-4201 and make an appointment to see Dr. Elsey today and get started on your drug-free treatment for pain.