Non-Opioid Pain Relief (Avoiding Opioid Addiction)
In the U.S. alone, $635 billion is spent each year on pain management. And many Americans have turned to opioid use for their quest of pain relief with devastating consequences.
Prescription opioids can be used to treat moderate-to-severe pain and are often prescribed following surgery or injury, or for health conditions such as cancer. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the acceptance and use of prescription opioids for the treatment of chronic, non-cancer pain, such as back pain or osteoarthritis, despite serious risks and the lack of evidence about their long-term effectiveness.
Opioid Prescriptions have now become a problem
• More than 191 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed to American patients in 2017—with wide variation across states.1
• There is a wide variation of opioid prescription rates across states. Health care providers in the highest prescribing state, Alabama, wrote almost three times as many of these prescriptions per person as those in the lowest prescribing state, Hawaii.1
• The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include:
o Oxycodone (such as OxyContin®)
o Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®)
Addiction and Overdose
• Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them. In fact, as many as one in four patients receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting struggles with opioid addiction. Once addicted, it can be hard to stop. In 2016, more than 11.5 million Americans reported misusing prescription opioids in the past year. Now its estimated that 15 million people worldwide are addicted.
• 69,000 people die from opioid overdose each year, worldwide
To reverse this epidemic, we need to improve the way we treat pain and many Americans are trying almost anything to find pain relief and they are turning away from the medical model of prescription drugs to more natural alternatives. 39% of Americans are turning to Alternative Medicine for pain relief and better health. Alternative medicine, also known as Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM), holistic medicine, natural medicine, anything non-chemical, non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical. This includes therapies such as physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, nutrition, yoga, exercise and modalities like electrical stimulation, ultrasound, light, vibration, PEMF, traction, heat, ice and more.
Of these alternatives to prescription medication and opioids, electrical stimulation therapy has gained a lot of traction in the pain relief community because of its effectiveness to provide pain relief and because of its safety and user friendly devices.
E-Stim falls into two categories of providing pain relief and healing.
• E-stim can be used to trick the mind not to notice the original pain but instead to focus on the tingling sensation of the skin. This is accomplished by using a device such as a TENS unit which stimulates the sensory nerves on the skin. The TENS unit does a good job in providing temporary pain relief. But once the device is turned off, all benefits of the E-Stim stop. The pain is immediately noticed again.
• E-stim is also used to stimulate muscle contraction to produce muscle exhaustion to help relax spasms and tension. This is accomplished with EMS devices. This can be a painful treatment due to the fact that there is already muscle pain and tension and the elicited muscle contractions can exacerbate the pain. The pain relief results, if any, are again usually short lived.
Long Term Relief and Healing
• E-stim is also used to reduce inflammation and edema which provides pain relief. The best E-stim devices for this is either IFC (interferential) or DC (direct current). By using the negative electrode, it can push out the edema from the damaged area. By reducing the edema, the pain is also reduced. This relief is more permanent since its promoting healing of the source of the pain and not just a temporary cover up.
• E-stim can also promote healing by affecting the cells and vessels of the damaged tissue (pain source). The only E-stim known for cellular healing is DC. This was discovered in the 1940’s when DC increased the healing rate of chronic wounds. Direct Current promotes healing by increasing angio-genesis, (new capillary formation), increasing white blood cells to damaged tissue (less infection), increasing fibroblast cell activity (quicker healing), inhibiting certain bacteria (less infections) and better collagen fiber organization (less scar tissue, stronger tissue). Longer term pain relief is felt because DC E-stim promotes healing of the source of the pain. Healing equals pain relief.
Our DC stimulator, Micro-Z Mini or Micro-Z II, features deeper penetrating current, ease of use, portable for home use, promotes tissue healing and has a nocturnal therapy mode. It can be used to treat pain, neuropathy, wounds, sprains and strains, to reduce edema and inflammation, joint and muscle pain and much more.
If you are looking for an alternative to medication then look into the healing power of the our DC stimulator.