Smashed Peaches

Drug Research Studies

Alternatives to using opioids for pain relief –

— Tired of aches and pains? There are some relief options that don’t involve drugs.

According to health experts, one in five Americans suffer from chronic pain — much of it so debilitating it interrupts daily life.

“I feel the pain in my low back…it’s very strong,” said Nancy Ortiz, who works regularly with a pain management doctor. “In the morning I can’t even

She’s not alone.

A CDC report shows of the 50 million Americans in pain, 20 million say it’s so severe it limited their ability to work, socialize or take care of themselves and their family. While there’s no magic bullet — a combination of treatments could offer relief.

The American College of Physicians recommends trying non-drug measures first, like exercises that incorporate mindfulness, such as tai chi and yoga. Acupuncture and massage have also shown to help some with chronic back pain and fibromyalgia.

“I always tell patients the first thing to do is do the least invasive for your body,” said Felix Roque, a doctor from the Pain Relief Center.

According to Lisa Gill, a health editor with Consumer Reports, cognitive behavioral therapy is another option.

“That’s where you work with a therapist on changing how you approach your pain,” Gill said.

Cannabidiol or CBD is becoming another go-to. Preliminary research suggests the non-psychoactive compound from the marijuana plant can reduce inflammation, but there’s no data to prove they work.

Over-the-counter medications can be good options, but prescription drugs like antidepressants, muscle relaxants and opioids come with the risk of addiction and misuse. According to Roque, surgery should be a last resort.

Watch WRAL’s documentary, Searching for a Fix, for more details on North Carolina’s addiction epidemic.