Methadone Maintenance for Opiate Addiction

Maintaining Your Sobriety: How to Manage Chronic Pain with Non-Narcotic Pain Meds

non narcotic pain management

A dependency on opioids can be one of the hardest ones to shake, that’s why non-narcotic pain meds are a great alternative. Many of the most addictive narcotics fall into the category of opioids.

It makes sense, then, that a person who has made the decision to get sober would avoid opioid pain medications at all costs. If you’re experiencing pain and need to treat it somehow, there are alternatives to opioids that you can explore.

These non-narcotic pain meds are non-habit forming options that keep you on the right path with your sobriety. After all, staying sober is the most important thing. There are also some methods for managing pain that doesn’t use any substance but does require that you put in some personal effort.

Non-Narcotic Pain Meds

We’ll cover both medications and methods of treating pain that doesn’t involve habit-forming substances. If you find your way here to learn about how to lose an opioid dependency.

1. Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is used for moderate to severe pain. It has been shown to decrease pain in patients recovering from surgery and reduces opioid consumption when paired with opioid medications.

The drug does still have some negative side-effects, though. Nausea, pruritus, and constipation have all been reported in some patients. The method of consumption can be oral, rectal, or intravenous.

2. Anticonvulsants

Typically used for neuropathic pain, anticonvulsants are a great alternative to opioids. This option is more specific to certain illnesses and should be taken at the request of a doctor.

If you’re near the point of being prescribed pain medication, ask your doctor about anticonvulsants to see if they would even be an option for your specific pain.

3. Ibuprofen

IV Ibuprofen is sometimes known as Caldolor. It’s a maximum-strength pain reliever that can be taken to treat pain on par with opioids on the market.

All levels up to severe pain can be treated with Ibuprofen. When you move to IV Ibuprofen, though, it’s recommended that you consult with a doctor about the dosage. This is because the substance has to be diluted before it is ingested, and the dosing requirements are relatively specific.

While it is not an opioid, it is still a powerful drug when taken at high doses. Just because you can buy small amounts over the counter doesn’t mean the substance shouldn’t be taken seriously.

4. Reuptake Inhibitors

SSRIs and SNRIs can be taken to treat a number of things. They are most commonly used to treat mental illnesses, as they regulate the chemicals in the brain to achieve a healthier balance.

That being said, they can be used to treat chronic musculoskeletal pain. The primary known side-effect is nausea.

Pain Management Methods

We’ll now cover a few of the methods of pain management that you can use independently, or in conjunction with one of the medications listed above.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a technique that involves placing very small needles into your skin to disrupt the nerve pathways that communicate pain throughout the body. This is a great way on how to deal with physical pain relieves pain in addition to a number of other side effects that are also conducive to recovery.

It is known to reduce your stress, pain in your neck, spine, and back, slow headaches, and improve your immune system. It’s certainly an option to consider even if you don’t have severe pain to address.

2. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy seeks to address the specific muscles and areas in your body that are experiencing pain. It is seen as the most direct, healthy approach to reducing pain.

If you’re experiencing pain as a result of muscular issues or surgery, physical therapy should be on your calendar. Working with professionals who understand the style and pace of rehabilitation that your muscles need is invaluable.

3. Massage Therapy

Sometimes the key to reducing pain and tension in our muscles is having them focused on. Massage therapists can access specific muscles and work the tension.

Make sure to get a deep-tissue massage, and keep at it for a few weeks to see if there is any improvement. Our muscles lie in a very interconnected network, so as one improves, more will follow.

4. Relaxation Techniques

There are a whole host of pseudo-scientific relaxation programs out there. There are, on the other hand, a number of methods that have worked on people for centuries.

Some of the pain and tension you’re experiencing could come from the fact that you are generally tense in your day-to-day life. Working on relaxation could prompt you to act in a way that causes less stress on your mind and body.

Consider meditation for starters. Practicing meditation correctly allows your body to enter a completely relaxed state, and your mind follows by being observant. Being able to notice your symptoms and learn how to use meditation for pain tolerance instead of trying to cover it up immediately can be extremely beneficial.

If only for the fact that you will have a stronger awareness of what it is that your body is going through, meditation will prove to be beneficial. You could also try relaxing in a sauna, taking a few days off from work, or going for regular walks.

5. Staying Healthy

Keeping your body in good shape is a great way to prevent a lot of pain in the first place. Whether it’s our muscles, our internal organs, or our mental health, exercise benefits each one.

Try to prevent muscular pains by doing a comprehensive stretch each morning. Focus on each muscle group and make sure to take it slow without rushing. This alone will free up a lot of tension in your entire body.

Further, try to do regular cardio. If pain prevention is your goal, you don’t need to worry about too much heavy lifting. Just do your best to stretch regularly and get regular cardio in.

Want to Learn More?

If you’re struggling with an opioid dependency, or want to know more about how you can stay sober by using non-narcotic pain meds, do your best to learn as much as you can.

We have the information you need to get informed and stay informed, so feel free to check out our information that can help with opioid dependency or pick up the phone and call (855) 976-2092.



Harvard Health Publishing Medical School. (2019, February). Relieving Pain With Acupuncture. Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing:

Penman, D. P. Ph.D (2015, January 09). Can Mindfulness Meditation Really Reduce Pain and Suffering? Retrieved from Psychology Today:


About the author

Dr. Michael Carlton, MD.

Leading addictionologist, Michael Carlton, M.D. has over 25 years of experience as a medical practitioner. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and returned for his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1990. He completed his dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and his Fellowship in Toxicology at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

He has published articles in the fields of toxicology and biomedicine, crafted articles for WebMD, and lectured to his peers on medication-assisted treatment. Dr. Carlton was a medical director of Community Bridges and medically supervised the medical detoxification of over 30,000 chemically dependent patients annually.

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