Beating Chronic Pain: Alternatives to Painkillers



Chronic pain is an epidemic. Whether it be the result of an injury, age, or unknown reasons, millions of people hurt everyday. In fact, it is projected that 8 percent of Americans suffer with chronic back pain alone. That is almost 26 million people! It is possible for doctors to prescribe powerful medications, but that isn’t always the answer and is not a good long term solution. There are alternatives. And in a recent study done by the Journal of the American Medical Association, doctors have proven the pain-killing power of mindfulness and mediation.

Is it Real?

Yes it is! 10 years ago the medical field might have disregarded meditation therapies as effective or legitimate. But with study and observation, people are changing their minds. Researchers took 364 people, who suffered from chronic back pain, and offered them the choice to receive an eight weeks of  mindfulness therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or to simply continue with their regular routine. Of those that chose mindfulness, 43.6% reported a significant improvement in pain. For cognitive-behavioral therapy, 44.9%. And of the people who chose to stick with their regular care, 22.6% reported improvement over the same amount of time. These results are enough to claim that these therapies are a legitimate alternatives to pain medications. In fact, some doctors believe they are even more effective.

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What to Know

Both mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral therapy aim to improve the way you think. Mindfulness is about being aware of yourself, your mind, your body, and your feelings in order to see yourself more clearly. While cognitive-behavioral therapy targets your negative thoughts and tries to flip them into positive thoughts, which result in healthy actions. You may be asking yourself, “How does thinking different make my pain go away?” The answer is that chronic pain is often more than a physical problem. For example, if you are hungry and all you are able to think about is food, what is going to happen? You will likely get hungrier. This is the same concept with pain. It is true, that some pain can only be treated with medications, but it can’t hurt to be a little more aware of yourself.

Where Can I Find Help?

While you can practice these treatments to some extent on your own, the results of the study were based on scheduled and structured classes. There is an 8 week long mindfulness class offered at Intermountain Health Care in Ogden about an hour north of Salt Lake City. There are also numerous online courses that you can take along with professional sessions offered by psychologists and psychiatrists. The best thing you can do is look up sessions offered near you.

If you have been in an accident and it has left you with pain, you may need more than pain relief. We are experienced Utah Personal Injury Lawyers that want to help you get your life back. Please contact us today and we can help you find centers for pain relief as well as fighting for you to receive the compensation you deserve.

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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