8 Alternatives to Prescription Opiates for Pain in Pregnant Women

Now that we're aware of the opioid crisis facing our society and the dangers of addiction, more people are looking for alternative methods of pain management. This is especially true of expecting mothers, who don't want to pass on an addiction or birth defects to their unborn babies. Fortunately, there are safer and natural ways to manage pain and these 8 methods are just a few that you can try for yourself. 

  1. Alternative Forms of Physical Therapy 

The three primary therapeutic methods in this category are deep tissue massages, acupuncture, and chiropractic medicine. These are natural methods of therapy and have been used throughout history to relieve many different kinds of pain. Additionally, each method benefits the body and stimulates brain activity, helping to improve physical mobility as well. These methods of therapy have been shown to reduce healing time from injuries and to alleviate chronic pain. Each method involves vastly different treatments, so you should consult your doctor to learn which method is best for you. 

  1. Meditation 

We already know that meditation is a great way to reduce stress and internal inflammation. Additionally, recent studies have shown that regular meditative sessions can have a powerful effect on pain levels. This isn't surprising since we know that less inflammation means lower levels of pain. In one study, participants in a 26-week mindfulness meditation retreat experienced decreased chronic back pain and significant improvements in mobility. 

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 

This is a form of counseling that teaches individuals to confront their pain and the triggers that cause flare-ups. Through therapy sessions with a trained psychotherapist, patients learn how to address the causes of their pain and their emotional and psychological responses to the pain. By learning to refocus their thoughts, they can diminish the pain sensations. 

  1. Comfrey 

Another way to relieve back pain is with a skin cream, especially those that list comfrey as a primary ingredient. It should be applied up to three times daily. Although comfrey extract is also available as a tea, this method should be avoided. Research indicates that comfrey tea may cause liver damage. 

  1. Turmeric Root 

A tea made from turmeric root is great for reducing joint pain and back discomfort. As a member of the ginger family, this dark yellow spice is ideal for reducing inflammation in the body. It can also be used in recipes if you dislike tea. Alternatively, some pharmacies and health food stores sell turmeric in capsule form, allowing you to take it directly in suggested dosages. 

  1. Get More Exercise 

Consult your doctor about the recommended types of exercise for your condition, but, generally, you should engage in moderate-intensity, low-impact exercises. Regular workouts can help your body build muscle and improve mobility, which will help to relieve pain. As your muscles strengthen and you become more flexible, your body will build up a resistance to pain. Yoga has proven especially beneficial in managing many types of pain. Individuals suffering from joint pain, chronic back pain, arthritis, and the symptoms of fibromyalgia have reported notable improvements through regular yoga sessions. In addition to relieving pain, regular workouts can build up your immunity and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular conditions and other degenerative illnesses. 

  1. Devil's Claw Root 

While ideal for treating flare-ups of arthritis, Devil's Claw root is also effective in treating lower back pain. This natural supplement may be especially helpful to pregnant mothers, where joint pain and back discomfort is especially pronounced. Particularly, the active compound found in Devil's Claw root, known as harpagoside, was found to reduce pain in research subjects, when the individuals were administered 30-100 milligrams on a daily basis. A dose on the lower end is recommended for pregnant women because it can cause queasiness and stomach discomfort. 

  1. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) 

Where a retraining of thought patterns and physical therapy aren't sufficiently effective, NSAIDs can help minimize pain, though you should consult your doctor first. Over the counter medications, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, can reduce inflammation and the pain that accompanies it. An increased risk of digestive and cardiovascular issues may develop with the prolonged use of NSAIDs, so consider this alternative as a last resort. 

For expecting mothers, relieving pain without taking addictive or otherwise harmful drugs is especially important. It's important to realize that the same treatments won't work for everyone, so be patient and continue looking for an alternative that will work for you. You should always discuss any new treatment with your doctor ahead of time to help you avoid health complications.

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