When you’re in pain, it’s difficult to think of anything else. All you want is for the pain to subside. But when pain is chronic, it’s as if there’s no end in sight. People may tell you that you should be used to it, but unless they walk a mile in your shoes, they have no idea.

It’s that insatiable urge to stop the pain that drives so many people with chronic pain to use prescription painkillers. But this is a very dangerous and slippery slope.

Dangers of using opioids for chronic back pain

Opioid painkillers are typically very effective for treating pain in the early stages. They will help your pain subside so that you can function better in your everyday life. But this cessation can have too much of an allure for anyone living with chronic pain.

Chronic pain is ongoing, but opioid painkillers are meant to be a short-term solution.

When you take opioids for pain over time, your body will build up a tolerance, and you’ll eventually need higher doses to achieve the same effect. As you up your dose, your chances of becoming addicted also increase. And with 115 people dying daily of opioid overdose, opioid addiction is a reality that many people are experiencing. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it won’t happen to you.

Alternative therapies for chronic pain

Fortunately, there are alternatives to opioid painkiller for all types of pain, whether chronic or acute. It may take some time to find the right solution that works for your specific pain, but if you can avoid the dangers of opioids, it’s time well spent.

Try any of the following alternative therapies on their own or try a combination of therapies to attack your chronic pain.


If you’re new to the world of alternative therapy, acupuncture may seem exotic. But this therapy has actually been well-accepted by the Western medical community. Some insurance plans even cover acupuncture.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), many studies suggest that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic pain, especially back and neck pain, osteoarthritis and knee pain, and headaches.


Aromatherapy has roots in ancient Chinese and Egyptian medicine, but we didn’t start calling it aromatherapy until the 1900s when a French chemist coined the term.

When you rub these oils into your skin or inhale them, the chemicals from the herb get absorbed into your tissues and eventually reach your limbic system. This is the network of nerves that controls your emotions. You may be skeptical, but this is how a scent can alter your perception of pain.

Stem cell treatment

Stem cell treatment isn’t a new concept. In fact, bone marrow transplants have been taking place since the first one in 1956, and this is a form of stem cell treatment.

But the idea of using stem cells to treat chronic pain isn’t quite as established. Still, it shows promise. Doctors are using stem cells to repair damaged tissues and joints that may be causing pain for patients. So, if you’re dealing with this type of pain, you may want to consider stem cell treatment. Talk to your doctor to see if you’d be a good candidate.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care has become much more mainstream than ever before, but it’s st considered an alternative method of treatment. A chiropractor’s job is to evaluate the relationship between the body’s structure and function to help decrease their pain.

This type of care focuses heavily on the spine, which is why most visits to the chiropractor involve adjustments that are meant to realign the spine and body.

If you’re dealing with lower back pain, neck pain, carpal tunnel, sport injuries or headaches, you may want to make an appointment with a chiropractor.


Everyone loves a good massage, but that rub-down does more than just make you feel relaxed. It’s a time-tested method of treating various types of pain.

If you’re considering massage therapy for chronic pain, find a licensed professional. Skilled massage therapists can manipulate the body’s soft tissues, improve circulation and stimulate the lymphatic and nervous systems.

Living with chronic pain is no picnic, but you don’t have to risk addiction or dangerous side effects to find some relief. Try any or all of the alternative therapies for chronic pain listed here to see which works best for you. 

About the Author

Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer who has a passion for writing since he was a young adult. He has written a variety of education, health, self- development and lifestyle articles. In his free time, you can find him playing with his dog, writing stories at his favorite coffee shop, or laying out on the beautiful beaches of San Diego. You can find more about Trevor on his LinkedIn.