Recently, physicians and researchers alike have been working diligently on one of the biggest problems facing American medical care today: the overuse of opiate painkillers and the epidemic of painkiller addiction that has occurred as a result. In order to deal with these serious issues in the pain management process, it has been necessary for physicians to develop new opiate-free pain management techniques and procedures as well as incorporate other options back into these programs. Get to know some of your opiate-free pain management options so that you can be sure that if you ever suffer an injury or need surgery you can be sure that you are getting the best pain management care possible.
Nerve Stimulation and Heat Devices
One of the ways that pain can be managed without painkillers is through the use of a small device that provides heat therapy as well as electrical stimulation to the nerves in the body responsible for pain. These devices can be used in the hospital and can also be purchased over the counter for use at home as well.
Nerve stimulation and heat therapy have both been techniques employed by physical therapists for many years. However, the ability to utilize what is known as TENS or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, was not readily available for home use until recently. TENS utilizes small adhesive pads that are placed on the skin. The device sends electrical signals through those pads to stimulate the nerves. This nerve stimulation blocks the signals for pain from traveling along those same nerves back to the brain.
Along with TENS, these devices can also provide heat to the area of the body that causes pain. Heat therapy, of course, can help keep muscles from stiffening up and reduce pain while promoting healing and relaxation.
Virtual Reality as Pain Management
One of the more surprising developments in pain management is the use of virtual reality in the treatment process. Virtual reality, of course, is a simulation experience in 3D in which the person can interact with the simulation. This means that the person can move around in the virtual world, manipulate objects and more.
Some physicians have started to explore the usefulness of virtual reality in a clinical setting, particularly in pain management. Because virtual reality is an immersive experience, it can be used to manage pain during medical care following an injury, and may be particularly useful in burn victims who need continued burn care and debridement which can be especially painful.
The person wears a virtual reality headset and because their visual field is completely engaged in the virtual world, their brain is more focused on the virtual world than the pain in the real world. This can help to significantly reduce a person's sensation of pain.
With these options and more coming available to assist in pain management, you can be sure that if you ever suffer a serious injury or need surgery, that you will have numerous opiate-free pain management choices available to you. For more information, visit websites like http://www.pottershouserx.com.