You’ve heard it on the news. You’ve read it in the papers. Maybe you’ve even seen it in your own life. America’s addiction to painkillers has become an epidemic. Doctors prescribe them left and right as the prescription drug industry continues to develop profitable pills. Acute pain in the back? Try this pill. Chronic pain in the hip? Take this twice a day. Having a minor surgery? You should probably go get this prescription filled.
The Opioid Epidemic
Opioids of all shapes and sizes saturate America’s medicine cabinets. There’s codeine, fentanyl, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone and more. These painkillers are dangerous but for some, they’re the only way to make it through the day. Opioids interact with the opioid receptors in the brain and the nervous system to produce pleasurable sensations and to relieve pain. For most users, this takes care of whatever inhibiting pain they’re dealing with. However, many users seek the same pleasurable sensations even after the pain is gone and continue taking the painkiller.
Many current news stories look at how America’s addiction to painkillers contributes to America’s problem with heroin. People of all ages and social classes have become heroin users after developing an addiction to painkillers.
However, there are less extreme cases of America’s addiction to painkillers, too. Many people end up relying on them as a means of pain management. But even if one is taking these opioids under doctor supervision, taking them everyday for months and months can still affect one’s condition. Continual usage of painkillers can result in lethargy, depression and even opioid-induced constipation.
Opioid-induced Constipation (OIC)
Opioid-induced constipation (OIC) is a common side-effect with opioid usage. It’s liable to happen to anyone who relies on opioids for an extended period of time. Some doctors may suggest treating OIC by increasing dietary fiber, liquids or exercise. However, many doctors end up prescribing additional medication on top of the opioids to help alleviate the OIC.
Additional medication? That should sound like a bad plan to anyone who’s been paying attention. And that’s another real issue with America’s addiction to painkillers. As companies work to develop new treatments, America becomes obsessed with solving every new health problem with a new pill. What if there was a natural treatment for pain to begin with? Something safe, drug-free and non-addictive?
TENS Unit: A Drug-Free, All-Natural Solution
Well, there is! Electrotherapy, while a lesser known solution, is a safe and effective treatment for pain. TENS Unit therapy uses gentle electrical impulses to stop pain and release endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s own, natural morphine-like substance. With TENS Unit, there’s no addiction, no depression and no OIC. TENS Unit treatment can be used as often as needed. And, many devices, like iReliev’s TENS unit, are portable so they can be used on the go, at work or at home.
Take a look at your medicine cabinet. If you or someone you know is relying on opioids to get through the day, consider replacing those pill bottles with a TENS Unit. There’s no better gift for yourself or a friend than introducing a drug-free, safe and effective answer to chronic or acute pain.
Learn more about TENS Unit and Electrotherapy by visiting our blog post on The Top 5 Reasons You Should Have a TENS Unit in Your Medicine Cabinet.