Pain Management: Opioids vs. Holistic Approaches

After reading a recent article ‘Why Are Americans In So Much Pain?’, we wanted to share our insight on the subject of chronic pain and the opioid crisis in the US as it relates to veterans. We also wanted to offer some of the amazing holistic healing programs and organizations we’ve found in working with veterans.

This post isn’t intended to bash big pharma and Western medicine because they are both absolutely beneficial and practical. The true problem and fight isn’t with Big Pharma but the pressure of society. There is a societal norm of expecting results in the snap of a finger. People look for short term solutions such as opioids for immediate relief, when it often makes everything that much harder down the road. In the article linked above, Marine Corps. veteran Brian Whitfield talks about how quickly things got bad once he was prescribed opioids. After almost taking his own life, Whitfield was able to turn things around and created Life After Project, an organization that spreads awareness on suicide and substance abuse by fighting stigmas.

Stigmas and lack of knowledge surrounding alternative treatments is a huge factor in the opioid epidemic. In order to create change, we must change our habits & way of thinking. There is a fear of the unknown that often prevents veterans from persuing new methods and treatments for their pain.

“In our society, pain has a negative connotation and can cause people to think that they cannot do things or cannot enjoy life. By accepting pain as a normal and common physical occurrence, we can have more realistic expectations for pain control.”

- Dr. Sarah Johnson, Landmark Recovery

When we started Backpacks For Life, I knew of a few alternative treatments for my PTSD but each and everyday, we are learning about new treatment methods like meditation, epsom salt baths and group therapy. You might ask, “How does talking help?”, This is very objective but in my opinion, knowing that you aren’t alone and you aren’t struggling alone gives you a huge amount of relief. Going to group therapy is not only a great way to relate to others, but you might learn about other ways to heal yourself naturally. There are thousands of new studies a year discovering new ways to heal so if you think you’ve tried them all…think again! Keep pushing forward and keep trying everything until something clicks for you!

Here are some of the alternative healing methods that we have seen have a positive effect on veterans. These can be transferrable to any person suffering from chronic pain and perhaps, may be just the fix you were looking for!

Project Healing Waters - Fly Tying and Fishing for Disabled Veterans

Floatation Therapy - Float Spas can be found nationwide and prove to be

Equine Therapy - Various horse farms and programs nationwide that support our veterans through equine therapy including The Unbridled Heroes Project, Project Horses For Forces, Saratoga War Horse & War Horses for Veterans.

Physical Therapy - we recently hosted a Free Veteran Health Assessment Day with Vigor Physical Therapy in October, offering physical therapy consultations and general health assessments to our local veterans!

Stay tuned for future events where you can discover new methods and practices for healing!

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