A common factor that can contribute to substance use disorders is pain. No one likes to be uncomfortable, and for those who experience chronic pain, it can be very stressful and exhausting. Crunched for time and under pressure to produce results, many physicians over the years have turned to prescribing opioid pain killers to provide relief. While this can be helpful, it also comes with a high risk for addiction and adds to the growing prescription opioid epidemic. However, there are alternatives for reducing pain that are natural and holistic.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, recently conducted a study on the benefits of mindfulness meditation and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for alleviating low-back pain. The study found that 43.6 percent of participants who engaged in mindfulness training (a combination of meditation and yoga), and 44.9 percent of participants who received CBT experienced a “meaningful reduction in pain” 26 weeks later. Only 26.6 percent of participants who continued with their usual care routine experienced meaningful relief. This goes to show that non-drug/non-opioid methods of reducing chronic pain can be effective.
Mindfulness meditation and CBT are two approaches that Northbound employs in treating clients with substance use disorders. These methods help to promote more positive thinking and ease stress. The gentle stretching and movements of yoga can be very calming and enhance flexibility while reducing muscle tension. Meditation helps clients to clear their minds and focus on the mind-body connection. CBT teaches clients to turn negative thoughts and behaviors into more positive ones. By engaging in these activities, clients can promote better health and less pain without the use of prescription medications.
Continuing to practice the strategies learned in mindfulness meditation and cognitive-behavioral therapy can support lifelong recovery efforts and reduce the risk of relapse. It also helps clients to steer themselves away from the use of potentially addictive painkillers and focus on more natural forms of pain relief.
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