Accessible Alternative Long-term Pain Management Options

Last updated: October 2022

These alternative pain management options (often) take a longer time to see any noticeable changes in overall pain and fatigue levels.

Long-term pain management options

These aren’t my “go-to” options for immediate pain relief. Rather, they are part of my long-term pain management game plan.

Physical therapy

I’m not going to lie. I totally cringed when my doctor suggested physical therapy. Not that I necessarily have anything against physical therapy. Other than the last time I did physical therapy, I felt like it cost me a fortune, in time and money. The therapy itself was fine, but I just really, really don’t like to go out for appointments. So I was sort of ho-hum about it.

I can hear your questions now: "Why then, Leanne, would you suggest it to me?" Well, I’m glad you asked, dear friend. And that is where something called Sword Health comes into play and how I know from experience that PT might just be worth the trouble. I received one of those random flyers in the mail from my insurance company about a new “back pain” management program they were offering.

Tablet and sensor program

Basically, it was many of the benefits of physical therapy without some of the challenges. It is a tablet and sensor system that connects you to a real-life physical therapist in your area. You meet with them virtually and they prescribe certain exercises that you can do on your own time, using the tablet and wearing the sensors which give real-time feedback for your therapist to review. Not to mention, I could message my therapist anytime I needed with questions or concerns. You guys, can I just say, genius. For me, this was the perfect solution. And the best part is that it was entirely provided by my insurance for free.

But without the financial and time constraints, I was able to continue with the exercises under the supervision of a therapist for a much longer duration, providing much more long-term pain relief. It really gave me the opportunity to build up the muscles in my lower back, further protecting a common pain point. I would highly recommend checking if your insurance company (in the U.S.) might have something similar to offer.

Acupuncture

Angela can speak much more effectively about this option since I haven’t been able to find an (affordable) acupuncturist near me to give it a go myself. The general consensus is that most people can expect to feel some pain relief after 6-10 visits. I suppose in the grand scheme that isn’t terrible, but I can’t imagine a scenario where I’d want to do 10 visits in a row. So even going twice a week, relief could still be nearly a month away.

Chiropractor

Unless your pain stems from alignment issues, seeing a chiropractor for immediate pain relief (in my experience) isn’t going to work. However, I do have some experience with some ongoing visits where my doctor attempted to make adjustments that would calm the raging inferno of inflammation that was going on in my body. After several months, I was able to identify a noticeable improvement.

Diet

Don’t kill the messenger for this one! I’m not suggesting it is a cure-all or anything, but in my experience, it does make a difference. The reason I put it in the long-term category is for mostly obvious reasons. But it truly is a long-term option. And like all pain management options, it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. When I made my dietary changes, I literally was at the point where I was willing to try anything! That gave me the necessary willpower to make the difficult changes and the necessary focus to continue it for the months it took to see a difference.

What has worked for you?

I’d love to know, is there anything I missed? I’m always up for trying out different things so that I can report back to you and (hopefully) save you the time and effort of trying every single thing out yourselves. So please let me know in the comments- what else would you like to learn more about from a completely unbiased patient? What’s worked for you?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

What strategy to fight fatigue is most effective for you?