7 ways to manage chronic pain that don’t involve painkillers


Drugs can be important in pain management – but they’re only part of the picture

Treating chronic pain can be tricky, especially when it comes to chronic primary pain. This means there’s no clear cause, as opposed to chronic secondary pain where there’s an identified underlying cause – such as arthritis, endometriosis or injury.

Health officials have now raised concerns over prescribing painkillers for chronic pain where there’s no clear cause, saying there’s “little or no evidence” it’s an effective solution.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) suggests a range of other therapies should be offered instead – including exercise programmes, psychological therapies, acupuncture and antidepressants. This would mean avoiding unnecessary side-effects associated with certain painkillers, as well as providing options that do actually help.

Drugs are just part of the picture

Whatever the cause, living with chronic pain can be extremely tough, impacting everything from mental health to work, family and relationships too. When it comes to managing it though, painkillers are only part of the picture.

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