The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports the number of opioids users and drug overdose-related deaths to be in the millions. Opioids are used to relieve pain, and these deaths had a direct link to chronic daily pain, these fatalities were looking for relief.
As a nation, we ought to use other pain solutions such as physical therapy. The number one reason people go to their doctor is to resolve some source of pain. The biggest issue is that they do not get help right away. People tend to wait due to a vast number of reasons: poor medical health insurance, it is cumbersome to see a doctor, they prefer to wait it out, do not have time, etc. By the time they get to see an MD or a PT, their pain is in the chronic category. This means that it will be harder and longer to resolve, and most probably, there will be a small percentage of the pain that will always remain. However, for most musculoskeletal pain there are many ways to manage that chronic daily pain.
Joint Stiffness: This is referred to as the pain that we feel after being still for a long time. We can feel it in our knees, spine, neck, hands, etc. This type of pain can be managed by making sure we warm up every day our body in different directions in a gentle manner. However, the warm-up should be gentle and short. Do not get fatigued doing so. The warm-up may include some gentle stretching as well as concentric/eccentric contractions and aerobic cardiovascular exercises.
Hip, lower back, neck, upper back, and shoulder pain: These may hurt due to stiffness or muscle tendinopathies. However, they can hurt from being out of alignment. These cause postural impairments which can cause joint pain as well as muscle pain. A well-evaluated posture can be fixed with mobilizations to adjust and align your body to allow it to perform properly.
Tendinosis: This is basically chronic tendinopathies or old muscle and/or tendon irritation that makes the muscle fragile and painful. In these cases, there is lingering inflammation in the muscle fibers, trigger point, and referral pain patterns. These aches and pains can be managed by mobilizing the muscles with our hands or several other tools, as well as with very specific exercises such as eccentrics.
All of these can also be treated with a variety of modalities such as electrical stimulation, dry needling, hot packs, cold packs, kinesio tape, other taping techniques, etc. As long as you know what is causing you chronic or daily pain, there are ways you can manage it without medication.