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Pain Management: Top Alternatives to Oral Painkillers

Shopify API December 01, 2022 No Comments
Painkillers can be helpful, but they're not something most people want to rely on regularly. Learn how to manage your pain without oral painkillers.
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December 2022. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.
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Chronic pain is a widespread problem, affecting an estimated 50 million adults in the United States alone. If you're one of the millions of people struggling with chronic pain, you may be looking for alternatives to oral painkillers.

While oral painkillers can effectively manage pain in the short term, they come with various potential side effects, including kidney damage, gastrointestinal bleeding, and addiction.

This guide explores the risks associated with some of the most common painkillers on the market. We've also highlighted some of the most popular alternatives to painkillers for those who are seeking safe, effective pain management strategies.

Potential Risks of Oral Painkillers

Oral painkillers can help manage acute (short-term) pain, but limiting their use is usually best. This is because some drugs are highly addictive and can lead to dependence over time, and with others, long-term use can cause problems such as kidney damage, stomach ulcers, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Moreover, these drugs usually don't address the underlying cause of chronic pain.

Opioid Painkillers and Addiction

While not all oral painkillers are addictive, some are — specifically opioids, one of the most addictive substances available. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, up to one-third of people who take prescription opioids for extended periods become addicted

Physical dependence can develop quickly, even when taken as prescribed. This is especially true for those with a history of substance abuse or addiction.

What to Do If You Become Addicted to Opioid Painkillers

If you find yourself becoming addicted to oral painkillers, it's essential to seek help as soon as possible. First, talk to your doctor about finding effective alternatives to oral painkillers and discuss any concerns or questions you may have.

Additionally, many addiction treatment centers are available to provide the support, therapeutic counseling, and medication needed for a successful recovery.

What Are the Risks of Over-the-Counter Painkillers?

Non-opioid painkillers still come with risks, even when taking over-the-counter options such as aspirin, NSAIDs (Aleve, naproxen, Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin), and acetaminophen (Tylenol).

These painkillers are associated with risks such as:
  • Ibruprofen and other NSAIDs: Chronic use of ibuprofen may cause nausea, upset stomach, gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and bleeding, heart attack or failure, high blood pressure, liver toxicity, kidney damage, low sodium levels, stroke, and ulcers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, such as naproxen may also increase the risk of bleeding, holes, or ulcers in the stomach, esophagus, and intestinal tract.
  • Aspirin: Chronic aspirin use may be associated with an increased risk of hemorrhage and bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
  • Acetominophen: Chronic use of acetaminophen is associated with an increased risk of liver damage and disease.
While occasionally using painkillers may help alleviate a bad headache or short-term pain, chronic use to treat ongoing pain may lead to issues.

For continuous use, it's essential to keep a log that tracks how often you're taking painkillers, which can help you prevent using them too often. And if you experience any of these issues, your log can help your doctor diagnose the problem.

Alternative Pain Management Strategies

Alternative Pain Management Strategies

Ultimately, the best way to manage chronic pain is to find a combination of treatments that works for you. Talk to your doctor about which options might suit you, and don't be afraid to experiment with different therapies until you find something that helps. Then, with the right approach, it is possible to manage chronic pain without oral painkillers.

Many alternative pain management strategies are available for chronic or acute pain that does not respond to other treatments.

 Exercise and Physical Therapy

Regular physical activity can help reduce inflammation and improve muscle strength and flexibility. This can provide relief from chronic pain and reduce the severity of acute pain.

Meditation and mindfulness

Mindfulness-based practices such as meditation can help to reduce stress levels, regulate emotions, and improve overall well-being. Studies suggest that mindfulness and meditation can improve pain symptoms.


Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points in your body. It originates from traditional Chinese medicine and has been demonstrated to reduce pain, improve circulation, and promote relaxation.


Regular massage therapy can help relax tense muscles and reduce pain. Massage has also been found to be effective in reducing stress and promoting relaxation.


Studies have found that yoga can effectively manage chronic pain, reduce stress, and improve overall health.

Heat Therapy

Applying a warm compress or taking a hot bath can help reduce muscle tension, joint stiffness, and soreness.

Cold Therapy

Applying a cold compress or taking an ice bath can reduce inflammation and numb the area to relieve pain temporarily.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people learn new ways to think and behave to address various physical and mental issues. Studies have found that this type of therapy can effectively reduce pain and improve quality of life.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy can help you learn how to perform everyday activities in a way that doesn't aggravate your pain. Occupational therapists can also provide assistive devices and adaptive equipment to make daily activities easier.


Certain supplements, such as turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids, can help reduce inflammation and relieve chronic pain. But remember, always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

This therapy involves placing electrodes on the skin to stimulate nerves and may help reduce pain signals.


Adhesives like the Kailo Pain Patch can offer a non-invasive alternative to medications and expensive therapies like acupuncture. Studies have found that Kailo can be an effective treatment for managing chronic pain with no side effects, and you can wear it all day, every day, no matter what you're doing.

Kick the Painkillers and Try Kailo

Living with chronic pain isn't easy, and oral painkillers may seem the best option in some cases. But you can try several safe, effective alternatives to oral painkillers to help you manage your chronic pain without the risk of addiction or other side effects. Look for combinations of alternative pain management strategies that effectively provide relief.

If you’re looking for an easy place to start from home, don’t forget to try the Kailo Pain Patch – it’s non-invasive, drug-free, and easy to use at home. Don't let pain hold you back from achieving your goals; just apply Kailo near the site of pain and breathe a sigh of relief as you go about your day.

Kailo is designed to relieve pain in seconds and an exciting clinical study recently showed that 96% of patients were satisfied with Kailo for pain relief.

Disclaimer: Kailo should not be used if you have a pacemaker or if you are pregnant. Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using Kailo.


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