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Non-Opioid Options for Pain Management – Provider Resources

Not all pain management requires the use of opioid medication. See below for provider information on evidence-based, non-opioid treatment options that can be considered in treating pain.

  • Opioids are not recommended as the first-line or routine therapy for chronic pain.
  • Non-pharmacological therapy and non-opioid pharmacological therapy are preferred for chronic pain.
  • If opioids are used, they should be combined with non-pharmacologic therapy and non-opioid pharmacologic therapy, as appropriate.

Effective approaches to chronic pain should:

  • Identify and address co-existing mental health conditions (e.g., depression, anxiety, PTSD).
  • Focus on functional goals and improvement, engaging patients actively in their pain management.
  • Use disease-specific treatments when available (e.g., triptans for migraines, gabapentin/pregabalin/duloxetine for neuropathic pain).
  • Use first-line medication options preferentially.
  • Use multimodal approaches, including interdisciplinary rehabilitation for patients who have failed standard treatments, have severe functional deficits, or psychosocial risk factors.

  • Non-pharmacological therapies (non-medication treatments): Referring to therapies that do not involve drugs.
  • Non-opioid pharmacological treatments (medication treatments): Referring to non-opioid pain medications.

Non-Opioid Treatment Options for Pain

Treatment of Chronic Pain Moving Beyond Opioids

  • Access this PDF to learn about the management of chronic pain using a stepwise approach.

Non-pharmacologic and non-opioid solutions for pain management

  • This two-page handout provides a list of evidence-based, non-opioid treatment options to consider for treating pain.
For more information on non-pharmacological treatment options for pain, visit the Non-Pharmacological Treatment Options section of this toolkit.
Chronic pain: Medication decisions

  • Learn about the risks and benefits of common pain medications to better inform your patients of their options.
Medications for Chronic Pain—Nonopioid Analgesics

  • Review medications for the treatment of pain as well as specific guidelines for low back pain, osteoarthritis, and migraine.
Nonnarcotic Methods of Pain Management

  • This article discusses factors influencing choice of treatment options for acute and chronic pain.

Summary of Non-Opioid Treatments

Non-Opioid Treatments for Pain: Provider Table

  • This provider-geared table contains information on various evidence-based, non-opioid treatment options for pain.

Talking to Your Patients About Non-Opioid Treatments for Pain

Michigan OPEN: Patient Counseling

  • As providers prescribe fewer opioids, this resource offers information on setting expectations and norms for pain management.

For more information on non-opioid treatment options, tailored toward patients and families: