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Non-Pharmacological Options for Pain Management – Provider


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

  • Opioids are not recommended as the first-line or routine therapy for chronic pain.
  • Non-pharmacologic therapy and non-opioid pharmacologic 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-Pharmacological Treatment Options for Pain 

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.

Considering Complementary Approaches (eBook)

  • Download this ebook as an ePub (for Nook, iPad, and more) or for your Kindle to learn more about complementary approaches to treating pain.

Chronic Pain Management –Non-drug therapies and Fibroguide (video)

  • Access this video to learn more about treating pain without the use of medication.

Noninvasive Nonpharmacological Treatment for Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review

  • This systematic review provides information on which noninvasive non-pharmacologic treatments for selected chronic pain conditions are associated with persistent improvement in function and pain outcomes at least 1 month after completion of treatment.

Summary of Non-Pharmacological Treatments


Non-Pharmacological Treatments for Pain: Provider Table

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

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