Feature Archive

Pain Relief Without Pills

Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of taking a pill regularly for pain relief. Here are some alternatives.

By Dulce Zamora
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson

Merck & Co.'s decision to discontinue the pain relief drug Vioxx has left millions of people scrambling for an alternative for pain management. According to the American Pain Foundation, there are more than 50 million Americans suffering from chronic pain, or 25 million experiencing acute pain as a result of injury or surgery. Worldwide, 2 million people were taking Vioxx at the time of the recall.

If you're a pain sufferer, here's some good news: Plenty of options exist to ease aches, and many of them don't come in pill form. After all, Vioxx only entered the market in 1999, and arthritis, menstrual cramps, post-surgery pain, and other aches and pains soothed by the drug have been around and managed for a much longer time period.

Only a few common alternatives are discussed in this article. There are dozens, if not hundreds, more pain relief approaches out there. Many of them may be snake oil in various shapes and sizes, and we know that has been around for ages.