Do you already have an opioid alternative at home?

The idea of a prescription opiate to treat chronic or acute pain may be good for some, but for those folks who aren't keen on them and want to look to something else for help, it might already be in their medicine cabinet.

Many health professionals say there are times when just regular aspirin or ibuprofen might be the best choice for pain. Since they can be purchased easily over the counter, and are great at reducing inflammation and lowering fevers, they are very effective. The main problem with these types of pain relievers, called NSAIDs, is that they also prevent blood from clotting - which can put patients at increased risk for things like stroke or ulcers.

Another option is Acetaminophen, the generic form of Tylenol. A study i the Journal of American Dentistry found that 325 mg of acetominophen taken with 200 mg of ibuprofen gave better pain relief than oral opiates for patients who had teeth removed.

Still other people swore by acupuncture, the Chinese practice of sticking hair-thin needled into the skin at specific points to relieve pain. People who have joint issues or orthopedic pain can find it effective. The downside: health insurance may not cover it.

There may be other options to explore. The most important thing is to talk with your doctor before trying anything - including opiates. Get more information and decide what works best for you.