Are we hooked on pills?

Americans are taking more prescription pills than ever before, and more than people in any other country. While some drugs are lifesavers, others might be doing more harm than good. Consumer Reports has suggestions on ways you can take fewer meds and feel better.

Doctors often diagnose the “pre-disease” stage of a condition. For example, pre-diabetes or the medication may not work well and poses potential side effects and risks to patients. Of course, catching or treating a disease before it progresses can be a good thing if it helps you address a problem before it leads to serious harm.

But drugs shouldn't always be the first line of treatment. Consumer Reports has compiled a list of 12 medical issues where lifestyle changes can be “prescribed” before a medication.

For back and joint pain, instead of powerful opioid drugs, consider instead, yoga, tai chi, even physical therapy. Of course big lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, being more active, or losing weight are harder than just swallowing a pill, but the payoffs can mean healthy, drug-free and side effect-free living.