Treating Pain Without Drugs
- Americans consume 99% of the hydrocodone sold worldwide and 81% of all oxycodone — approximately 30X more than medically necessary for the population size of the US
- Between Y 2002 and 2015, opioids killed an estimated 202,600 Americans
- Overdose cases increased by more than 30% across the US between July 2016 and September 2017. In the Midwest region, overdose cases rose by 70% and overdose mortality by 14%
- Preliminary data for Y 2016 reveals the death toll from drug overdoses may be as high as 65,000, exceeding both the AIDS epidemic at its peak and the death toll of the Vietnam War in its entirety
- The opioid epidemic has resulted in lowered life expectancy for both men and women in the US for the 2nd year running
“Treatment with opioids was not superior to treatment with non-opioid medications for improving pain-related function over 12 months. Results do not support initiation of opioid therapy for moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain … Overall, opioids did not demonstrate any advantage over non-opioid medications that could potentially outweigh their greater risk of harms.”
It seems we are not going to get anywhere with this epidemic until/unless we begin to address deeper societal issues. Most areas have lost a sense of community, and social media has only deepened the gulf between us.
The opioid epidemic appears to mirror a deeper, psychological and spiritual disconnect.
It is important to recognize and address our human need for life purpose, a sense of community and shared values. There are no quick fixes to existential despair. It will require a shift in mindset across society as a whole.
With an eye on the big picture, we really need to find ways to re-infuse meaning into our lives.
With regard to physical pain, we clearly need to have compassion. But, the most compassionate treatment is not necessarily a narcotic pain reliever.
A number of studies have confirmed that opioids do not work well at all for chronic pain.
Most recently, they were found to be no more effective than Tylenol and ibuprofen over the long term. Opioids really must be a drug of last resort, and should almost never be considered for chronic long-term use.
It is very important for Doctors and Patients to recognize this.
There are many natural alternatives to treating pain, they include the following:
Medical marijuana has a long history as a natural analgesic and is now legal in 28 states. People can learn more about the laws in each state on medicalmarijuana.procon.org.
Kratom (Mitragyna speciose) is a plant remedy that has become a popular opioid substitute. In August 2016, the DEA issued a notice saying it was planning to ban Kratom, listing it as Schedule 1 controlled substance.
However, following massive outrage from Kratom users who say opioids are their only alternative, the agency reversed its decision.
Its scheduling remains uncertain, as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently declared Kratom an opioid.
So, research it before trying it.
Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist, originally developed in the early 1960’s for the treatment of opioid addiction. When taken at very low doses (LDN, available only by prescription), it triggers endorphin production, which can boost your immune function and ease pain.
|Curcumin: A primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric, curcumin has been shown in more than 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity. Curcumin is hard to absorb, so best results are achieved with preparations designed to improve absorption. It is safe.|
|Astaxanthin: One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known, astaxanthin has very potent anti-inflammatory properties. Higher doses are typically required for pain relief, and you may need 8 milligrams or more per day to achieve results.|
|Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years.|
|Bromelain: This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Keep in mind most of the bromelain is found within the core of the pineapple, so consider eating some of the pulpy core when consuming the fruit.|
|Cayenne cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmit pain signals to the brain.|
|Cetyl myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in dairy butter and fish, acts as a joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory. I have used a topical preparation of CMO to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome.|
|Evening primrose, black currant and borage oils: These oils contain the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, which is useful for treating arthritic pain.|
|Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea, or incorporated into fresh vegetable juice.|
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively