Chronic pain is on the rise and with it comes the growth of alternative and complementary medicine.
Prescription opiates are passed out like candy by well-meaning physicians, but it is highly addictive and mood altering.
When I worked at a substance abuse treatment facility a few year ago, I’d estimate that 40% of my intakes were addicted to opiates for pain.
While I learned from multiple family members that opioids like heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl can destroy a person’s life, these patients had to learn it the hard way.
They lost their jobs, their spouses, their children, their homes, and some nearly lost their life all because of a pill.
So when I developed chronic hip and neck pain from too many hours slumped over a screen, I began researching alternative treatments for pain relief. I knew that prescription drugs just were not an option for me.
A little over one-third of the western world experience joint and muscle pain from sports overexertion, arthritis, and long hours sitting at desk jobs. And like me, they are slowly embracing holistic approaches to treatment.
Natural multidisciplinary approaches to treatment including yoga, chiropractic care, acupuncture, massages, therapy, and natural analgesic ointments have done wonders for my sleep, mood, and focus. And unlike going to a sterile doctor’s office, the natural treatment centers are filled with calming and stimulating aromas and decor.
Mental Health Treatment
While conventional medicine targets the area of discomfort, holistic medicine teaches us to address the whole body–the mind, body, and spirit.
Complementary medicine recognizes the patient’s internal in the role in their healing process.
Dr. Lisa Rankin tells us in her bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, that we can speed the healing process with the mind. This “placebo effect” can be chalked up to our outlook on the world.
That’s why mental health therapists now include chronic pain in their list of issues they address. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that incorporate education into the process. It can teach you how to alter your perception about it including coping skills, redirecting negative thoughts, mindfulness techniques like meditative deep breathing, etc.
In short, the patient learns how to live with the pain as a “guest” in his or her home.
Alignment issues due to poor posture are well-known pain culprits. Thus even doctors are recommending yoga for pain treatment. Research published by the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that yoga is effective for mild to moderate pain.
In fact, my Tuina therapist (Chinese manipulation therapy) tells me that his treatments will last longer if I combine it with yoga. And my chiropractor says the same thing.
The body is pliable and needs maintenance or it will go back right back to where it was. The muscles, joints, and bones all work together to keep the body strong.
So if any part of it is in pain, it’s important to treat the whole system with a variety of complementary alignment techniques.
Just because you may wish to avoid prescription drugs, does not mean that medicine is bad. I still find relief in herbal internal and external pain relievers from time to time. While stretching is often enough, there are days when I need something extra.
Multiple herbs like willow bark, cannabidiol (CBD), turmeric, and feverfew can help reduce pain. These ingredients can be taken internally.
I’ve been known to make them myself, but you may wish to find new Over the Counter products such as CBDMEDIC creams that combines an advanced science and organic natural ingredients such as arnica, cooling herbs like camphor, peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus or heating herbs like capsaicin (an ingredient found in hot peppers) for helping soothe your pain.
Now you might turn on the breaks at the mention of CBD, an ingredient derived from the marijuana plant, when I was just speaking about addiction. But it will not make you high. The CBD is separated from the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for medical purposes.
Incidentally, President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) on December 20, making the growth of non-psychoactive hemp federally legal.
Meanwhile, I have witnessed a growth in the past decade complementary medicine. Conventional clinicians frequently team up with natural healthcare providers, thus you can expect to see big changes in the types of internal and external medicine you might be recommended to treat your pain.
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New research suggests that holistic treatments can augment or serve in place of conventional treatments. As alternative treatments become accepted by conventional medicine, it likely becomes a mainstay in treatment.
As with any treatment, talk to your doctor and naturopath to find the best natural approach that works for you and your unique health concerns.
Once you take control over your mild to moderate pain naturally, you’ll be surprised at how your quality of life can improve.