Written By Sheryl Wright / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
It’s estimated that chronic pain impacts more than 50 million people in the United States and costs government agencies upwards of $635 billion per year. Yet, while there are holistic, non-debilitating approaches to management, the problem goes untreated. This is likely due to several factors that will be discussed along with treatment options in the article below.
Cultural Issues with Pain Management
It’s clear that the United States has a problem with pain management. The statistics gathered by government agencies attest to this. However, the problem doesn’t have a single root. Rather, there are multiple culprits, as outlined in a published article by Hans-Georg Kress et al.
The authors assert that by making pain management and medication a core subject in the undergraduate education of future physicians, continuing education of existing physicians, a focus on physiotherapy and psychotherapy, and educating the public would help to alleviate America’s addiction on addictive pain medication for chronic pain management.
Chronic Pain is Different
The largest issue with treating chronic pain, when it is addressed by physicians at all, is that they bring a trauma medicine mindset to a situation for which those tenets don’t apply. Treating situational or temporary injury and surgery pain is quite different from treating a situation in which pain does not lessen or disappear after a set period of time.
As you no doubt know, bearing chronic pain has a degenerative effect on neural pathways in the peripheral nervous system and can even impact your psychological state. General practitioners and even those with specialized knowledge are ill-equipped to help patients manage the issues associated with chronic pain.
A holistic approach, which incorporates psychological sessions, appointments with physical therapists, natural alternatives to pain management that are not addictive and pose less danger of harm, and palliative treatments such as musical therapy would be ideal.
However, the issue is in the perception, both that of physicians and of patients, which has been built upon by drug companies over the decades. There is a decided lack of trust in psychological therapies, palliative treatments, and naturally-sourced, non-addictive pain treatments, such as arnica or echinacea.
However, those of you who are quite aware of the dangers of strong, addictive pain medicines often prescribed may be far more receptive. The problem then exists with the lack of resources, the lack of support such remedies receive through the insurance hierarchies, and physician’s lack of understanding and knowledge about these types of treatment.
Because chronic pain is not considered a disease in the proper, Western sense, Kress et al. assert that it has a low priority in treatment settings and is often both underfunded and underutilized by physicians.
Science-Based Natural Medicine
Along with non-medicinal pain management strategies, such as physiotherapy and psychological consultations, you should know that there are a number of substances that act as strong, natural pain killers without the physically debilitating side effects of the usual medicines prescribed by doctors.
If you have reservations, it’s important to understand that not all “natural remedies” are equally backed by scientific research. Nor are they created under the eye of the FDA, which does have strict requirements for herbal and plant-based remedies and the claims they make.
However, some manufacturers do enforce their own strict standards, and pair them with explanatory literature, so that you can be reassured about both the approach and the purity of the product.
Often, the difference between plant-based and laboratory-created medicines is a thin one. For example, Valium is produced by extracting active properties from Valerian root. Poppies are the source of both morphine and heroin, and these substances form the basis of many modern pain killers.
The difference between the two follows thusly. Laboratory drugs extract single principals from plants, sometimes eventually manufacturing them artificially, once the properties are known.
However, when you apply scientific measurement principles and laboratory standards to plants using a subtly different ethos, you are capable of reproducing the research-validated impacts of herbal remedies. Coneflowers aren’t just good for keeping colds at bay, they also have incredible numbing properties, which can be utilized in a topical treatment.
Arnica offers a similar relief. The usable pharmacopeia is far more extensive than Western medicine, with its disdain for indigenous medicines and its insistence that only one perspective (theirs) is valid.
If you suffer from chronic pain but have not had success with management paradigms prescribed by your doctor, all is not lost. There are several options available, which you can suggest to your doctor on your next visit and discuss—namely, physiotherapy and timely psychological treatment.
Natural remedies are about as expensive as nutritional supplements, and likely will not require the intervention of insurance for most people. Plus, they are safe, as long as the contraindications and medication interactions are carefully observed.
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Sheryl Wright is a freelance writer who specializes in digital marketing, inclusive business, and interior design. If she is not at home reading, she is at a farmers market or climbing in the Rockies. She currently lives in Nashville, TN, with her cat, Saturn.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.