What Are Your Pain Relief Alternatives to Dangerous Drugs?
I recently read an article about the ‘seeds of addiction’. It’s about the current opioid and heroin addiction epidemic being started because of people being in pain. The ‘pain’ referred to was cancer pain – which can be devastating. But the major drug being used to fight it was OxyContin. A very strong, very addictive painkiller, which doctors started prescribing for every minor pain and discomfort under the sun. But there are alternatives to taking these dangerous pills.
I have to mention that the popularity of the drug – and using it for pain other than that suffered by cancer patients – was probably largely due to Purdue intentionally misleading doctors and the public about how addictive the drug was. So, of course, doctors would feel free to use it to provide pain relief.
When it was found out that Purdue lied – while people were getting addicted, overdosing and dying all over the place – many, many doctors stopped prescribing OxyContin so readily. But it was too late really – there was no stopping the crisis.
However, as I see it, the real problem is not the drugs and not the doctors. The real problem is lack of recognition of non-drug therapies. Non-drug therapies and natural medicine have been squeezed out of the medical profession by pharmaceutical companies for many decades. Of course, they would rather be making money on their drugs.
Part of the fall out of trying to get rid of natural medicine is that very little is now covered by insurance companies.
For example, if you’re on Medicare right now and you want to try Acupuncture for pain (which works very well!) – forget it. You will get no coverage at all. Although some private insurance plans might cover a few visits. If you want to try a Chiropractor, you might get six treatments or so. But for many cases, six treatments are not enough. Again, some insurance companies may cover Chiropractic, and some even cover a huge number of visits. Check with your insurance company, and if Chiropractic is not covered, consider changing your insurance.
Sometimes there’s a similar problem with physical therapy. Even though it’s largely covered – sometimes only with a recommendation from an M.D – it’s hard to get enough visits. A friend of mine needed physical therapy after surgery but was allowed a very limited number of visits – even though his doctor and the therapist said he needed more. He got permission for six treatments (he needed more like 36), and then instead of being able to continue, his insurance company would make him wait for weeks before they’d approve more.
And every time he had to wait it would set him several steps backwards and he more or less had to start over.
But, a lot of insurance plans cover it. So check with yours and find out the details.
By the way – this can be kind of confusing so if you can find an insurance agent that is not tied to one or just a few companies, get him to help you figure out which companies and plans cover which treatments.
The American Pain Foundation also recommends certain herbs for pain:
• Ginseng for fibromyalgia
• Kava Kava for tension headaches and neuropathic pain
• St. John’s Wort for sciatica, arthritis, and neuropathic pain
• Valerian root for spasms and muscle cramps
And the Natural Society also has a list of 16 natural painkillers . Here is their list, along with some of the notes they’ve made about each substance:
- Ginger, Turmeric, & Holy Basil – All have anti-inflammatory properties that help the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and similar conditions.
- Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) – Can reduce pain from arthritis, headaches, and low back discomfort. The University of Maryland Medical Center has published several studies that had great success treating Osteoarthritis with Devil’s Claw.
- Birch Leaf (Betula Lenta) – Similar to cortisone, used to treat endocrine disorders, arthritis, lupus, skin disease, autoimmune disorders, and more. A main chemical compound found in Birch leaves is methyl salicylate, similar to salicylic acid used in aspirin. It is anti-spasmodic, analgesic, astringent, antifungal, diuretic, detoxifying, reduces oxidative damage to skin (stopping wrinkles), and enhances circulation. It also promotes enzymatic secretions in the body. It is truly one of the first powerful pain-relievers ever used.
- Wintergreen Essential Oil – Also among natural pain relievers, Wintergreen Essential Oil contains 85-99% of methyl salicylate, the same component of aspirin.
- White Willow Bark (Salix alba) – The active ingredient in white willow is salicin, which the body converts into salicylic acid – which is used to make aspirin. Get relief from menstrual cramps, muscle pains, arthritis, or after knee or hip surgery.
- Capsaicin (Capsicum) – Found in hot chile peppers, capsaicin desensitizes nerve receptors called C-fibers which cause the pain response. Capsaicin also diminishes soreness for 3 to 5 weeks while the C-fibers regain sensation. A single 60-min application in patients with neuropathic pain produced effective pain relief for up to 12 weeks. Patients at the New England Center for Headache decreased their migraine and cluster headache intensity by applying capsaicin cream to their nasal passages.
- Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) – GLA can be found in numerous seed oils. According to University of Maryland, people who consume these essential fatty acids are able to reduce nerve pain associated with diabetic conditions.
- Cherries – Contain anthocyanins. Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, says, “They block inflammation and they inhibit pain enzymes, just like aspirin, naproxen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories.”
- Aquamin – Derived from red seaweed. In a study published in Nutrition Journal, of 70 volunteers, Aquamin users reduced arthritis pain by 20% in a month and had less stiffness than patients taking a placebo.
- Arnica – An excellent herbal rub to use after intense sports, an acute injury, or even post surgery, arnica is a well-known natural pain killer among athletes and yogis.
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – Peppermint is most often used as a natural remedy for toothaches, discomfort from bloating and gas, joint conditions, skin irritations, headaches and muscle pain.
- Boswellia – From the frankincense tree, Boswellia has been used for centuries to treat arthritic conditions, as well as inflammatory bowel disease.
- Bromelain – Reduces levels of prostaglandins – hormones that induce inflammation. Bromelain may benefit people with arthritis and conditions marked by musculoskeletal tension (like TMJ syndrome), in addition to those suffering trauma-related inflammation. The enzyme also promotes healing in muscles and connective tissues.
- Cranberry Juice – Having a bout of ulceritis? Ulcers usually result from a pathogen called H. pylori which attacks the lining of the stomach and small intestines, but cranberry juice can kill it – reducing pain.
If you are in pain and would like to help it without drugs, try these natural therapies. You might have a little trouble getting your insurance company to cover chiropractic or physical therapy, but there’s also a good chance they will. Contact them and find out, and ask your doctor to help you. Sometimes if a doctor prescribes something, it will be covered.
The natural-remedy herbs probably won’t be covered at all – but they’re also not expensive!
If you’re already on prescription painkillers and having trouble getting off them, call us at 855-889-0555. We can advise you on a facility that will help you get off the drugs so you can take a more natural, and not dangerous, approach.