By Barbara Radin Fox for The Island Connection
March has come in as a lion, as the old saying goes, and will hopefully leave as a lamb. One could also hopefully say that about pain and its treatment.
The number of people who are suffering with pain seems to have mushroomed over the past several years. This may be because we have more and more people who are 60 or older than ever before. Or it could be more people are being “saved” by medications and surgeries who would have died as the result of their illnesses or injuries in the past, but these medications and surgeries aren’t able to alleviate the pain associated with their conditions.
Pain happens for many reasons.
Numerous people suffer from orthopedic pain of all types due to problems with their bones and joints. Others have some type of nerve related pain, including fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal pain, pain caused by infections and other diseases such as arthritis and cancer and so many more.
In recent years, physicians have given their patients opiates as the quick and effective solution for pain, but as we are unfortunately finding, the use of opiates is causing it’s own problems, including death from overdoses or mixing with other drugs. Some doctors believe that it is the fault of the patient if they use too much of the medication, but they do not seem to understand how and why addictions get started. Actually, historically, doctors and nurses have had their own addiction problems starting with morphine and they supposedly “knew better.”
The good news, though, is that as a result of the very recent push to not prescribe so many opiates, other ways to treat pain have appeared. In some cases we can go back to the basics, such as using moist heat or ice for some orthopedic pain, or get moving more with exercise, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy.
New “old” treatment using acupuncture, which has been in use for 3000 years in Asia is a very effective pain treatment, even though our “Western Medicine” point of view doesn’t seem to see the benefits of it and insurance doesn’t usually pay for it. Acupuncture can be used for a wide variety of conditions from orthopedic or nerve pain to anxiety or the problems associated with chemotherapy and radiation.
There is also a way to decrease or eliminate pain by using a system that utilizes LED lights. Another relatively new way to reduce or eliminate pain and anxiety is the use of hemp oil, also called CBD Oil and of course some states have legalized marijuana for medical use. Hemp oil products are legal throughout the U.S. because they don’t contain THC, which causes the “high” in marijuana use and is considered by some studies to cause neurological problems with long-term use. (Some hemp oil products contain trace amounts of THC, but are legal because it doesn’t cause a “high”).
There are also some medical and surgical procedures that are gaining pain-relieving results such as dorsal stimulators and injections, which I will write about in a future column.
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