The numbers for opioid prescriptions continue to grow. In 2017, there were over 191 million handed out. It seems to be most popular for those between the age of 50 and 80. Yet, depending on the type of pain, opioids may not be as effective as other non-addictive medications. More importantly, the side effects alone are enough to give a person pause. So, how do we curb opioid use and addiction moving forward?
I recently read an article in Consumer Reports “Guide to Wellness” magazine, July 2019 issue. It was an in-depth analysis of different types of pain, how opioids may or may not affect that pain, as well as other more healthful options. I’m all about options so I appreciated the research. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised that more often than not, there are more holistic methods that can help reduce certain types of pain.
Let’s look at 3 different types of pain and the optimal solution for each.
Arthritis is rampant. Osteo-arthritis is the most common. This is when the joint cartlidge breaks down and causes, pain, swelling or stiffness. Interestingly, opioids are not any more effective than heat or ice. (Cold helps relieve acute joint pain, while heat eases stiffness.)
Moreover, opioids are generally no more effective than Ibuprofen or Aleve. Of course the generic version of each is just as helpful. However, it is recommended that you consult a doctor before continuing to use Aleve for more than a week.
Additionally, losing that extra 10 to 20 pounds can also reduce inflammation and pain. Tai chi, swimming or yoga may also be beneficial to those suffering from arthritis. Potential side effects? Being more limber, well balanced and healthier overall.
Lower back pain touches 50% of adults over 60. Obviously, it affects many of us before then. Myself included. According to the American College of Physicians, if you throw your back out you may be as well helped by an over the counter medication. Try Advil or Aleve for 1 to 2 weeks. For this particular type of pain, Ibuprofen has proven less beneficial.
What does the American College of Physicians recommend as a supplement? You guessed it … massage, tai chi or yoga. These activities all stretch your muscles and can help facilitate the healing process long term.
When it comes to a general headache, Tylenol or Ibuprofen is as beneficial as an opioid without the potential addiction side effect. If you have headaches more than 2 to 3 times a month, it may help to make some lifestyle changes. Exercise or varying types of activity are huge de-stressers. And stress is a common cause for headaches. Acupuncture, biofeedback and massage have been successful supplements for some frequent headache sufferers as well.
Migraines are a whole different ballgame. These headaches can cause nausea and in some cases temporary blindness. For those experiencing 15 or more a month, it can be completely debilitating. These are referred to as chronic
migraines headaches and typically require intensive intervention.
There has been some success with the NCi process. Nci is Neuro Cranial Integration, a technique that aligns the cranial bones, brain and nervous system, from the top down. It isn’t a routine chiropractic adjustment. Instead, it’s more like a deep stretching process that allows the left and right brain hemispheres to re-balance and reintegrate. Thus, “the functioning of the central nervous system automatically improves.”
This realignment takes tension off of the nervous system and releases cranial, fascial and muscle tissue fixations thus returning proper cerebrospinal fluid throughout the spine and body. “When pressure is taken off the brain, it can do its job more efficiently and allow the body to function at a higher level.” Remember, as we continue to evolve we gain more and more knowledge. This knowledge affords us greater techniques that promote our body’s own healing process.
Natural Supplements for Pain Relief
Ironically (or perhaps not), the same consumer reports had an article on CBD. Whereas it hasn’t been approved for pain relief by the FDA yet, personal testimonies abound. From relieving sleeplessness to anxiety and depression as well as pain relief, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are proclaiming its success.
We at Boomer Natural Wellness will continue to educate you on oils and herbs that can help facilitate your body’s healing process. Whereas it may not be the right formula for everyone, it can certainly help reduce our opioid obsession here in the United States.
Of course you should always consult your physician when deciding on what method of pain relief to use. This article is for information purposes only. We want to keep you in the “know” so that you may choose what is best for you. Happy Wellness!