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Pain Management

March 21, 2016

For many people, pain is a fact of daily life. Unfortunately, injections and prescription drugs containing opioids are often the only solution offered. This reliance on these kinds of medication could be responsible for the abuse problem in the United States. According to federal statistics, more than 2 million Americans are addicted to painkillers. Deaths caused by the overdose of prescription drugs exceeded motor vehicle deaths in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are responsible for more deaths than illegal street drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and amphetamines. Painkillers can be a valuable tool, but they are not meant to be a long term fix. Treating the root cause of the pain is necessary as is using additional methods to control pain. These methods include Prolotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic services, and vitamin and mineral supplements.

 

Prolotherapy is a treatment consisting of injections that can contain glucose, adult stem cells, and/or platelet rich plasma. People who suffer from many kinds of chronic pain like arthritis, tennis elbow, or lower back pain have found prolotherapy helpful when rest and medication have failed. Prolotherapy, unfortunately, is not usually covered by insurance but according to an article in The Wall Street Journal, it is gaining more and more adherents including physicians at the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School. Prolotherapy creates a temporary inflammation at the site that encourages the tissue to heal and strengthen thus relieving pain. There is some short term soreness, but according to a study at The Ohio State University, prolotherapy has very few side effects unlike cortisone injections.

 

Originally used for centuries in China, acupuncture is another method for treating pain that has been gaining in popularity in Western nations.  The acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles into the patient’s skin at specific points on the body. The procedure should be conducted by an experienced and certified practitioner and it is pain-free. It is believed that acupuncture eases pain by affecting hormone levels, neurotransmitters, or the immune system. In an article published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, the results of 29 studies involving almost 18,000 participants, acupuncture was found to lessen or relieve pain by 50%.

 

Chiropractic care has become quite common in the United States as a treatment for pain management (especially back pain) and is even covered by many insurance plans. According to WebMD, about 22 million Americans visit a chiropractor every year. Chiropractic care is based upon the belief that the structure of the body and especially the spine affects your overall health. When the body is aligned properly, it relieves pain, improves function, and promotes healing. Most chiropractic care begins with manipulation of the spine, but it often includes additional treatments such as physical therapy, stretching, nutritional counseling, and even ultrasound and laser therapies. As with all pain management techniques, it is important to find a knowledgeable and certified practitioner. Identifying the source of the pain is very important in treating it, so make sure that your chiropractor is well educated in this area.

 

What many people don’t realize is that vitamin deficiencies can also cause chronic pain, including joint pain, headaches, and muscle spasms. Vitamin deficiencies also make it harder to control pain. A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that patients with low levels of vitamin D required twice the narcotics to control their pain when compared to patients with adequate levels. If it is found that you are low in various vitamins and minerals (a simple lab test can determine this), then using vitamin and mineral therapy may help in controlling and reducing your pain. There are a variety of methods to administer the needed vitamins, including high dose vitamins, injections, and even intravenously.  As with any kind of pain management, the treatments should be administered by knowledgeable and certified practitioners. Also, the treatment should be customized for your particular deficiency.

 

So, when traditional pain management is not effective, consider alternate methods. Every day, more and more safe methods of handling chronic pain are available. There are even reputable clinics where you can find many of these methods all in one place. Why live with chronic pain when there may be a treatment that could work for you?

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