Are you in pain? Have you been suffering for years without adequate relief? Then maybe you can relate with Linda, who had been in and out of pain center clinics for her chronic low back pain.
Every day for the past six years, she wakes up with stiffness and muscle spasm and could barely lift even a grocery bag. She used to mow her lawn, but the pain had restricted most of her daily activities.
Sometimes when the pain was so bad, lying down on the bed makes the pain worse. Her mind is fogged from taking opioid medications, and nausea and constipation served to increase her suffering.
Her desire to socialize with her friends had dipped to an all-time low. She wished the doctor could do something more, other than refilling her prescription and referring her to physical therapy.
I was like Linda. I had suffered from chronic pain and from the hands of many traditional health care providers. I could not accept there were no other options or treatment plans to relieve my pain. So, I did my research. Surely, there must be an alternative way.
Fortunately, I found better ways to deal with chronic pain. I have spent the last years helping others manage their chronic pain using the integrative approach, so they don’t suffer like Linda, and I did.
I know the likes of us are not rare birds out there. Many suffer from some form of chronic condition, especially chronic pain.
Chronic Conditions on the Rise
According to a recent report, as of 2014, 60 percent of American adults had at least one chronic condition, and 42 percent had more than one chronic disease, which occurs more on adult women.
These chronic conditions account for a big pie of health care spending in the country. Chronic pain alone is a growing problem with more people taking opioids to relieve their pain. It came to the point that it had become a serious national healthcare concern.
CDC revealed that about 50 million US adults had chronic pain based on the 2016 National Health Interview Survey. Can you imagine how many pain prescriptions doctors write every day?
If you’re suffering from pain on most days or every day for the last 3-6 months, then you have chronic pain. That’s according to the International Association for the Study of Pain.
And if that pain has limited your life and work activities, then that is a high-impact chronic pain. In 2016, 19.6 million Americans suffered from this type of pain.
In a separate survey, the most common chronic pain identified were:
- Back pain (10.1%)
- Pain in the legs/feet (7.1%)
- Pain in the arms/hands (4.1%)
- Headache (3.5%)
These may be due to neuropathic pain, joint pain, migraine, or muscular inflammatory conditions. Some are autoimmune and can be quite complicated to address.
Traditional medicine would address these pains with your usual pain relievers like Dilaudid, Tylenol, Aleve, and the like. But without looking at the root cause, these become temporary patches that only makes the condition permanent.
Assessing Chronic Pain
When I assess chronic pain, I do it holistically because of its complex nature. There’s the physical pain, and then there’s the effect of the pain on the psychological and social aspect of the person.
The longer the pain is left unaddressed, the more problems it breeds, like anxiety and depression and limited mobility and function. I use screening tools and many tests to trace the root cause of your pain and other health problems that arose because of the pain.
In dealing with common chronic pains like fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and low back pain, most family practitioners would prescribe medications depending on the type of pain and may manage chronic pain sufferers using cognitive behavior therapy, and movement and exercise therapies.
Getting to the Root Cause
Just because I embrace non-traditional approaches to pain doesn’t mean I don’t use conventional means.
I perform joint injections and trigger point injections using a combination of steroids and anesthetic for some types of pain to provide quick relief.
But tracing the root causes is essential for long-term benefits.
What other practitioners miss is the role of natural pain supplements. Using the specific health index and wellness goals as the basis, we recommend the right type of supplements that will help relieve inflammation and address any nutritional deficiencies that you may have.
There are now many non-drug or complex interventions out there. In a recent study, the following approaches were found to be increasingly becoming popular:
- Psychological Approaches like:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
Some of these self-management programs are available online like MoodJuice and The Pain Toolkit. You can access it anytime, anywhere.
Aside from doing physical activity and traditional exercises, you can use motivational interventions to help with your musculoskeletal pain.
Peripheral Nervous System Stimulation
Using Trans-cutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS), you can get some relief from your pain. You can also control how strong, frequent, and long the treatment will be.
Those patients who used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to manage their pain tend to be more satisfied than those who didn’t. Some common methods, which most patients use along with conventional approaches are:
- Comprehensive Pain Management Programs
Comprehensive Pain Management
For me, a comprehensive pain management program is not just interdisciplinary but also integrated and holistic. It focuses on the patient as a human being and not just the pain as a symptom to manage.
The treatment plan is designed to meet the personal needs of the patient but backed by evidence-based medicine.
What can work for one patient may not be a good regimen for you, and what may not be effective for others may work for you.
Taking a Look at Gut Health
Some patients find relief using natural remedies for chronic pain. Others realize their chronic condition is a manifestation of poor gut health.
The many evidence pointing to food as a contributing factor to various inflammation and chronic pain conditions had shifted research to this arena.
We now look at anti-inflammatory diets as additional ways of managing pain caused by inflammatory conditions. It is exciting to know that something so simple and natural as eating the right amount of colorful, non-starchy vegetables can have an impact on reducing silent inflammation.
Imagine how largely untapped this gene silencing technology is, and it’s right within our grasp.
We Can Help
So if you think you have come to the end of the road in dealing with your chronic pain, rest assured there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
We offer a FREE initial consult for your pain condition. We can help.