Chronic pain medication management guidelines: You only need to ask any patient suffering from chronic pain to understand how debilitating it is!! The conventional approaches to treating pain have been much worse than the problem itself. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, which are commonly prescribed for pain management, have gastrointestinal side effects. Several patients also develop tolerance over time, and they need increasing doses for pain relief. Over-the-counter pain medicines such as ibuprofen and aspirin also come with their own set of side effects. Aspirin has many side effects, including causing gastric ulcers and intracranial bleeding. Studies have linked Ibuprofen use to anaemia, hypertension, and miscarriage in pregnant women. While painkillers have their place in pain management, they are not the first choice in naturopaths' armamentarium. Dietary supplementation and complementary treatments like yoga and acupuncture have long been used effectively to lower the intensity of pain and inflammation.
Dr Babina NM, Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute shares various natural remedies for chronic pain.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Adding the right quantities of omega-3 flaxseed to a diet can help patients suffering from pain lower their dependence on pain medications. Studies have found that omega-essential fatty acids and ibuprofen have a similar effect in reducing arthritic pain severity. Omega-3s act on the same biochemical pathways as pain medication, and are a much safer alternative.
- Curcumin: It is the principal curcuminoid in turmeric and has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. It acts through multiple pathways to limit the inflammation caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It slows down the cell death in joint tissue and helps preserve supple and youthful joints. It also serves as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent in cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, metabolic, pulmonary, neoplastic, and autoimmune diseases.
- Capsaicin: Capsaicin is the chemical that makes chilli peppers spicy. It has long been used as natural medicine. Research has shown that it decreases substance P, a compound involved in transmitting pain signals. It has been proved to be effective in treating diabetic neuropathy and postsurgical pain. Intranasal capsaicin is also known to decrease the intensity of both cluster and migraine headaches.
- Herbs, botanicals, and spices: Several herbs, botanicals and spices have a long history of being used as a natural medicine for their medicinal properties. Ginseng extract helps reduce pain as well as tender points in the body. It also helps decrease fatigue and improve the quality of sleep. Kava is effective in relieving tension headaches, St. John's Wort is useful in treating arthritic, sciatic and neuropathic pain, and Valerian root helps treat muscle cramps and spasms.
Pain intervenes with all aspects of daily life; it can drain out one's energy, interfere with the quality of sleep, increase the risk of social isolation, anxiety and depression. Hence, there is a need to consider everything that can help relieve pain and keep it under control. Any treatment with natural medicine and therapy with yoga or acupuncture can help bring down the dependence on allopathic medication with its associated side effects.
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