Natural solutions for chronic pain
By Jeremy Brown, Naturopath
Modern medicine is exceptional in treating acute severe pain, for example, when I was in a serious workplace accident, I was very grateful to be treated with strong painkillers. When used in post-operative care, opiates such as codeine are particularly effective in suppressing pain as necessary. This Blog will update on you on the role that natural remedies have alongside standard treatment in pain management, or in some cases; in place of.
Many clients present with low-grade, chronic, and degenerative pain. Typically, other conditions are present and include diabetes, migraines, and autoimmune disorders. Mental illness can also may a role, as inflammation is a key driver in conditions such as depression.
While the pain itself is not severe, the quality of life is greatly reduced. Often clients reflect on the reduced quality of life.
Most patients respond well to painkillers such as Panadol Osteo or Celebrex, however, there are a growing number of cases that require additional support. For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Voltaren may be recommended for clients with asthma and in long-term use may create stomach ulcers. Unfortunately, many are simply ‘putting up and shutting up’ and falsely assuming that there is nothing else that can be done.
This is where natural medicines can be used to their full potential
When the best treatment plan is prescribed, various body systems are targeted. For example, Curcuma longa (turmeric) is well suited for metabolic syndrome as it supports liver health, and blood sugar regulation while targeting pain. Herbal medicines can e ploy a ‘shotgun approach which supports multiple body systems.
Put simply: a body that functions better feels better.
Curcuma longa (Turmeric)
In recent years, turmeric has come to light both in medical circles and the general public with a traditional use dating back thousands of years. There are two things to consider when sourcing Turmeric. Firstly, the pre-formulated capsules are best when using a proprietary extract, meaning a standardised product, proven in clinical trials. This is best suited to over-the-counter use. After consultation with a Naturopathy, Turmeric works well when compounded with other liquid herbs, based on the individual client’s needs
Make sure you source the most effective type of Turmeric and consult with a professional.
Omega 3’s, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, with convincing evidence of its effectiveness. Unfortunately, many customers are either not taking the therapeutic dose, or worse; taking rancid fish oil, meaning it’s not fresh. In practice, after advising on the correct form and therapeutic dose, and time frames, clients report a marked reduction in pain “not seen in years”.
The catch? Once the dose is right; it takes at least 8 weeks before one can see an outcome.
Piscidia erythrina (Jamaican Dogwood)
This particular herb is used in nerve pain. This type of pain radiates, often with a stabbing ‘pulsing’ like sensation. In conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Jamaican Dogwood is very effective in relaxing both the muscles and treating any associated anxiety. When co-prescribed with Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil’s Claw) reduction’s in pain may be seen in less than 7 days.
Certain herbs, such as Jamaican Dogwood treat nerve pain specifically
I have no doubt that clients will continue to present with chronic pain. Because of this, I will continue to offer compounded pain creams; tailored to the type of pain you are experiencing. Natural Medicines continue to be used safely alongside standard treatment display’s use in reducing pain, in addition to enhancing health, and as always please see your doctor and/or pharmacists for advice.
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By Jeremy Brown, Naturopath