5 natural alternatives to painkillers

When you experience chronic pain, you may try just about any remedy that will lessen the debilitating physical pain. Multiple trips to the health store will fill your cupboards with bottles of supplements thinking that you will avoid more trips to your pain management doctor. 

Did you know that more than 1 in 10 adults suffer from some form of  chronic pain. To get through the day, many resort to taking painkillers – some of which are powerful drugs that interfere with the nerve signals responsible for perceiving pain. Surprisingly, in 2015, more adults used prescription painkillers than tobacco, cigars and cigarettes combined.

Painkillers powerful strength

Painkillers vary in strength for different levels of pain. For example the prescription fentanyl – an opioid – is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. In addition, drug morphine is up to 360 times more powerful than aspirin (acetaminophen ).

Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 U.S. deaths in 2016, more than any previous year on record. An estimated 40% of opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid. In most recent years, opioid addiction has resulted in a deadly drug epidemic in both Canada and the U.S. Currently, Canada ranks as the world’s second largest consumer of prescription opioids.

Drug overdose deaths in the United States rose 4.6% in 2019 to 70,980, including 50,042 involving opioids, according to preliminary data released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released preliminary data last week that suggests U.S. drug overdose deaths have fallen for the first time in 20 years. There were an estimated 68,557 deaths from overdoses in the U.S. in 2018 copared to a preliminary figure of 72,224 in 2017. The 5.6% decline marks the first drop in overdose deaths since 1999.

5 pain management options

Many pain sufferers use painkillers shows an urgent need for effective and safe alternatives for managing chronic pain. Fortunately, several natural alternatives exist and may help control daily pain. Below are some pain management options that can be incorporated into your lifestyle:

  1. Acupuncture. Acupuncture is an integrative health modality that applies Traditional Chinese Medicine. Licensed practitioners insert very thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific points on the body. Acupuncture has been found to be effective in reducing chronic pain for many health conditions.
  2. Change your diet. It may sound questionable, but what you eat has a significant influence on your pain levels. Inflammatory foods high in arachidonic acid such as red meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal fats should be on your radar. – These foods release of a variety of  substances in the body that produce pain or inflammation – Try to eat foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids into your diet, like avocados, nuts and seeds, chia, and green leafy vegetables, all of which have been found to help lower inflammation.
  3. Exercises. Studies have found that people who exercise daily are able to better manage their pain than those who don’t. And, keeping the weight off by regularly exercising can relieve pressure on the joints.
  4. Get symptomatic relief. The root of Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) contains powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and has traditionally been used for joint and muscle pain of all types.
  5. De-stress. Chronic stress leads to inflammation in the body, which can contribute to pain, and vice versa. Relaxation exercises such as meditation, tai-chi, and breathing exercises may help reduce stress and pain.

If you suffer from chronic pain or find yourself taking painkillers, it is important to work with your primary healthcare provider to find a treatment plan that works best for your pain.

References

https://nccih.nih.gov/news/press/08112015
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/fentany
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR2-2015/NSDUH-FFR2-2015.htm
https://www.nhms.org/sites/default/files/Pdfs/Opioid-Comparison-Chart-Prescriber-Letter-2012.pdf
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22965186
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16805330
http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/exercise-relief#1