Managing Pain The Right Way

Young man suffering from neck pain. Headache pain.Experiencing pain is unpleasant, and it can affect your quality of life. It is a complex experience with various causes, such as inflammation, leading to chronic aches and sore joints. Millions of Americans experience chronic pain daily, affecting approximately 100 million people. More people seek medical care for pain than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.

Pain can make the simplest daily tasks become a chore. Any physical activity can be excruciating to do. The cost of healthcare bills poured into treating pain tallies between $261-300 billion annually. This translates into poorer work performance, productivity, and lost wages. It is a debilitating problem that has quantifiable fiscal costs, affecting everyone.

How Pain Is Treated

What is usually the solution for pain? Is it NSAIDS or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen or naproxen? No! These drugs do more harm than good. NSAIDs are sold over the counter under well-known brand names such as Advil, Motrin, and Aleve. There are also prescription-strength anti-inflammatories such as Rufen, Indocid, Celebrex, and Anaprox.

Spilled bottle of pills

NSAIDs are administered to control acute inflammation and relieve pain. They achieve this by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, the chemical that activates the inflammatory response. However, this affects your ability to heal and recover. Above this are other concerning side effects such as indigestion, fluid retention, and heartburn.

NSAIDs may control inflammation and decrease pain, but by inhibiting prostaglandin production, the muscles go into a non-regenerative phase. In addition to that, many reports have shown stomach, liver, and kidney damage. NSAIDs can damage the stomach’s mucosal lining, predisposing it to acute gastritis and ulceration.

Managing Pain With Traditional Medicine

Pulse diagnostic with hand on a tibetan medicine, close-up

In another blog titled “Understanding Warm Diseases and the Four Levels of Traditional Chinese Medicine” you will find how disease travels from the exterior to interior. Typically pain presents itself on the Qi level and thus responds to acupuncture efficiently. If pain is left untreated for too long, it can develop further into Blood Stasis. This will require herbal medicines to treat.

Pain is defined as Qi stagnation or blockage by Eastern terminology. An ancient Chinese proverb states, “There’s all but one disease, and that’s stagnation.” Energy needs to move, and when it’s stuck, disease can occur. When Qi gets blocked in a pathway, it’s like traffic building up on a highway and it only worsens over time.

Doctor uses needles for treatment of the patientAcupuncture is known for its ability to move stagnant energy. Sometimes it only takes one needle to do the job. There are different techniques used to treat pain syndromes in clinical practice. TCM practitioners may use Scalp/ Auricular acupuncture to relieve pain and trigger the nervous system’s benefits. A more traditional approach would use techniques like Cupping, Gua Sha, and Tui-Na manipulation to move Qi and Blood. Either way, they are harmless, and the results are often successful.

You may be wondering how and why we have suffered through an opioid epidemic with natural solutions like acupuncture in existence for over 2000 years. Controversial issues on drugs and the hidden agendas of pharmaceutical companies come to mind. Some controversies include doctors being coerced into prescribing painkillers. Moreover, it is much easier for the average American to swallow a pill than go to an acupuncture wellness clinic.

You will find documentaries such as “The Crime of the Century” and “Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic” bringing up these issues and raising awareness. Regardless of these efforts, pain management clinics continue to offer drugs, injections, and surgeries as treatment.

Risk management is always essential in any disease. The side effects and complications associated with drugs, injections, and surgeries certainly outweigh that of acupuncture or other natural techniques. There are instances where it may be required, but usually, pain symptoms improve with acupuncture. It should be the first line of treatment.

If you’ve been struggling with pain and would like to consider a natural approach, please give us a call.

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