Patient Profile: Weaning Off Pain Meds
by Danae Baker, Medical Assistant
Riordan Clinic staff had the pleasure of meeting a co-learner who had sustained a lot of sport injuries and had been in a car accident. These left him suffering with low back pain, a torn ACL, and a shoulder injury. For the last few years he has been living on narcotics that, unfortunately, don’t take away all the pain. The lasting effect of taking pain medication has caused him to add other drugs to help with the side effects. He had to resign from his job because he wasn’t able to operate heavy machinery. Over time his weight increased, adding more strain on his joints. After attending one of our Lunch and Lectures with a friend, he contacted the Clinic to become a patient.
A year has passed since his first appointment. After working and learning alongside the doctor, a diet plan was put together to help reach optimal weight. He received several sessions of pulsed electromagnetic therapy (PEMT), which helps with the pain that he was having and improves his quality of life. Over time he was weaned off the pain medication, obtained his optimal weight, and returned back to work. Happy body, happy life.
Here are some other natural ways to alleviate pain:
Endorphins are a body’s natural pain reliever. These natural chemicals block pain signals from reaching the brain. Anxiety, stress, and depression are all associated with pain. Endorphins are produced by exercise, so getting your blood pumping for a sustained amount of time releases endorphins into the body system, providing some relief.
Heat is another natural way to manage pain. All forms of heat can work, for example, hot water bottles, heated gel-packs, electric blankets and hot baths. Benefits to using heat are that it increases the flow of heated oxygen and nutrients to affected areas. It can also suppress the pain signals that are sent to the brain.
On a cooler note, ice can act as a local anesthetic. It interrupts pain spasm reactions between nerves in affected areas by slowing down nerve impulses.
Some herbs, topicals and supplements have been shown to help reduce pain as well. Before you try any herbs or supplements, always discuss with your doctor first. A few examples are:
- Aloe vera (juice or gel)—helps relieve cramps
- Cinnamon powder—enhances body circulation
- Ginger powder—relieves chronic inflammatory pain and stiffness
- Tea—soothes skin burns
- Turmeric—natural pain killer for aches and pain
- Epsom salts—can help relieve pains and muscle cramps
- Fatty acids, like fish oil and Omega gamma-lunoleric acid (GLA)—may help with joint pain and stiffness