Pain Gains Milestones in Treatment
The National Institutes of Health defines chronic pain as any persistent pain lasting more than 12 weeks. It can have any number of causes, from an injury like a back sprain to an ongoing illness. Sometimes the cause isn’t clear. Chronic pain often is accompanied by secondary, non-pain symptoms, including sleeplessness, poor appetite and fatigue. It can also lead to feelings of frustration and hopelessness when the pain inhibits enjoyable activities and interferes with daily life.
When you consider the scope of this NIH definition, can you think of many adults who haven’t experienced chronic pain at some point? No wonder we are inundated with ads from pharmaceutical companies trying to sell us magic pills to make it go away.
But those pills come with big risks. Take the over-the-counter pain relievers known as NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). A study published recently in The BMJ linked NSAIDs with an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction—that is, heart attack. The risk was greatest during the first month of NSAID use and with higher doses.
Another study, published in the March 2017 issue of the European Heart Journal: Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy, found the consumption of any kind of NSAIDs could increase the risk of heart attack by 31 percent. And yet another study published in The BMJ indicates that high-dose NSAIDs may double the risk of heart attack and heart failure.
We may be lulled into a false sense of safety by slick advertising and ubiquitous availability, but these are serious drugs.
The opioid epidemic that has gripped our country is a perfect example of how big pharma has misled the medical community regarding the safety of their drugs, for profit’s sake. Many of us either know or know of someone lost to this scourge. Once addicted, these patients often move over to illicit drugs like heroin, often with deadly consequences.
It’s time to reevaluate how we deal with chronic pain.
Our desire for long-term well-being requires us to investigate and resolve the root cause of pain, not just the symptoms. Pain is our bodies’ way of telling us there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Luckily, we have a wealth of local holistic experts ready and willing to resolve your pain—without dangerous drugs. Dr. Lori Poelstra, a certified pain management physician at Mind Body Medicine in Destin, recently opened a clinic that uses a holistic approach for pain management. Rebecca Freeman, an acupuncture physician, Sharalee Hoelscher, a certified Rolfer and Amanda Williams, a doctor of chiropractic care all have specialized knowledge and techniques to alleviate chronic pain without drugs. Float Brothers float spa offers another natural method of pain management. Yoga, massage and meditation are more great ways of dealing with pain without resorting to opioids.
There are also natural herb products, like CBD hemp oil (see our advertorial on page 20), that hold great promise in helping relieve chronic pain and sleep disorders without the addictive side effects of conventional prescription pain medicine. Medical marijuana, recently made legal in Florida, will certainly give people suffering from chronic pain an alternative solution, with few to no side effects.
The American Chronic Pain Association has an excellent guide that covers allopathic and alternative approaches to dealing with chronic pain: https://theacpa.org/uploads/documents/ACPA_Resource_Guide_2017.pdf
You do not have to live with chronic pain, especially if you live in beautiful Northwest Florida, where there are so many options and so many experts available to help. Which one will be your “golden ticket” to a pain-free life?
And dads, we haven’t forgotten you—thanks you for all you do.
Wishing you all the happiest Father’s Day!