Millions of Americans experience chronic pain. If you do, you know it can interfere with work, exercise, relationships, sleep — even your self-esteem and happiness. Chronic pain is a major cause of depression, anxiety, and even job loss.
As a physician, my goal is to help alleviate suffering. Sometimes pharmaceuticals are necessary (and even the best option) for pain relief. Unfortunately, though, many common pain medications, when taken regularly, can wreak havoc in your body.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can cause Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS), gastritis, and even severe stomach ulcers requiring surgery. Narcotics, which are on the rise in epidemic proportions, are responsible for a range of medical problems ranging from gut-damaging constipation to death. In fact, every day in the United States 105 people die from accidental overdoses of properly prescribed pain medications.
What most people are never told by their doctor is that some pain medications can actually even make pain worse. Medication Overuse Headache (MOH) is an actual medical condition whereby headaches become more frequent and severe due to regular use of medications for headache. Over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol can cause MOH.
And for at least 10% of people taking them, these drugs actually make pain substantially worse! Most think the pain is getting worse because they aren’t taking enough of the medication, so they take more. This can create a dangerous setup for overdose.
Part of my job in relieving suffering is to help people find safe alternatives to treating pain, so that they are not taking medications that can also cause suffering.
Get to the Root of the Problem
I am not a "pain doctor." However, in my practice at the UltraWellness Center, I treat many people with chronic diseases who experience pain as a component — for example, autoimmune conditions affecting the joints, gut problems causing digestive pain, fibromyalgia, pelvic and menstrual pain, and chronic headaches and migraines.
Natural supplements can play a tremendous role in alleviating the symptoms of chronic pain. Herbs such as corydalis, Jamaican dogwood, and cramp bark when taken internally can be helpful for pain flares. Capsaicin from hot peppers, and essential oils of wintergreen, peppermint, and lavender — all used topically — alleviate the discomforts of painful joints and headaches.
However, as with all conditions, it's essential to treat the root causes, not just the symptoms. In my experience, both the root causes and the resulting pain can be reversed in many cases. Common root causes that lead to chronic pain or make it worse include: