Written for The Healthy Planet by TJ Williams, DC, PhD
At The Institute of Natural Health, we see a lot of people in pain. In fact, over 100 million Americans suffer with chronic pain. With so many in pain, it seems silly to us that no one is asking the important question: “What is causing the pain?” If you are in pain, we will work with you to help find the cause of the pain, whether it is a food sensitivity, a nutritional deficiency, a genetic issue, or something else.
It is important to note that pain is a symptom — a signal that something is wrong. Pain is not a condition. Taking pain medication to cover up your pain is the equivalent of placing a piece of tape over the check engine light in your vehicle so you do not have to look at it. The tape is not going to fix what is wrong with your engine, just like pain medication is not going to fix what is wrong with your body.
One class of pain medication is Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDS) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve). While NSAIDS are some of the most commonly used pain medicines, with many available as over-the-counter medications, they do not come without their own dangerous side effects. These side effects, according to the American College of Rheumatology, include stomach bleeding and/or ulcer, high blood pressure, fluid retention, and kidney and heart problems.
Many are unable to find relief with NSAIDS and they turn to something stronger. Did you know that the United States makes up only 4.6% of the world’s population but consumes 80% of its opioid medications and 99% of the world’s hydrocodone? In August of 2015, the FDA approved the use of OxyContin, an opioid painkiller, for children as young as 11 years old. One side effect of opioid painkillers is physical dependence (addiction). Currently, an estimated 2.1 million people abuse opioid medications in the U.S. Clearly something is not working. Fortunately, there is another way.
While many of our patients know the dangers of taking pain medications long-term, people with chronic pain who can barely function are left with few options. Oftentimes those in pain have little support from friends or loved ones who are unable to comprehend their situation if they have not dealt with chronic pain themselves. The choice most are given is either pain or pain medication. Luckily, there is hope.
If you are suffering from chronic pain we can help. Please call us at 314-293-8123, or visit our website at inhstl.com