Pain Management. It’s a very hot topic, and a topic which will be covered on the upcoming episode of the Natural Health Show. The reason for this is straight forward. It is safe to say that every living person in this world has experienced pain at one time or another. It is also the predominant feature of most diseases, acute and chronic alike. The human body has literally millions of pain nerve endings which are located in every single organ (including the skin) with the exception of the brain. The brain is unique in this respect because it is the organ which processes pain signals and sends signals back to the point of origin so that we feel pain in those regions, but it has no pain receptors of its own. In other words poking the brain during brain surgeries does not elicit pain and that is why some brain surgeries are performed on conscious patients without general anesthesia.
From the biological point of view the reason for the existence of pain is two fold. First is makes us aware that something is wrong and that the region of our body where the pain is located needs our attention and care. Secondly pain is commonly elicited in regions of the body where there is an inflammatory process. This inflammatory process is partly beneficial because it attracts immune cells to this specific region so that these cells can “fix” the problem. On the other hand, if the inflammation is chronic and lasts a long time it causes progressive damage to the organ which is inflamed. This may lead to chronic long term illnesses, some examples of which are arthritis (due to inflammation of joints), bronchitis (due to inflammation of airways), or cirrhosis (due to inflammation of the liver), to name a few.
The problem with currently established clinical pain management is that it relies heavily on medications which block the perception of pain but not the underlying cause, which is inflammation. Another problem with these medications is that most of them have serious side effects and can be strongly addictive as they fall in the category of narcotics.
I am going to give a few examples. Local anesthetics such as Lidocaine that we are familiar with from the dentist office are all derived from cocaine. Thus the major concerns with them are heart arrhythmias, or heart rhythm irregularities. General anesthetics such as Halothane are very toxic to the liver. Of course these two groups are used mostly in surgery where they are very helpful when used for a short time. Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are extremely addictive with barbiturates being more dangerous as they easily cause loss of consciousness and potentially the cessation of breathing. But the most common of all are the NSAIDs, such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen (which I covered in the blog on prescription medications). These medications cause ulcers, kidney damage as well as liver damage when used for a prolonged period of time. Opioids on the other hand such as Morphine, and Oxycodone are extremely addictive and cause additional problems such as chronic constipation.
All right, so all this grimness aside what can we do about it? Well instead of just trying to block pain perception why not try to stop the inflammation that causes pain in the first place? Why not go to the root of the problem instead of just trying to hush it up? Any why not use natural compounds that have strong health healing properties without all the toxicity and addiction potential associated with pharmaceutical meds? Well I did some extensive research on the subject and I came up with very interesting conclusions… which, so that you are not overwhelmed with reading one extensive blog, I shall cover tomorrow. Stay healthy my friends.