More than 25 million Americans suffer from chronic daily pain, and over 55 percent of Americans have experienced some amount of pain in the past three months. Integrative medicine offers several non-opiate pain relief options.
Integrative medicine effectively treats a variety of conditions and symptoms, including acute and chronic pain. Jacob Wolf, ND, LAc, Dipl. OM, a naturopathic provider, discusses these pain relief options:
Pain, whether sudden or ongoing, can make even simple tasks difficult. While there is a lot of focus on changing how opiates are prescribed, there is also growing interest in integrative pain management techniques.
What are alternative pain relief options?
Acupuncture usually receives the most notice and is well-studied for chronic or severe pain including back and neck pain, osteoarthritis and headaches. Techniques such as cupping, electro-acupuncture and exercises like tai chi and qigong can also help moderate the pain response. And there is growing evidence that herbal medicines can reduce pain. Some of the most promising are frankincense, ginger and turmeric, which can reduce pain levels and may have fewer side effects than some pain medications.
Can diet impact pain?
Yes. Diet can play a key role in how we experience pain and can help decrease inflammation. Many Americans get stuck in what I call a tan, white and brown diet. These diets are filled with refined carbohydrates (pasta, breads and sugar) and poor quality oils (fried food, trans fats) and low in fruits and vegetables. For many, switching to a whole food, colorful, plant rich diet can decrease inflammation and pain.
Where do you start?
With all of these options, it is important to first talk with your health care provider to determine the best plan of action. As a naturopathic provider and acupuncturist, I can help you explore integrative pain relief options and provide many of them in my office.