PAIN RELIEF WITHOUT DRUGS
Terry Chappell, MD
Pain is one of the most common complaints that a doctor hears. Most commonly the cause is inflammation, which can occur in joints, muscles, nerves, the head, internal organs or connective tissue. If the source of pain is a disease process, like infection or autoimmune swelling, that disease must be treated. Once the inflammation lets up, so does the pain.
Medications can be used to relieve pain, but most of them have side effects or are addictive. Whenever possible, we like to use nonpharmaceutical treatments to relieve pain. One of the oldest and most effective techniques to treat pain is acupuncture. Tiny needles that you usually do not even feel are inserted only 1/6th of an inch beneath the skin surface. There are machines that can be used to detect which of the 14 acupuncture merideans in the body is irritated. Then the treatment can proceed with needles, with electrical stimulation, or even by tapping multiple times with your fingers over a series of acupuncture points.
Chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists and Reiki therapists can often relieve pain by relieving mal-alignments, muscle spasms and rebalancing energy fields. If a joint has become unstable due to ligaments that have been stretched or torn, the best treatment might be prolotherapy, which are injections to strengthen those ligaments. Neural therapy with local anesthetics can give remarkable relief. A series of counter-pressure points has been developed by Stephen Kaufmann, D.C. His techniques are excellent. Physical therapy can be utilized, especially ultrasound. That can work as well, but it might be slower and less effective in the long run. For back pain due to degenerated discs, decompression therapy combines traction with rehydration to get excellent results. Many nutritional supplements, such as glucosamine, boswellia, and MSM, can reduce swelling and relieve pain. Usually they are much safer than pain meds, and in the long run, they are usually quite effective.