Author Archives: Jane Seymour

Alternatives to Painkillers within Pain Management

Many people are turning away from the use of painkillers as a means of alleviating pain. Most people that have stopped relying on pain killers have chosen to do so for a specific reason. Whatever the reason for this push against painkillers, the availability of alternative pain management has increased during the past several years. If you are looking for a solution for your pain, the following suggestions may help you in a pain management plan that doesn’t rely on painkillers.

Natural Pain Relievers

ShoulderpainIf you are in pain and do not want to use pain killers, you can try a few of these natural pain relievers. First of all, you can enjoy the outdoors. Studies have shown that individuals who receive the daily recommend amount of Vitamin D report less experience with pain than those that don’t get enough Vitamin D. Another natural pain reliever is eating foods high in reseveratrol. Studies have indicated that this chemical blocks tissue degeneration and will aid in pain relief. In addition to these two alternative pain management techniques, you can also eat chocolate.

Other Natural Remedies

Here are some more natural pain management suggestions that provide alternatives to pain killers: aroma therapy, arnica gel, and vitamin C. Arnica has been used for pain relief for hundreds of years. When you apply the gel to the skin, it relieves aches, reduces inflammation, and heals. Aroma therapy is the use of oils applied to the skin, either through massage or in a bath. These oils have both painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties. They include chamomile, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, ginger, and yarrow. Vitamin C has been demonstrated to provide a protective effect on cartilage and bone. A good cup of orange juice in the morning goes a long way to helping you feel better.

Pain Management that Takes Your Mind off of Pain

knee-painIf you want more than natural pain relievers within your pain management regimen, you might want to consider activities that take your mind off of your pain. Try meditating. You can use a more developed meditation method or you can simply let your mind wander. In addition to meditation, you could try a massage. You can get a massage from a professional, or you can get someone to give you a massage at home. If a massage doesn’t sound appealing to you, you can learn tai chi. Even though tai chi is considered a martial art, the deep breathing can induce a meditative state.

You Don’t Have to Rely on Painkillers

Painkillers are not the only option available to you within pain management. Healthy ways exist that relieve your pain without numbing your senses. You don’t have to risk the possibility of addiction reduce the pain that you feel in your body. With these natural alternatives to painkillers, you can feel better and protect your body at the same time. Natural pain management alternatives offer pain sufferers a means of reducing their pain while preventing further damage to the body.

Experiencing Cancer Pain

man-in-painAccording to experts, 1 out of 3 cancer patients experience pain from their cancer. This pain can either come from the original cancer site, or it can come from secondary sites to which the cancer has spread. The pain can be caused from the cancer itself, or it can actually be caused by the method used for treating it, such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.

There is Help

If you happen to be in the 1/3 of cancer patients that experience pain, there are ways to alleviate this pain. If you are experiencing pain from cancer, you need to speak with your healthcare provider to determine which options are best for you. You don’t have to suffer from pain associated with cancer when you can manage that pain.

Medication

There are several different types of medications that are used for managing cancer pain. Your doctor will suggest a certain type of medication based upon how severe your pain is. To determine this, the doctor will ask you to describe your pain and rate it on a scale of 1-10. Based on this information, your doctor will prescribe pain medication.

cancerpainFor low level pain, your healthcare provider may suggest over-the-counter pain relief such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. If OTC pain relief doesn’t alleviate the pain, your doctor may prescribe a mild opioid such as codeine. For more intense pain, your doctor may want to prescribe a heavier opiod like morphine, fentanyl, methadone, or ocycodone. These medications can be taken orally, rectally, intravenously, or transdermally.

Speak Up

If you’re experiencing pain from cancer, it’s important that you share this with your doctor. Because of the small percentage of cancer patients who experience pain, many doctors do not ask if you’re experiencing pain. It’s up to you to bring up pain. Take control of your treatment, and don’t leave it up to the doctor. It’s your body, and pain management is your choice.

Not Wanting to Rely on Pain Medication?

For some people, the thought of taking strong pain medication makes them leery of approaching the subject. For some, it’s the fear of becoming addicted. For others, they might fear adverse side effects.

Pain Medication and Addiction

Proper pain management addresses these issues. First of all, taking pain medication only when you’re in pain helps to address the risk of addiction. Also, following your doctor’s instructions regarding the use of these medications helps to prevent addiction, as well. Taking pain medication when you’re supposed to and in the dose that is prescribed is a preventative measure against addiction.

Pain Medication and Adverse Side Effects

Yes, the possibility of adverse side effects exists. The possibility exists for all medications. That is why it’s important that you communicate with your doctor if you experience any of the listed side effects. It’s important to address the issue immediately. Even with the possibility of side effects existing, that possibility is small. It’s worth the risk if your cancer pain is severe enough to affect your quality of life.

Pain Medication and Drowsiness

One of the side effects of pain medications is drowsiness. Many people refrain from taking pain medication because of the fear of becoming drowsy while driving or performing other important tasks. This side effect usually occurs when starting a new pain medication. Over time, your body adjusts to it, and the drowsiness lessens. If you’re experiencing severe cancer pain, you may already feel drowsy from the pain disrupting your sleep patterns. Also, severe pain may keep you from performing these important tasks anyways. A little rest may be helpful.

The Decision

Ultimately, the decision on whether or not you should take pain medication for your cancer pain is up to you. Pain management is about empowering you with choices. You have to decide if your quality of life has been disrupted enough to rely on pain medication to alleviate the pain so that your quality of life can be restored to a better level. Whether or not to take pain medication is your decision because it’s your pain and your life. You have to consider all of the possibilities and determine a path that is right for you and no one else.

A couple of things you might not have known about prescription painkillers

There are millions and millions of people all over the world that are taking advantage of everything that prescription painkillers have to offer, with millions more around the world likely to have to take advantage of these pain pills at some point or another during the year as well.

To say that we as a global population are hooked on pain pills would be the understatement of the century.

tramadolWhile these are amazing medical breakthroughs have definitely helped individuals all over the planet to better curb the significant pain that they may be dealing with at any point in time, they also open up a world of dangerous (and sometimes deadly) side effects that cannot be ignored. When used appropriately, individuals usually will be able to effectively manage any and all pain that they might be contending with…

… But when used incorrectly, things can really run off the rails in a hurry.

This is why you need to know exactly what you’re getting into when you decide to buy prescription painkillers. If you are to have any success whatsoever using these medical interventions to provide you with the results you’re after, you need to be 100% certain that they are the right move for you at this particular point in time.

To help you determine this, you’ll want to pay close attention to the inside information we break down below.

Shall we begin?

Prescription painkillers aren’t well-suited to long-term pain management

Opioid pain pills in particular are going to be able to produce stunning short-term pain relief results for those that are fighting off acute or significant pain, but they aren’t going to be able to stand up against long-term pain, chronic pain, or consistent pain and all of its side effects. So before you buy codeine or some similar opioid you need to think twice to make sure it is the right think for you, and of course counsult your doctor.

Sure, you might be able to block out the sensation of pain for at least a little while using these prescription pain pills, but you aren’t going to be able to eliminate the fogginess, the nausea, the constipation, and the other “off sensations” you are most definitely going to have to contend with when dealing with any number of medical conditions.

On top of that, over time these solutions become less and less effective at providing effective pain management results. They just aren’t suited for long-term situations.

Leftover pain pills can pose a significant health risk

painpill-addictionIndividuals that have built up a is a tolerance against prescription painkillers (which isn’t all that difficult to do when using them over a long period of time) always run the risk of “overdosing” until they feel the impact of these pain pills once again – and many of them turn to leftover drugs to help supplement their current prescription.

This is a disastrous proposition.

Not only is it a terrible idea to take anyone else’s pills, but it’s also a terrible idea to “mix and match” prescription drugs – even if they are the same pill. You never know exactly what a particular dosage is, and you never know how the degradation of a particular pain pill is going to impact the results that it delivers.

At the end of the day, you’re better off leaving your leftover pain pills out of the equation completely, and likely even better suited to flush your leftover pain pills once they reach their expiration date.

You may want to curb your nightly glass of wine when using pain pills

painkilleraddictionThey say that a glass of red wine a day helps keep the doctor away (and they usually aren’t wrong), but you are definitely going to want to try and shy away from consuming too much alcohol within two hours of using prescription painkillers or things can really start to get a little crazy.

Any time you’re talking about mixing alcohol and a prescription drug you’re cooking up a cocktail of dangerous situations, but when you’re talking about mixing painkillers and sedatives like alcohol you’re really looking at some difficult consequences.

What you’ll want to do instead is consume more water than you probably are already (to stay hydrated), sticking to nonalcoholic beverages at least until your prescription painkillers have run out. Then and only then will you be able to get back to enjoying your favorite glass of red.

Pain Management with Herbal Medicine:

Many seek to control their pain levels themselves, naturally. This can be very appealing to the patient for several reasons:

  • They may feel that they understand what is going into their bodies by using herbs, while a prescription medication is a mystery chemical.
  • Natural products tend to be cheaper than prescription painkillers.
  • Patients feel they have more control over what they are taking, and how much.
  • Patients may feel that natural products are safer and better-tolerated than prescription painkillers.

back-pain-tramadolCertainly prescription painkillers present the spectre of addiction, whereas very few over-the-counter herbal remedies are potent enough to be addictive. Pain is so variable day-to-day for most patients, that it makes sense they would wish to be able to tailor their medication to the circumstance – a lot easier with an herbal powder than with a prescribed capsule. Finally, having that sense of control is incredibly important to all patients, but especially patients who manage daily pain, because they have very little control over their condition, otherwise.

The following is a discussion of some herbs that might be helpful for pain, from low to increasing severity.

Adaptogens are herbs that increase the body’s energy reserves, which means that if you take them long-term, you are less likely to feel ‘stressed’. Adaptogens are often the base herb for a personalized blend, because they are helpful for most people, and very benign.

  • Ginseng
  • Liquorice
  • Shatavari
  • Wild Oats
  • Elder
  • Hawthorn
  • Schizandra

Calming herbs are gentle and mild, and can be imbibed throughout the day; they are moderately relaxing. Herbs like these are found in commercial tea blends, like Celestial Seasoning’s Tension Tamer Tea.

  • Chamomile
  • Catnip
  • Goldenrod
  • Withania

Relaxing herbs:

These herbs are often given as mild sedatives to help people sleep; some are also given for minor to moderate muscle pain. Motherwort is particularly helpful in cases of muscle pain plus emotional lability/irritability, and lavender shines as a relaxing, supportive herb that also has digestive properties.

  • Hops
  • Lemon Balm
  • Damiana
  • Skullcap
  • Motherwort
  • Lavender
  • Ziziphus
  • Passionflower

slip-fall-injuriesThere are herbs that are stronger painkillers and sedatives. However, it is important to remember that herbs are not all safe, simply because they are natural. Just like any powerful painkiller, you would want someone experienced to help the patient decide which herb was best for him or her, and to help determine a reasonable starting dose.

If the patient wishes to learn about stronger herbs, he or she should find an experienced herbalist to discuss their pain, its character, its duration and severity, just as they would with a conventional physician.

Each of the listed herbs has a specific purpose (nerve pain, muscle pain, pain with anxiety, pain with depression) – and a specific temperament in which it is best applied. This is also where the herbalist comes in.

If the patient chooses to use herbs for pain control, they may feel more autonomous, experience fewer side effects, and be able to choose something that is specifically tailored to their condition and temperament, rather than one-size-fits-all medicine.