Generally speaking as we age, our level of inflammation increase. Whether its from wear and tear injuries to muscles and ligaments, or a chronic disease such as arthritis, those over 40 are at a much higher risk for pain and inflammatory damage.
Unfortunately, the adverse effects of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, aspirin and celecoxib are also more likely to be serious, even life threatening, as we age.
Did you know that side effects of NSAIDs include gastric ulcers and bleeding, decreased Kidney function, and a two and three fold increased risk of heart attack and stroke? Therefore, it becomes even more important to find effective natural ways to reduce pain and inflammation without the risks of NSAID use.
However, inflammation is not always the enemy. Inflammation is a necessary process for repair and recovery after an injury. Acute inflammation can take many forms – heat, redness, swelling and of course – pain. Pain is most often an indicator of a more complex underlying issue. Under normal circumstances, our body will deal with the inflammation quickly so the rest of the healing process can occur and thus the pain disappears.
However, our diet, lifestyle and genetics can play a significant role in how efficiently our bodies can respond to inflammation. If we are already overwhelmed by toxins and deprived of necessary nutrients, we can enter a chronic inflammatory state.
Chronic inflammation is often referred to as “silent” because it may not have many outward symptoms. However, both acute and chronic inflammation can contribute to pain. Without addressing the inflammation, there is little chance that pain will subside on its own.
Alleviating pain with natural substances focuses on modifying inflammatory pathways, improving mood and restoring balance in the body. Prescription medication can only target one inflammatory pathway, whereas natural substances and methods have the unique ability to modulate many pathways simultaneously.
Natural pain relievers like curcumin (from Turmeric), boswellia and acupuncture hold great promise for the pain epidemic in the United States. Curcumin is one of the most widely researched medicinal substances – natural or pharmaceutical – in the world. With almost 11,000 peer-reviewed studies, curcumin has been investigated for health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and pain.
Curcumin is highly effective on its own, but it also has synergistic properties when combined with other natural ingredients, such as boswellia. Aside from directly affecting pain, both curcumin and boswellia have also been shown to help improve mood. In many instances, pain and mood disorders co-occur, so finding compounds that can work on the mind and body are incredibly valuable.
Curcumin has been shown in multiple clinical trials to be a potent antidepressant for major depressive disorder and atypical depression. Boswellia has also been shown to balance cortisol levels, which can become disturbed during chronic pain. Research Studies A study in Germany found that 304,674 people with osteoarthritis experienced less pain and stiffness after 15 sessions of acupuncture.
The treatments were done during a three-month period and lasting results were seen for another three months after treatment was stopped. The patients who had the acupuncture treatment reported better quality of life and function than those who had no treatment. A study done at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan Medical School found that of 20 women who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the half that received acupuncture treatment had increased activity of the pain-reducing receptors in the brain.
A trial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine studied 570 men and women with osteoarthritis. For the men and women who received 23 acupuncture treatments for about six months, results of less pain and better functionality occurred, compared to those with the placebo treatment.
Arthritis can be painful and persistent, resulting in frustration when it isn’t easy to find relief. Acupuncture is a non-invasive, alternative treatment that has been proven in numerous studies to help reduce pain and increase mobility.
With upward of 650,000 opioid prescriptions everyday, we clearly are in need of better and safer pain alleviating options. In addition to improvements in diet and lifestyle, natural ingredients and therapies that have been scientifically validated like curcumin, boswellia and acupuncture can make a significant difference in pain and quality of life.
Their safety profile is far superior to prescription medications, and instead of sideeffects, one receives sidebenefits. Remember, pain is a signal that needs to be medically evaluated. Pain is our check engine light. Don’t ignore pain, especially if its sudden and severe, make sure you know what is causing it. Only then can you decide how to best treat that pain. Essence Holistic Healing Center in Campbellsport is ready to help you down your path to wellness.