An article written by Dr. Millie Lytle.

“Pain does not show up in our lives for no reason. It’s a sign that something needs to change.”

In the past several years, the US has shown a steady rise in new options for “pain management” – most of them in the form of dangerous pharmaceuticals. It’s hard to say if these drugs were well-intentioned at the start. Of course, no one likes to be in pain. But pain is a necessary, important aspect of maintaining overall health and well-being. If you don’t feel any pain at all, how can you possibly know what’s wrong?

Unfortunately, the medical industry has swayed so many people towards “covering up” pain – both mental and physical – instead of addressing the root cause. This has led to devastating results throughout the country, particularly in the area of substance abuse, addiction, and overdose deaths. The opiate painkillers that have been released in the past decade or so are highly addictive, with a chemical makeup that mimics that of heroin. When the laws on obtaining painkillers were tightened, addictions didn’t simply vanish. Instead, addicts turned to heroin.

So, that’s where our country is at right now – in the midst of a devastating heroin epidemic that has been swept under the rug for far too long. This issue is alarming enough to be called a “public health epidemic”.  In 2008, drug overdoses in the United States caused 36,450 deaths – an average of 120 per day. Of these, 75% were attributable to prescription opioids  (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Despite the facts, the FDA has now made another alarming decision. The same drugs that have caused so much devastation throughout the country are now approved for use in children as young as 11 years old. This week, the FDA announced that OxyContin, a long-release version of oxycodone intended for only the most severe and chronic pain cases, may be prescribed to children ages 11-16.

Dr. Sharon Hertz, director of new anesthesia, analgesia and addiction products for the FDA, said studies by Purdue Pharma, which manufactures the drug, “supported a new pediatric indication for OxyContin in patients 11 to 16 years old and provided prescribers with helpful information about the use of OxyContin in pediatric patients.”

At this point, teens and adults have been informed of the enormous risks involved when you begin taking painkillers when there are other options. But kids this age don’t know any better – to someone who’s witnessed OxyContin’s fatal impact, this new FDA decision is devastating.

Despite the influence of big pharma, education is power. There are natural options for pain management that many people have no idea existed. Here are just a few alternatives to painkillers:

  • Curcumin. Curcumin with piperine, ginger or pepper as well as BCM-95 or BioCurcumin decreases inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is the root cause of a large percentage of pain, so naturally, when it’s decreased, so is the pain. In one study, curcumin was shown to increase mobility and decrease pain in patients with osteoarthritis. (
  • California Poppy. This is an effective but little-known natural option for pain management. In combination with other herbs, California poppy is used for depression, long-term mental and physical fatigue (neurasthenia), nerve pain, various psychiatric conditions and more. (WebMD) California Poppy contains chemicals that produce safe analgesic and sedative effects, allowing for both pain relief and less mental anguish about the pain itself.
  • St. John’s Wort Oil. St. John’s Wort is known to alleviate nerve pain in situations of post-surgical recovery or conditions like sciatica and arthritis. It helps repair and regenerate the nerves, which results in significantly reduced pain.
  • Magnesium Glycinate. This is a natural muscle relaxant that helps “loosen” up stiffness and cramping, whether it’s a muscle, or even your mood! In addition, getting an adequate supply of magnesium has been shown to relieve a huge variety of symptoms – magnesium deficiency can lead to everything from cramps to migraines and kidney stones.
  • Jamaican Dogwood. Jamaican Dogwood is a traditional remedy for treating nerve pain, migraines, insomnia, anxiety, fear, and nervous tension. As early as 1844, scientists discovered that Jamaican Dogwood had pain-relieving properties. More recent scientific studies have shown that bark extracts of this plant have anti-inflammatory, sedative, and antispasmodic (helps relieve smooth muscle spasms along the digestive tract) effects in animals. (Jamaica dogwood | University of Maryland Medical Center)
  • White Willow Bark. White Willow Bark is another little-known, all-natural pain reliever. It contains a chemical called salicin, which acts similarly to aspirin. Willow bark’s pain relieving potential has been recognized throughout history. Willow bark was commonly used during the time of Hippocrates, when people were advised to chew on the bark to relieve pain and fever. (WebMD)

Another useful method for reducing pain without drugs is to increase your body’s supply of natural painkillers. Endorphins and Enkephalins are chemicals in the body that increase pleasure and decrease pain – rev up your body’s storage of these with activities like exercise, sex, cuddling, playing with animals or babies and even eating dark chocolate. All of these will help boost your natural painkillers and help you handle pain better.

Reference: NBC News 

naturopathic medicineTo find out more about Dr. Millie Lytle, click here to go to her website.  We are pleased to have Dr. Millie Lytle as a speaker at this year’s conference.  Her lecture is entitled Facilitating Self-Healing; Concomitant with Medications.  To find out more about this and other talks, click here:  Conference Lecture Descriptions.  Register for her lecture, for half the day, or the full day by clicking here:  Register.  Attend online or in person.  Sunday, October 4th in beautiful New York City.

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