Cures for Chronic Pain

BoswelliaSerrata.jpg

Image by J.M.Garg, ©2009 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Boswellia serrata (Salai), also known as Indian frankincense; extract is used for pain and swelling.

Not too long ago, my friend Randy came to me complaining of severe back, shoulder, and neck pain that had been plaguing her for many months. She was finding it difficult to sit at her desk for extended periods of time to do her work, and it was becoming harder for her to drive and even sleep. Coincidentally, her husband also suffered from terrible chronic lower back pain, so, needless to say, the two of them together were pretty miserable!

Randy consulted her physician about her chronic pain. He prescribed pain medication, which, not surprisingly, didn't provide the relief she needed. Not to mention, she also found the side effects bothersome. She was so desperate for relief that she also considered trying physical therapy.

Fortunately, Randy has many acquaintances in the alternative health world, and she learned of a pain relief device called the Migun bed that she decided to try out. As it turned out, it made all the difference in the world. She used that therapy along with several therapies that I told her about, and she very quickly experienced distinct improvement in her pain. Today, Randy and her husband are pain free and back to living full, robust lives.

Real relief from chronic pain

Chronic pain is one of the top – if not the top – complaints that most doctors hear about from patients. If you suffer from any type of chronic pain, whether it's tension headaches, bursitis, back pain, arthritis, or anything else, you may feel frustrated that the only solution you are ever offered is prescription medication. The good news is that the complementary medical community has a plethora of safe and natural therapies that work to alleviate pain.

Along with a description of the Migun bed that helped Randy so much, here's a comprehensive list of what I have found to be the most effective natural therapies for the various types of chronic pain.

The Migun bed

This treatment combines computerized therapy routines with infrared heat and jade massage rollers to warm, massage, stretch, knead, and apply acupressure and trigger-point treatments automatically, from head to toe. For relaxation, improved blood and lymph circulation, and relief from aches, stiffness, and pain, choose which program you want and simply lie down.

To use this device, either find a therapist near you who has a Migun bed, or contact Migun (1-888-660-5948 or www.migunworld.com) for dealers in your state who can let you try a free session.

Hands-on therapy

For acute and chronic musculoskeletal and joint pain, massage and myofascial trigger point therapy are amazing. And, when applied to the head, neck, and shoulders, these techniques significantly reduce the frequency, duration, and severity of chronic tension headaches (the most common type of headache), with benefits lasting as long as three weeks after treatment (2008, Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy). Contact the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (1-800-458-2267 or www.massagetherapy.com) to find a therapist in your area.

Phototherapy

LED-NIR light therapy is great for many kinds of pain, including acute and chronic musculoskeletal and joint pain, sprains, repetitive work injuries, wounds, and surgeries. The light from therapy-calibrated lightemitting diodes (LEDs) and near-infrared (NIR) rays can penetrate into soft tissue and accelerate healing, increase cellular metabolism, and relieve pain and stiffness (April 2006, Photomedicine and Laser Surgery).

One light therapy device I recommend is Light Relief (1-888-314-5275). I also like the X-Light from the Chee Energy company (1-888-263-9214 or www.cheeenergy.com). Apply over the painful area for 15 minutes at least twice daily.

Infratonic therapy

Monarchos is a Thoroughbred horse that won the 2001 Kentucky Derby. During training before the race, he got daily infratonic treatments with a device called the Equitonic, which provided significant improvement in the thickness and clarity of his joint fluid and in the speed with which his blood creatine phosphokinase (CPK) levels returned to normal (indicating faster healing of stiff, overworked muscles).

Infratonic technology is based on infrasonic sound waves, like the earthquake murmurs “heard” by seismographs that are able to travel great distances, even through solid obstacles. In humans, infrasonic sound waves from the SoniCalm 3 penetrate superficial and deep tissue layers, coaxing disruptive beta and theta waves in stressed or inflamed tissues into therapeutic alpha waves. Relief from chronic pain and stiffness of muscles and joints can be felt within minutes after a session, and the results are cumulative.

Salves

The following two topicals have been shown to be extremely effective in managing pain:

  • Brazilian black sage. This topical salve is made from the Cordia shrub and is rich in phytochemicals called cordiaquinones, naphthoquinones, and artemin. It's at least as effective as the prescription NSAID diclofenac gel for tendonitis, joint pain, and muscle pain. I recommend trying Cordia Extreme cream.
  • Topical Traumeel is a homeopathic ointment that consistently outperforms NSAIDs in the treatment of painful soft tissue conditions. Gently apply the ointment to the affected area and cover for an hour with a piece of plastic wrap to encourage absorption. You can find this product in health food stores.

Oral anti-inflammatory relief

The following supplements are safe, effective alternatives to over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers. You can take up to three or four together to get the desired effect. All of them are available at health food stores.

  • Devil's claw is as effective as certain prescription pain killers. I recommend daily dosing with devil's claw standardized to 50-100 mg harpagoside.
  • Boswellia serrata extract was used for centuries by ancient Hindu physicians for pain and swelling. It is best absorbed when taken with foods that contain fat, such as fish or olive oil. I recommend 150 mg three times daily.
  • Turmeric is as effective as cortisone in the treatment of acute inflammation (February 2008, Biochemical Pharmacology). I recommend 250-500 mg of the extract standardized to 90-95 percent curcumin, taken three times daily between meals.
  • EGCG, a polyphenolic compound in green tea, reduces inflammation, slows cartilage breakdown in arthritis, and protects and promotes the healing of joint tissues (March 2002, Journal of Nutrition). I recommend 400 mg daily, standardized to 90 percent total polyphenols.
  • White willow bark is as effective for lower back pain as prescription Vioxx (July 2000, American Journal of Medicine). I recommend 300 mg of white willow bark extract, standardized to 15 percent salicin, twice daily with food.

I believe that, like Randy, you'll find great relief to all sorts of chronic (and acute) pain by giving one or more of these wonderful remedies a try.

About the Author

Dr. Susan Lark

Dr. Susan Lark is author and women's health specialist who combines clinical nutrition with preventive medicine and complementary therapies to enhance the well-being of women. A graduate of Northwestern University Medical School, she has served on the clinical faculty of Stanford University Medical School, and taught in their Division ofRead more