Since 2016, the opioid crisis has claimed more than 10,000 lives in Canada (1); the second largest consumer of opioids in the world, per capita. (2) In the last three years, the opioid crisis has become increasingly concerning (1) and communities everywhere are calling for change.
With this in mind, the importance of finding different ways to heal chronic pain holds even greater value – and explains why so many patients are beginning to look towards Complementary and Alternative Medicine for pain management.
Where does it all start?
Most patients don’t start off taking opioids for everyday headaches, cramps, muscle and joint pain – so where does it all start?
In 2015-2016, Health Quality Ontario found that 1 in 7 Ontarians had filled a prescription for an opioid while 1 in 8 (over the age of 15) had consumed opioids in the previous year (2). Opioids have typically been reserved for post-surgical pain management, severe cases of chronic pain, and cancer related pain. Concerns of over-use in post-operative cases is rising too, as up to 10% of users are still relying on opioids a year after surgery. (8)
Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen (and other NSAIDs) are the two over-the-counter (OTC) kingpins of pain management. Likely at least one of them is in your medicine cabinet. Let’s get a quick breakdown of the differences between the two.
While these risks are serious, they typically only arise when these OTC’s are used incorrectly. Incorrect use may include:
Combining with contraindicated medications or alcohol
Exceeding the recommended daily dose
Improper long term use
So what can we do about chronic pain that lasts more than 10 days? What happens when we build a tolerance to these drugs?
Many doctors have begun to feel the pressure of reducing pain killer prescriptions. Many patients are beginning to feel concerned about the risks associated with their pain killer use. As a result we are seeing a rise in the use of complementary medicine for pain: acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, osteopathy, physiotherapy, and homeopathy. In this study we see the rise of yoga, chiropractic and meditation in adults from 2012 to 2017. (11)
What can homeopathy do about chronic pain?
“After years of being prescribed anti-inflammatories and opioids to manage pain, I turned to homeopathy after retiring from sports because of the negative side effects associated with the drugs I was taking. Arnica and Rhus Tox have provided me with equal or better pain management without the negative side effects.”
Homeopathy stimulates the natural healing mechanisms of the body using individualized treatment. With the primary goal of healing the root cause of pain rather than masking or temporarily relieving the pain, homeopathy aims to heal. Homeopathy is non-addictive and it is safe for long term use.
In one observational study, 129 adult patients with low back pain were monitored for two years while being treated with individualized homeopathic care. The study found that individualized homeopathic treatment of low back pain resulted in improved quality of life and a reduction of other healthcare services. The number of patients using low back pain-related drugs was half that of the baseline. (9)
Homeopathy is also safe to take alongside conventional pain killers. During treatment with certified homeopaths, pain killers are only reduced at the patients discretion under the supervision of their primary care physician.
A recent study compared three groups of patients being treated for musculoskeletal disorders using either Homeopathy, Conventional Medicine, or a mixed approach. Results found the homeopathy group did as well clinically as those treated with conventional medicine but used only half the amount of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and had fewer NSAID related side effects. (10)
These two studies suggest that Homeopathy can be used as a complementary medicine in pain management to reduce the need for pain related drugs, reduce the amount of side effects, and reduce the need for additional healthcare services.
Three Homeopathic Remedies For Physical Pain To Have In Your Medicine Cabinet
Homeopathy is safe to take alongside other medications and treatments and the below remedies are great tools for acute situations. Where chronic pain persists, it is best to consult with a certified homeopath to ensure you are receiving the most suitable care to treat the root cause of your chronic complaints.
Rhus tox – Joint pain and stiffness
Symptoms that indicate a need for Rhus tox:
Stiffness and pain, especially in joints
Strains and Sprains, overexertion
Pains are worse on first getting up after a rest, but get better as you get moving
Pains are better with heat, not so much cold.
Arnica – Trauma and Injury
After any kind of injury or trauma, especially during the swelling phases or where there is bruising
Sore, bruised pain, muscle soreness
Injury to soft tissue, after a workout or overexertion
Contusions (goose eggs on the head, concussions, stubbing your toe, falling hard)
Mag Phos – Cramps
Cramping: hand cramps, menstrual cramps, tension headaches, calf cramps, growing pains, tooth aches.
Muscle tension, shooting pains
Pains that are better from heat, stretching, massage
For more information on how homeopathy can help you individually, please contact Paula for a free 15 minute consultation @ firstname.lastname@example.org