Anyone who has ever experienced chronic pain knows how debilitating it can be. Yet the most commonly recommended conventional medical solution—prescription opioid painkillers—is turning out to be worse than the problem. Opioids may stop the pain, but at a high price: growing numbers of deaths due to opioid overdose and higher rates of addiction and misuse.
As a medical discipline that emphasizes a holistic approach and natural treatments, naturopathic medicine offers safe and effective alternatives to highly addictive drugs for managing chronic pain. Licensed naturopathic doctors (...Read more
In light of the recent broad media attention, as well as the July 2017 FDA meeting to discuss the frequency and patterns of opioid misuse and abuse, there is a call to action to evaluate and implement non-opioid pain management strategies. In this interview pain management expert and Stanford researcher Dr. Beth Darnall describes the problem, explains the recent influx of “abuse deterrent” pain relieving pharmaceuticals and describes some non-pharmaceutical solutions.
For more information about the recent FDA meeting,...Read more
New York State finally got on board with offering another alternative to the chronic pain dilemma. Chronic pain is now a qualifying condition for the New York State medical cannabis program. New York’s program1 began in 2016 and has been grossly underutilized largely due to the glaring omission of one of the most prevalent conditions, chronic pain.
When the program was first announced, optimism loomed large as initial estimates for the number of people who would benefit from the program were somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000. To date only 15,000 patients and 911...Read more
How we experience and interpret events in our lives is critically dependent on the context in which we frame them. This framing can be shaped by previous experiences, expectations, beliefs, social context, emotions and many other variables (see previous blog post). The experience of pain is not an exception.
As clinicians, we have numerous assessment scales for pain: the Wong-Baker Faces, 0-10 Numeric Rating Scale, Visual Analog Scale, Verbal Pain Intensity Scale, the McGill (where is your...Read more
"In what sense is it true, that my hand does not feel pain, but I, in my hand? How is it to be decided? ...if someone has a pain in his hand, then the hand does not say so (unless it writes it) and one does not comfort the hand, but the sufferer; one looks into his face." - Ludwig Wittgenstein1
Whether short or long-lived, the odds are you have had a memorable encounter with a patient experiencing pain or with your own experience with pain. As health care providers, we routinely look into the face of someone in pain.
So what is it that we are looking at? What is...Read more