Statistics Canada acknowledged in a Report released in December 2010 that there is a growing health crisis. The Report on the prevalence of pain in Canadians aged 12 to 44 revealed more than 8 % of males and 12 % of females experience chronic pain. In fact, most studies report that the prevalence of many pain conditions is higher among women than men. Pain also has a significant impact on our children. It is estimated that 15 to 30% of children suffer with chronic or recurring pain. Dr Mary Lynch, President of the Canadian Pain Society, confirms “Chronic pain is among the most disabling and costly medical conditions in North America.” Ouch!
So where is all the hurt coming from? Deb Shapiro, in her book ʻYour Body Speaks Your Mind: Understanding How Your Emotions And Thoughts Affect You Physicallyʼ (ISBN 978-0-7499-2783-7) explains that the role of the mind and emotions in oneʼs state of health is a vital one, and often overlooked. She explains that pain in any part of the body is a signal that something is amiss, off balance. It is plausible to consider that physical pain can be tied to psycho/emotional pain. Our instincts are to stop physical pain. Ms Shapiro advises that in order to heal the physical hurt, itʼs important to pay attention and hear what the pain is trying to tell us. As an example, a sore back often results from heavy lifting. The book suggests that beneath the strain could also be layers of resentment (lack of help, longing for attention or care, or perhaps your inner child trying to prove how capable you really are). Finding the inner pain often goes a long way to releasing the chronic physical pain.
In our fast-paced world, weʼve become accustomed to managing pain by suppressing it with (nonopioid & opioid) analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids and salicylates (i.e. aspirin). Although offering temporary relief, these drugs carry the risk of many side effects ranging from stomach upset and gastrointestinal bleeding to kidney damage. In 2004/2005 Vioxx and Bextra were withdrawn from the market after findings showed Vioxx increased cardiovascular risks, while Bextra triggered serious skin reactions. Osteopathy and homeopathy offer a winning natural formula for the management and relief of both acute and chronic pain.
The New England Journal of Medicine (November, 1999) published a comparative study of Osteopathic spinal manipulation with standard medical care for patients with low back pain. Patients in both groups improved during the 12 weeks of the study, however, the osteopathic treatment group required significantly less medication (analgesics, anti inflammatory agents, and muscle relaxants) and required less physical therapy! Pam Ennis, Toronto-based Osteopathic Manual Practitioner explains why: “Osteopathic Manual Practitioners consider the biomechanics and alignment of the entire body to devise a treatment plan that focuses on techniques to improve range of motion, increase circulation and decrease pain. This is achieved by considering all the systems and structures of the entire body in order to identify the root cause of the imbalance.” The holistic and interdisciplinary approach of osteopathic medicine offers therapeutictreatment that can optimize effective pain management, especially in the elderly who are often undertreated for pain or unable to tolerate pharmaceuticals.
Homeopathic medicine, alone or in tandem with Osteopathic manual therapy, offers an excellent, nonpharmacologic approach to pain management and carries no risk of side effects. A homeopathic practitioner considers an individualʼs unique symptoms in selecting the best indicated homeopathic treatment protocol to bring rapid pain relief. Unlike pharmaceuticals, homeopathic medicine is unique in that rather than suppressing pain, the well-matched homeopathic ʻremedyʼ actually assists the natural process and strengthens the bodyʼs innate ability to heal. There are several homeopathic products that should be staples in the family medicine chest. Arnica is one of the most commonly used homeopathic medicines for bruises and helps reduce pain and speeds the absorption of blood under the skin. Arnica is available in tablet or pellet form, as well as in a topical preparation. Calendula is known as homeopathic antiseptic since it facilitiates healing of cuts, lacerations or suppurated wounds. Application of a warm sponge soaked in Calendula solution, is very comforting and Calendula can also be used for gargling following dental work. There are homeopathic protocols for many painful conditions including arthritis, back pain, broken bones, carpal tunnel, concussion, dental issues, headache & migraine, menstrual pain, sprains, strains and tendonitis.
Thankfully, there is no need to suffer in silence. With natural therapies like homeopathy and osteopathy, pain management is effective and side effect free.
Kashka Kril-Atkins is a Homeopath and owner of BLUEPRINT Wholistic Health Clinic, an Integrative Medicine Clinic and Shop located in Midtown. For more information on holistic strategies for optimal health call 416 932 3433 or visit www.blueprintwellness.ca