By Jeremy Brown, Naturopath / Counsellor

(Adv. Dip. Nat., Post. Grad. Cert. Counsell., MNHAA)

Modern medicine is well suited in treating severe short-term pain. For example, when I was in a workplace accident, I was particularly grateful to receive strong painkillers. The pharmaceuticals employed in post-operative care, such as codeine are also very effective in reducing pain. Alongside these standard treatments, this article focuses on botanical (herbal) medicines role in chronic pain management, and lists some key players.

Most weeks I see clients presenting with low-grade, chronic and degenerative pain. Typically, other conditions such as diabetes, chronic migraines and autoimmune disorders are involved. While the pain itself is not severe, the clients quality of life is greatly reduced. I consult with client’s who speak of a great sadness of the life they once knew. The simple act of not being in the garden or driving has taken meaning from their life.

           Chronic pain can impact quality of life

While many respond well to painkillers such as Panadol Osteo or Celebrex, there are a growing number of cases that may require additional support. Unfortunately, many are simply ‘putting up and shutting-up’ and assume that there is nothing else that can be done, but is this completely true?

See also: what can a naturopath do for me?

When Naturopathic treatment is correctly deployed, various body systems are targeted. For example, Turmeric is well suited in metabolic syndrome as it supports liver health, blood sugar regulation and targets pain. I have successfully tailored medicines that hit all these targets.

     Put simply: a body that functions better feels better

See also: functional testing in Naturopathy

Curcuma longa (Turmeric)

In recent years, interest in Turmeric has been expressed in medical journals and the general public. In some extracts, this herb competes with prescription strength anti-inflammatories (50mg Voltaren), however there are a key point to remember when when sourcing turmeric; proven proprietary extracts are ideal, an example of this is BCM-95 extract.

      Make sure you source the most effective type of Turmeric

Fish Oil

Omega 3’s, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), is a potent anti-inflammatory agent with convincing evidence. Unfortunately, many consumers in pharmacy are either not taking a therapeutic dose, or worse; taking a rancid product. In practice, after informing clients on the correct form and therapeutic dose, they report a marked reduction in pain and movement “not seen in years”.

      Fish oil must be stable and dosed correctly

Piscidia erythrina (Jamaican Dogwood)

This particular botanical is used in nerve pain. This type of pain radiates, often with a stabbing ‘pulsing’ like sensation. In conditions such as Fibromyalgia, modest evidence shows Jamaican Dogwood to be effective in relaxing both the muscles and treating any associated anxiety. In my experience, when co-prescribed with Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil’s Claw), a reduction in pain is seen in less than 7 days.

      Jamaican Dogwood specifically treats nerve pain

As we enter 2017, I have do doubt that customers and clients will continue to present with chronic pain. Because of this, I will be offering compounded pain creams; tailored to the type of pain you are experiencing. Natural Medicine continues to be used safely along side standard treatment displaying use in reducing pain while also enhancing health.

So why ‘put up and shut-up’ when you can make the change today?

Best Wishes,

-Jeremy Brown

Naturopath

 

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