Carefully Weigh Your Need for Narcotic Pain Relievers
By Dr. Mercola
Additions by WellnessWillpower
It’s extremely important to be cognizant of your level of impairment when taking ANY drug. Know your dosage. Also beware of the addictive potential of opioid drugs. I urge you to seriously weigh your need for them. If you have not seen it yet, watch the documentary “Chasing the Dragon” before filling that prescription. There are so many other ways to address pain.
Below is a long list of suggestions. If you are in pain that is bearable, please try these options first, before resorting to prescription painkillers of any kind.
If you need a pain reliever, consider an over-the-counter (OTC option. Research shows prescription-strength naproxen (Naprosyn, sold OTC in lower dosages as Aleve) provides the same pain relief as more dangerous narcotic painkillers. However, while naproxen may be a better alternative to narcotic painkillers, it still comes with a very long list of potential side effects, and the risks increase with frequency of use. Ibuprofen(Advil) belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other members of this class include aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen) and several others. These drugs are used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation. Pain, fever, and inflammation are promoted by the release in the body of chemicals called prostaglandins. Ibuprofen blocks the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower levels of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation, pain and fever are reduced. The FDA approved ibuprofen in 1974.
Non-drug Solutions for Pain Relief
Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars
from your diet
Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels and decrease insulin
and leptin resistance, which is one of the most important reasons why inflammatory
prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important
to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
Take a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat
Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact,
that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, by manipulating prostaglandins.) Good
sources include wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies, which are all high
in healthy omega-3s while being low in contaminants such as mercury. As for supplements,
my favorite is krill oil, as it has a number of benefits superior to fish oil.
Optimize your sun exposure and
production of vitamin D
Optimize your vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work
through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain. Sun exposure also has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects that are unrelated to vitamin D production,
and these benefits cannot be obtained from a vitamin D supplement.
may also be quite helpful as it promotes and speeds tissue healing, even deep inside the body.
Medical marijuana has a long history as a natural analgesic and is now legal in 28 states.
You can learn more about the laws in your state on medicalmarijuana.procon.org.
medical cannabis education and resources
to suffering patients who deserve a better
quality of life.
Kratom (Mitragyna speciose) is another plant remedy that has become a popular opioid
substitute. In August, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a notice saying
it was planning to ban kratom, listing it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. However,
following massive outrage from kratom users who say opioids are their only alternative,
Kratom is likely safer than an opioid for someone in serious and chronic pain.
However, it’s important to recognize that it is a psychoactive substance and should
not be used carelessly. There’s very little research showing how to use it safely and
effectively, and it may have a very different effect from one person to the next.
Also, while it may be useful for weaning people off opioids, kratom is in itself addictive.
So, while it appears to be a far safer alternative to opioids, it’s still a powerful and
potentially addictive substance. So please, do your own research before trying it.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
EFT is a drug-free approach for pain management of all kinds. EFT borrows from the
principles of acupuncture in that it helps you balance out your subtle energy system.
It helps resolve underlying, often subconscious, and negative emotions that may be
exacerbating your physical pain. By stimulating (tapping) well-established acupuncture
points with your fingertips, you rebalance your energy system, which tends to dissipate pain.
Meditation and Mindfulness Training
Among volunteers who had never meditated before, those who attended four 20-minute
classes to learn a meditation technique called focused attention
(a form of mindfulness meditation) experienced significant pain relief —
K-Laser, Class 4 Laser Therapy
If you suffer pain from an injury, arthritis or other inflammation-based pain,
I’d strongly encourage you to try K-Laser therapy. It can be an excellent choice
for many painful conditions, including acute injuries. By addressing the underlying
cause of the pain, you will no longer need to rely on painkillers.
K-Laser is a class 4 infrared laser therapy treatment that helps reduce pain,
reduce inflammation and enhance tissue healing — both in hard and soft tissues,
including muscles, ligaments or even bones. The infrared wavelengths used in
the K-Laser allow for targeting specific areas of your body and can penetrate
deeply into the body to reach areas such as your spine and hip.
Many studies have confirmed that chiropractic management is much safer and
less expensive than allopathic medical treatments, especially when used for pain
such as low back pain.
Qualified chiropractic, osteopathic and naturopathic physicians are reliable,
as they have received extensive training in the management of musculoskeletal
disorders during their course of graduate health care training, which lasts between
four to six years. These health experts have comprehensive training in
Research has discovered a “clear and robust” effect of acupuncture in the treatment
of back, neck and shoulder pain, and osteoarthritis and headaches.
Physical therapy has been shown to be as good as surgery for painful conditions
such as torn cartilage and arthritis.
Foundation training is an innovative method developed by Dr. Eric Goodman to treat
his own chronic low back pain. It’s an excellent alternative to painkillers and surgery,
as it actually addresses the cause of the problem.
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the journal Pain Medicine
included 60 high-quality and seven low-quality studies that looked into the use
of massage for various types of pain, including muscle and bone pain, headaches,
The review revealed massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no
treatment at all. When compared to other pain treatments like acupuncture
and physical therapy, massage therapy still proved beneficial and had few side effects.
In addition to relieving pain, massage therapy also improved anxiety and
health-related quality of life.
Astaxanthin is one of the most effective fat-soluble antioxidants known. It has
very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more
effectively than anti-inflammatory drugs. Higher doses are typically required
and you may need 8 milligrams (mg) or more per day to achieve this benefit.
This herb has potent anti-inflammatory activity and offers pain relief and
stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water
as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day
to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility. A past study
also found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids blocked
inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the overproduction of a
Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains
specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients.
This enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory.
It can be taken in supplement form but eating fresh pineapple,
including some of the bromelain-rich stem, may also be helpful.
Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO)
This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory.
I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and carpal tunnel syndrome.
I used a topical preparation for this.
Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils
These contain the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA),
which is particularly useful for treating arthritic pain.
Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers.
It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P,
a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
Methods such as hot and cold packs, aquatic therapy, yoga,
various mind-body techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy
can also result in astonishing pain relief without drugs.
Walking barefoot on the earth may also provide a certain measure of pain relief
by combating inflammation.
Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist, originally developed in the early 1960s for
the treatment of opioid addiction. When taken at very low doses (LDN, available
only by prescription), it triggers endorphin production, which can boost your
immune function and ease pain.