A common misconception that many patients have about treating pain is that the drugs they are taking are actually doing some good. Pain medication does not heal or repair a problem—it only offers temporary relief. That relief comes at a price. Pain medication causes problems.

Arthritis patients take NSAIDs regularly without realizing that they actually interfere with cartilage repair. These drugs are linked to high blood pressure, kidney failure, heart failure, ulceration of the GI tract, and some drugs even interfere with bone repair.

According to research appearing in the American Journal of Medicine, “Conservative calculations estimate that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalized annually for nosteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal (GI) complications and at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone. The figures for all NSAID users would be overwhelming, yet the scope of this problem is generally under appreciated”

The drugs have side-effects and some would even say that they are dangerous, but what are we to do? Many people have pain, and relief is a priority for them. Chronic pain is the most costly health problem in America, with an estimated annual cost of about $90 billion per year. This cost includes lost productivity, legal costs, doctors’ visits and medication; 80% of all visits to the doctor are pain related. An estimated 40 million Americans have arthritis or other rheumatic condition. That number is expected to climb to 59.4 million, or 18.2% of the population, by the year 2020, according to a new report published as a collaborative effort between the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Arthritis Foundation, and the American College of Rheumatology. Approximately 12% of all Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Nine out of 10 migraine sufferers report they can’t “function normally” during days in which a Migraine strikes. Three out of 10 migraine sufferers require bed rest when suffering from a migraine. In 2001, over 13 million people saw a physician for the treatment of back pain.  According to the NIH, 65 to 80% of all people have back pain at some time in their life. Half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. Back pain costs an estimated $50 billion each year.

Take the opportunity to read about the various and effective natural methods for relieving pain. There are so many tools available to the natural health practitioner, and all of them have value. There really is no “right” way to address pain naturally. Actually there are many “right” ways to treat pain—it is really just a question of the practitioner’s style. Things like chiropractic, acupuncture, herbal therapies, essential fatty acids and even a change in diet can provide relief—without dangerous side-effects. There are so many good, natural tools that are of value; some practitioners use magnets, electricity, therapeutic exercises, energy work and there are so many hands-on approaches to relieving pain that they cannot all be listed here. Doesn’t it make sense to first try something safe and effective to provide relief?