CLEVELAND, Ohio. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. It’s the most common cause of long-term disability, and it often leads to depression and painkiller addiction. But what if there was a way to heal the pain without the meds? Martie salt shows us how one renowned hospital is offering an alternative approach that is covered by insurance.
Horse shoeer Chris Wightman has lived a life of adventure and pain.
He said, “My lifestyle is a wanna-be cowboy!”
He’s had knee surgery, compressed discs, sciatica, arthritis, torn rotator cuffs, pinched nerves and tennis elbow. To make matters worse, Chris has a blood vessel and liver condition that makes using pain meds dangerous.
Chris said, “I didn’t have much at my disposal. I was depressed, and i was self-medicating with alcohol.”
But today, Chris’s pain is under control thanks to a unique program offered at the Cleveland Clinic.
It combines alternative approaches like hypnotherapy, yoga, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, Chinese herbal medicine and emotional health training, all in one place.
Josie Znidarsic, DO, staff physician from the Cleveland Clinic, said, “We use everything that we have here to give them as many options as we can.”
An analysis of 29 studies involving nearly 18,000 people found acupuncture led to a 50-percent reduction in pain. A study in the annals of internal medicine showed patients with neck pain who used a chiropractor or exercised were more than twice as likely to be pain-free after 12 weeks than those who took meds.
Znidarsic told Ivanhoe, “We’ve seen people definitely reduce pain medicine. We’ve seen people get rid of their walkers.”
Holistic Psychotherapist from the Cleveland Clinic, Kellie Kirksey, PhD, said, “Sometimes, I cry because it’s miraculous.”
It’s been over a year since Chris has used alcohol or drugs for pain-relief.
He said, “I’m high on life. It absolutely changed my life.”
Doctors believe the Cleveland Clinic’s drug-free pain management program is the only one of its kind in the country. They currently have a waiting list of nearly 100 patients who want to participate, and they are putting together a research report to share their methods with other hospitals.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Field Producer; and Brent Sucher, Editor.
MANAGING PAIN WITHOUT DRUGS
BACKGROUND: The National Institutes of Health states that pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 76.2 million Americans have suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours, and millions more suffer from acute pain. The diversity of pain conditions requires a diverse amount of research and treatment approaches. Pain can be classified as a chronic disease, an obstacle to cancer treatments and can occur in conjunction with other diseases and conditions including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. Infants and children suffering from chronic pain require special attention. They are not always able to describe the exact type, amount or location of the pain that they’re feeling. Discoveries of differences in pain perceptions and responses to treatment by gender have led to new directions of research on the experience and relief of pain. Doctors say medications known as kappa-opioids have provided relief for women but have increased pain for men. NIH supported scientists identified a gene abnormal of an enzyme that reduces sensitivity to acute pain which decreases the risk of chronic pain.
THE STUDY: The NIH is committed to making major discoveries that willl improve the health outcomes for individuals experiencing acute or chronic pain by applying opportunities in genomics and other technologies to improve our understanding of the fundamental causes of pain. This will be accomplished through translating basic laboratory science to new, along with improved, pain treatments and by providing strategic support for the research community to discover more effective pain treatment methods. Soon, genomics and other technologies will be applied in order to understand pain. Advances in basic and clinical genetics are making it possible to both characterize the genetic factors related to pain sensitivity and also develop novel therapeutic approaches. In ongoing pain studies, scientists are using technologies such as microarray-based assays, which are complex genetic and molecular tests, to better understand the mechanisms of pain and analgesia, identify new targets for analgesic drugs to then test the efficacy and adverse reactions of newly developed or currently used drugs to treat pain. Researchers are currently using these technologies to discover the mechanisms by which drugs such as COX inhibitors and neurotropins may relieve pain.
NEW REGULATIONS: Researchers will continue to focus on advancing both biological and behavioral pain management strategies from the research sphere to clinical applications. Innovative ways to categorize and measure pain are currently being studied. Scientists are using computer-assisted technology to develop a novel program that will capture and quantify pain experiences. These types of tools will be combined with existing methods to more accurately and consistently measure pain over time across groups, diseases and conditions.
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