So much death… So much addiction… So much misery…
It all could have been avoided…
If only doctors hadn’t made a tragic assumption.
Since 1999, more than 400,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses. And that number grows by the hour.
An average of 130 of us die every day from opioids. And every day, 1,000 Americans are rushed to the hospital after overdosing. More than 2 million people in the U.S. are now addicted to opioids.i ii
Since opioid drugs have spawned a public health disaster of such massive proportions, why on earth did doctors keep prescribing them for decades?
The answer is simple…
Physicians figured that if opioid drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone were that addictive, they must get rid of the pain.
A definitive study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows this is false. It found that opioids actually provide less pain relief than over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen and Tylenol.iii iv
It involved 234 patients from Minneapolis-area VA clinics. The patients were experiencing hip or knee arthritis, or stubborn back pain. They were randomly assigned to use either generic versions of opioids or non-opioid drugs for a year.
The opioid patients started on low doses of morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone. They switched to higher doses, long-acting opioids, or fentanyl patches if needed.
The non-opioid group started on acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or similar anti-inflammatory drugs.
Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers Work Better than Opioids
Researchers found that non-opioid drugs actually worked better for pain relief than opioids.
Dr. Erin Krebs led the study. He’s a physician and researcher with the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System. He said the results would likely surprise people “because opioids have this reputation as being really powerful painkillers, and that is not what we found.”
If they don’t work better than less risky pain relievers, there’s no reason to use opioids given “their really nasty side effects—death and addiction,” he added.
Dr. David Reuben is geriatrics chief at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “This is a very important study,” he said. “It will likely change the approach to managing long-term back, hip, and knee pain.”
Other research shows that over-the-counter medicines can also work as well as opioids for treating short-term pain. That includes broken bones, kidney stones or dental work.v
7 Natural Ways to Relieve Your Pain
There are side effect-free natural remedies that offer safe pain relief:
- Avoid inflammatory foods: Processed foods, sugars, grain, alcohol, and MSG increase inflammation.vi
- Exercise: You may not feel much like moving when have back or joint pain. But almost any kind of exercise can help you feel better. Slowly stretching your back muscles can reduce back spasm and pain. Simply walking improves chronic pain in many people. One study found that people who exercise four or more times per week have nearly 30% less back pain.
- Take krill oil: Research shows a krill oil supplement can reduce inflammation by up to 20%. Krill oil also gives you a dose of astaxanthin. This potent antioxidant is 65-times more powerful than vitamin C at fighting inflammation. Take a 300-mg dose of quality krill oil once a day.vii
- Take a stand: Sitting down for too long puts stress on your piriformis muscle. It starts at the lower spine and connects to the upper surface of each femur (thighbone). Prolonged sitting can lead to piriformis syndrome. This condition has many of the same symptoms as a slipped disk. It can even cause nerve damage if you don’t treat it.viii But there’s a simple solution: Stand up for five minutes or so every hour. Standing takes the stress off your back—and your piriformis muscle. One study found that people who stayed standing in the morning had 23% less lower back pain.
- Eat tart cherries: One study found that eating about 20 tart cherries fights inflammatory pain as well or better than a pain-relieving drug.ix If you can’t find organic tart cherries in your supermarket, look for tart cherry extract or juice. It’s widely available online or in health food stores.
- Take willow bark: This ancient natural remedy contains salicin. It’s the same compound in aspirin that relieves pain and inflammation. Besides lower back pain, it’s effective against menstrual cramps, tendonitis, bursitis, and osteoarthritis. Take 1-3 grams.x
- Apply capsaicin: It’s what gives peppers their heat. Many back pain sufferers apply a topical capsaicin ointment during flare-ups.
The opioid epidemic is a tragedy that didn’t have to happen. Not only do these drugs cause addiction and death, they don’t effectively relieve chronic pain. When you’re in pain, reach for a natural, safe solution.
Editor’s Note: Can CBD or medical marijuana relieve your chronic pain? You won’t get straight answers from the mainstream media.
Read our monthly journal Independent Healing to learn which conditions cannabis-based remedies can effectively treat, and which ones they can’t.