Pain is a widespread and often debilitating experience that affects millions of people across the globe. While medication is the most common approach to managing pain, natural pain management methods have gained significant attention in recent years.
Still, proponents of medications argue that it’s an effective method to suppress pain and can help get immediate results. However, natural pain management can also offer similar benefits without causing any detrimental side effects.
Are you finding it difficult to choose between natural pain management and medication-based pain management? This article will explain the similarities and differences between these two approaches to pain relief in order to help you make an informed choice.
We also include some statistics to help you compare the results of natural pain management and the medication-based approach.
The Difference Between Natural and Medication-Based Pain Relief
In this section, we will explain the different approaches to relieving pain and which natural methods are commonly used, and which medications are usually used.
What Is Natural Pain Management?
Simply put, natural pain management refers to using non-pharmacological methods, meaning no conventional medicine, to reduce pain. This approach is generally considered safe and non-invasive and may be an effective alternative to medication.
As the methods are entirely natural, there is no need to rely on any type of pills, tonics, injections, or other medications. Instead, a medical professional helps you practice several techniques to relieve pain while delivering services like chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy to alleviate the pain and treat the root cause of the condition.
How Does Natural Pain Management Work?
The methods and techniques used during natural pain management work by targeting the underlying causes of the pain and stimulating the body’s self-healing processes.
These methods activate various mechanisms within the body to help alleviate pain without the potential side effects and risks associated with taking medications.
Here are some ways natural pain management works:
- Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a common cause of pain, particularly with conditions such as arthritis and musculoskeletal injury. Many natural pain management techniques help activate the body’s anti-inflammatory properties that work to reduce inflammation and ease pain.
- Increases Circulation
Better circulation can help deliver nutrients and oxygen to damaged tissues, promoting healing and reducing pain. Techniques like massage therapy and physical therapy are effective in improving circulation and promoting healing.
- Your Body Naturally Releases Endorphins
Endorphins are your body’s natural painkillers and can be released through movement, which is a huge part of natural pain management. These hormones help block pain signals and provide a sense of well-being and relaxation.
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can exacerbate pain, so finding ways to manage these emotions can be beneficial. Mind-body therapies such as meditation and deep breathing are highly effective in reducing stress and anxiety, which can help manage pain.
- Improves Overall Health
Natural pain management techniques can help improve overall health, which can contribute to quicker pain relief. Certain exercises can help improve cardiovascular health and immunity response, while mind-body techniques can help improve mood and reduce stress.
Natural pain management techniques work without exposing your body to medications or drugs. Along with reducing pain, these holistic therapies promote relaxation and improve your overall well-being.
What Techniques/Methods Are Used During Natural Pain Management?
Chiropractors and physical therapists use several methods to alleviate the pain naturally while treating the underlying condition. Each technique used in natural pain management offers some unique benefits, and collectively these benefits improve your overall health.
The following are some of the most common natural pain management techniques and methods:
- Physical Therapy
Attending a chiropractor appointment often involves a combination of therapies and techniques, one of which might be physical therapy. Physical therapy entails doing supervised exercises and stretches that help the body heal naturally while increasing overall strength and flexibility. It also allows for proper healing by promoting circulation and tissue repair in order to reduce inflammation and swelling. With a comprehensive physical therapy program in place, you will be able to get the best out of each chiropractic appointment. It can be effective for relieving your pain and restoring movement in affected areas of the body.
- Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is another natural pain management technique that can be effective for managing certain types of pain, particularly neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and knee pain. Chiropractors are trained healthcare professionals who specialize in treating several conditions through manual adjustments and manipulations of the spine and other joints in the body.
Chiropractic therapies work by realigning the spine and joints to reduce pain and improve function.
- Massage Therapy
Massage therapy can be an effective way to manage pain caused by muscle or joint conditions. It’s also beneficial for reducing muscle tension and improving circulation.
Chiropractors and massage therapists at the Oak Brook Medical Group use different types of massage techniques, including deep tissue massage and trigger point massage, depending on the type of pain and individual preferences.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Pain Management
- Lower Risk of Side Effects
Most natural pain management techniques, such as chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, and massage therapy, have little to no risk of side effects. Medications, on the other hand, always have a long list of potential side effects.
Natural pain management can be particularly beneficial for individuals at higher risk of complications from medications due to other conditions. It’s also great for those who simply prefer a more natural approach to pain management.
- Promotes Overall Health and Well-being
The techniques and methods used by therapists and natural pain management experts generally promote overall health. You can expect relief from stress, anxiety, hypertension, and other similar conditions that affect your physical and mental health.
Natural pain management techniques, such as massage and physical therapy, can be relatively affordable compared to medications or more expensive treatments. Many insurance companies will cover all or a portion of these natural therapies.
- Can Be Personalized to Your Individual Needs
These natural treatment plans can be tailored to an individual’s specific needs and preferences. For example, different types of exercises, dietary changes, holistic medicine, and nutritional supplements can be recommended based on your underlying conditions and lifestyle.
- It May require More Time and Effort
Natural pain management might require more time and effort compared to taking medication. This can be especially challenging for people with busy schedules or limited mobility.
- It Might Not be Effective for All Types of Pain
If you have a severe condition, going the natural way may not be the best decision. In such conditions, your body needs external support, which can be provided by medications and other treatments suggested by doctors.
What Is Medication-Based Pain Relief?
Medication-based pain relief refers to a pain management system that requires the intervention of medications. There are many types of pain medications a practitioner can recommend depending on the severity of the pain and the condition they are treating.
While using the medication-based approach can bring quicker results, such as relief from pain, you must use them responsibly and under the guidance of a healthcare provider. In addition, medication-based pain relief may not be appropriate for all individuals or all types of pain. It is important to work with a medical professional to determine the most appropriate medical treatment for your specific needs.
How Does Medication-Based Pain Relief Work?
Pain medications target different mechanisms in the body, depending on the type and severity of pain. When you take a pill, it blocks and reduces the transmission of pain signals that are sent to the brain.
In that way, you get relief from pain. However, this relief doesn’t mean the medication has treated the root cause of the issue. It has only blocked the pain signals for some time. Once the effect of the medicine starts to diminish, you’ll need to take another pill to suppress the renewed pain.
What Medications Are Used for Pain Relief?
Below we’ve listed the different classes of pain medications and what your body experiences after taking these drugs.
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, work by reducing inflammation in the body. Inflammation is responsible for causing pain and swelling. By reducing inflammation, NSAIDs help alleviate pain.
NSAIDs also work by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that are involved in the body’s response to pain and inflammation.
These medicines interrupt the pain signals your brain receives. It is not a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and doesn’t actually reduce inflammation. Instead, it works in the brain to reduce the perception of pain.
Drugs like morphine and oxycodone bind to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which reduces the transmission of pain signals to the brain. These medicines are often used for severe pain, such as pain after surgery, cancer pain, or pain from a serious injury.
- Antidepressants and Anticonvulsants
Certain types of antidepressants and anticonvulsants (for example, duloxetine and gabapentin) can be used to treat chronic pain. These medications target the nervous system to decrease pain signals and can be effective in treating the symptoms of several conditions that cause chronic pain.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Medication-Based Pain Relief
- Quick and Effective
Medication-based pain relief can be quick and effective, especially for acute pain. You can expect to experience relief within minutes or hours.
- Can Provide Targeted Relief
Medications can be targeted to specific types of pain, such as NSAIDs for pain caused by inflammation, opioids for severe pain, and antidepressants for chronic pain.
- High Risk of Side Effects
All medications have the potential for causing side effects, and pain medications are no exception. The side effects can range from mild, such as drowsiness or upset stomach, to more serious, such as anxiety, stomach bleeding, and even addiction.
- Risk of Dependence
Some pain medications, particularly opioids, can be habit-forming. Taking too much of them or taking them too frequently can easily lead to dependence or addiction.
- Can Mask Underlying Conditions
Pain medications can mask underlying conditions or injuries, making it more difficult to diagnose and treat the underlying problem.
- May Not Address the Root Cause of Pain
Pain medications can provide temporary relief, but may not address the underlying cause of pain, such as inflammation, nerve damage, or a serious medical condition.
Is Natural Pain Management More Effective Than Medications? Here’s What the Statistics Say
Pain is a common experience for many people and there are a variety of ways to manage it. While medication-based pain relief is a widely accepted approach, there is an increasing interest in natural pain management methods. But which approach is more effective? To answer this question, we delved into the statistics.
Natural Pain Management
Various research studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of natural pain management methods in treating acute and chronic pain symptoms.
- For instance, a 2012 abstract study found that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic pain, showing a significant reduction in pain intensity and improved physical function.
- Additionally, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that non-pharmacologic interventions like spinal manipulation, acupuncture, and mindfulness-based stress reduction are effective in treating chronic low back pain. Furthermore, spinal manipulation was found to show improvement in pain and mobility in the lower back after 6 weeks.
- A research article published by BMC Primary Care revealed that patients who used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for chronic musculoskeletal pain had a higher intention to continue using these treatments for pain relief.
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction was found to be effective in reducing pain intensity and improving physical functioning in patients with arthritis, back/neck pain, or two or more comorbid pain conditions, according to an abstract study.
- In a study published by Gallup, 78% of Americans choose to try other methods of pain management before they take pain medication. More Americans are relying on treating the root cause of their pain rather than masking it with medication-based relief.
- Furthermore, a National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) survey reported that almost 20 million adults had chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation as a natural health approach for pain management, highlighting the growing interest in alternative therapies.
Overall, these studies demonstrate the effectiveness of natural pain management methods and highlight the potential benefits of incorporating these approaches into your pain management plan. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your specific needs.
Medication-Based Pain Relief
Medication-based pain relief has been a commonly used approach for managing chronic pain. Conversely, recent studies have highlighted the potential risks and negative consequences associated with the long-term use of pain medications.
- According to a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 115,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2017, and the number of non-fatal overdoses is significantly higher. Additionally, an abstract study revealed that opioid use disorder affects more than 2.1 million Americans, with men being more susceptible to developing this disorder.
- In contrast, it has been revealed that people who seek out chiropractic treatments first have about a 64% less chance of getting prescribed pain medication. Seeing a chiropractor initially will decrease the need for pain medications and lower the chance of becoming reliant on prescription drugs.
- A detailed study published in June 2016 found that the use of pain-relief medications for chronic pain is associated with a greater risk of depression, anxiety, and poor quality of life.
- Additionally, it has been found that only 12% of Americans consider pain medication to be a very effective treatment option for neck and back pain, while 68% describe physical therapy as a very effective treatment method. More Americans are now discovering the variety of benefits of a low-risk and high-reward method of treating pain as it has also been shown that 78% of people would prefer to seek other alternative therapies to address their pain before receiving pain medication.
- Similarly, a review study published in BMJ Journals demonstrated that chronic pain patients who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have a higher likelihood of developing gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and bleeding.
- Moreover, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that about 18 women die every day in the United States due to prescription painkiller overdose, highlighting the seriousness of the opioid epidemic.
While medication-based pain relief can be effective, these studies demonstrate the potential risks and negative consequences associated with the long-term use of pain medications.
It is important to consider alternative approaches, including natural pain management methods, to manage chronic pain and reduce the risk of adverse effects associated with the long-term use of pain medications.
At Oak Brook Medical Group, we firmly believe that pain should be treated in a natural way by treating the root cause of the problem. Therefore, we use pain management techniques that are all-natural, non-invasive, and have zero downtime.
What Common Conditions Does Oak Brook Medical Group Treat?
At Oak Brook Medical Group, we can treat a wide range of conditions using natural pain management techniques. These therapies do offer relief from pain, however, they are intended to treat the root cause of the condition. Plus, there is little to no risk of any potential side effects.
Here are some common conditions we can treat:
Headaches are a common condition that can affect people of all ages. In its worst stages, headaches can also lead to stress, anxiety, and sleep issues. Our chiropractors use natural pain management techniques to treat the pain.
Through spinal adjustments, we can improve alignment and reduce inflammation in the neck and back muscles, which causes tension and headaches.
- Neck Pain
Several factors, such as poor posture, muscle injuries, and strain, contribute to neck pain. A report suggests that up to 70% of US adults will experience neck pain that interferes with their daily activities during their lifetime.
Our chiropractic specialists use manual techniques for treating pain to improve spinal alignment and increase blood flow and nerve function, reducing pain and discomfort. By working on the tight neck muscles, we can provide relief from chronic pain and help you feel better.
- Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a prevalent condition that might be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle.
In order to get relief from back pain, most patients turn to natural pain management techniques. Our chiropractors offer a proven non-invasive and drug-free pain management approach to alleviate lower back pain and related symptoms.
At Oak Brook Medical Group, we assess the severity of the whiplash injury and develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Our therapists use natural pain management techniques such as chiropractic adjustment, massage therapy, cold laser therapy, and other alternative methods to treat the condition.
- Herniated Disc and Sciatica
Both herniated discs and sciatica can take a toll on your lifestyle. You may experience excruciating pain while performing daily-life activities. We use several natural methods to stop the pain and alleviate other symptoms of these medical conditions. (Watch our expert chiropractor in action treating sciatica using natural pain management techniques.)
Besides the conditions mentioned above, our highly-trained and certified chiropractors can also treat auto injuries, chronic pain, knee pain, pinched nerves, and more using natural pain management treatments.
We first assess the condition to determine its severity and to help you understand the results you can expect. In addition to delivering the treatments, our therapists might recommend some exercises you can perform at home to experience relief from pain.
Why You Should Choose Oak Brook Medical Group
As a natural pain management center, we offer a variety of non-invasive and drug-free techniques to help alleviate pain and improve your overall health and wellness.
Here are some of the reasons why you may want to choose our holistic methods for your pain management needs:
- Board-certified doctors and licensed therapists
- Personalized treatment plans
- Non-invasive and drug-free techniques
- Evidence-based treatments
- Holistic approach to health and wellness
- State-of-the-art facility
Discover Holistic Pain Management Solutions at Oak Brook Medical Group
At Oak Brook Medical Group, we believe in using natural methods for managing pain and treating a variety of conditions. Our approach is grounded in holistic therapies, chiropractic treatment, and relaxation techniques that have been extensively studied and researched for their effectiveness. Our top priority is to provide our patients with the highest quality care, personalized to meet their unique needs.
If you’re struggling with getting relief from pain, we encourage you to reach out to us. To get started, simply fill out our book online form or call us at 630-317-7478 to schedule an appointment.