The conventional model of pain management relies on medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, opiates such as Vicodin and Codiene, “muscle-relaxant” medications related to Valium (which actually act as “brain-relaxants”), and other potentially addictive and risky medications. Physical therapy and manual manipulation can often be beneficial for musculoskeletal pain, but if the damaged structures do not heal or have been inhibited from healing by disease or anti-inflammatory medication, these also may fail to provide long-term benefit. When these approaches fail, cortisone (steroid) injections are often recommended, often with very limited benefit, given the relatively few structures that can actually be cured from the administration of steroids.
It is somewhat ironic that antiinflammatory medication has become a standard medical treatment, given its effect on the body. It should not be surprising that many studies have demonstrated that these medications actually inhibit the healing process and eventually weaken tissues in the body, even leading to a worsening of the “arthritis” that many people are told to take these medications for in the first place.
As these mostly well-intended attempts to control pain begin to fail, the next phase of treatment tends to progress towards destructive, expensive, and risky procedures, such as surgery, implantation of morphine pumps, implantation of stimulating devices to block the sensation of pain, and procedures to destroy the nerves that conduct the sensation of pain. It is absolutely clear that surgery and the above procedures have their place; unfortunately, these approaches are utilized far too early in the course of an illness, without attempts made to promote a more natural healing and strengthening process. The justification for destructive procedures is “there is nothing else that can be done,” a statement usually made by a physician who is not skilled in connective tissue repair with reconstructive injections. Sadly, many destructive procedures are performed with minimal recognition of the actual source of the pain.
© David Harris, M.D.
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