It's hard to believe that North America is still dealing with an overwhelming opioid epidemic. It continues to grow year after year and is fuelled in part by the over-prescribing of opioid pain medications. In the US in 2016, opioids were a factor of 42,249 deaths and 40% of all opioid overdose deaths were the cause of a prescription opioid.
Doctors, family of loved ones, and people across the country affected by the epidemic are desperately looking for solutions to reduce the use of opioids. Instead of prescribing oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl, they are looking for safer and less addictive alternatives to cope with pain. Procedures like non-opioid patches and injections are being used to lessen the chance of patients becoming addicted to their medication.
Naturopathic Doctors are taking notice and using their expertise to help deal with patient pain. ND's are trained to use a variety of natural medicines for the treatment of chronic pain. They understand the important role of pharmaceuticals, but take into account the patients lifestyle, nutrition, work and activities, past stressors and previous injuries. Their priority is to understand pain and treat the underlying cause.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are a group of pain relieving drugs that work by interacting with opioid receptors in the body. They can be made from a poppy plant (morphine) or in a laboratory (fentanyl). When the medication travels through the blood and attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain cells, the cells release signals that muffle the perception of pain and boost feelings of pleasure.
Why Are Opioids Dangerous?
The fact that opioid medication is so effective, is also what makes it so dangerous. When the patient takes low doses, effects of opioids can cause drowsiness. When taken at a higher dose, this can slow down breathing and heart rate, which can sometimes result in death. The addictive feeling of happiness and pleasure often times leads to addiction. Patients can reduce the risk of the dangerous side effects by following exact prescription instructions when taking the medication.
How Naturopaths Can Help
Have you experienced chronic pain? If so, then you know how debilitating it can be. Most people just want a cure and they want it fast. This is why the most common recommendation from conventional medical doctors is prescription opioid painkillers.
Naturopathic doctors are trained to use natural modalities to treat pain, and are taught to start with a non-drug approach to pain management whenever possible. Naturopaths are trained to develop a personal pain management treatment plan for each patient individually. Each plan uses various combinations of dietary and nutritional supplements along with botanical medicine to help with any inflammation and pain. Exercise, physical rehab and mind-body approaches that help to reduce the perception of pain are also in the plan.
Naturopathic doctors understand the value of working closely with conventional and alternative medical providers, like Chiropractors and Acupuncturists. This way they can make proper referrals to fully help with the healing process for the individual. Conventional doctors are now working with ND's to help their patients, where they cannot provide them with the alternative help for their chronic pain they might need.
To book an appointment with a Naturopath at Juniper Family Health please contact the clinic at 778-265-8340 or firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to book online.