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Pain Relief Options for Therapy at Home
by Amy Baxter MD
Up until 4 weeks ago, the loudest healthcare drumbeat centered around the 50 million people with chronic pain and the opioid crisis. For an additional 50 million people with injuries or post-operative pain, and particularly the 20 million stably maintained on pain meds, the crisis has changed. How can you care for pain under quarantine?
Increasingly, we’re learning that pain is the body’s opinion of how safe it is. When you’re happy and distracted, the body ignores pain; pay attention to pain, it gets worse. When you’re afraid of what pain means, it gets worse. When you’re focused on pain, you’re afraid you can’t get any more medicine, and you CAN’T LEAVE THE HOUSE, pain, fear, and depression skyrocket. This is what I call the Pain-Fear-Focus triad.
Traditional medicine shows empathy with a prescription. Over the past three years I’ve been researching and collecting comprehensive options that work for pain that don’t require a doctor. Patients need a reasonable understanding of what pain is, a reasonable expectation of how long pain will last, and an evidence-based list of what they can try while they wait to heal or get on with their lives in spite of pain.
As I researched a list of options to choose from, I found myself falling into old physician habits of skepticism. While blaming scientists and doctors for not giving options, I scoffed at the Pulsed Electromagnetic Machines selling for 10K, and almost gave an erroneous quote to Reader’s Digest about how Epsom salts were silly. They’re not. (They are basically magnesium, which has tons of data.)
In this time of Covid-19 quarantine, I’ll be posting suggestions to address Pain, Fear, And Focus. While I’ll make sure there is research to back up the safety, I’ll include some options even if there is less data. There are plenty of things that may make you feel better but don’t have data, but there are so many WITH data let’s just start there.
Here’s a “What Works for Pain” download to start with - And hey -
It’s going to be fine.