Can Light & Electrons Provide Opioid-free Chronic Pain Management?


Opioid-based pain relievers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone are effective at controlling pain, but they are also highly addictive medications. Physicians are increasingly reluctant to prescribe these systemic medications that can lead to dependence and addiction. Patients who become tolerant to these types of medications can eventually require more opioid pain relievers to control their discomfort, and this can cause a spiral into a cycle of drug addiction that is devastating to their lives and families.

Chronic Pain Management

The Chronic Pain Epidemic

Chronic pain is a difficult reality for many people with medical conditions such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes and backaches being common reasons for ongoing suffering. Pain can be very destructive to a patient’s life, and it can cause job loss, family stress and difficulty completing normal activities. Ongoing discomfort can also lead to other difficult health problems such as sleeping disorders and depression. The need for pain relief is valid, and several natural, drug-free remedies can be very effective for improving comfort without the risk of opiate addiction, which often leads to the necessity of drug detox. Light, electrons and meditation can be used for improving pain in conjunction with opioid-free medications that are based on natural products.

Focusing on Light Therapy

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada have been studying the use of optogenetics for pain relief. By applying focused light to the area of discomfort, the brain’s response to pain can be controlled in mice. The researchers bred mice with a light-sensitive trait that made neurons more sensitive to light due to proteins called opsins. When exposed to yellow light, the opsins reduced the level of bioelectric activity in the cells, shut off the neurons and decreased the mice’s sensitivity to heat and touch. The growing field of optogenetics is focusing in on potential uses for humans with pain relief based on this type of research. The ability to treat only the area of pain without systemic side effects shows particular promise, as does the ability to control the intensity and duration of the treatment. Researchers continue to study the options for making human neurons photosensitive and reactive to light in a therapeutic way.

Electron Stimulation in the Brain

Another study involving the use of electrons is the work of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington. With a goal of treating chronic pain in humans, the study involves deep-brain stimulation by a wireless, electronic device. This now-patented process is very different from other types of electrical stimulation due to the use of wireless technology which allows patients to move freely while being treated. The treatment affects the ventral tegmental area of the brain which is associated with both reward and addiction.

The stimulation allows the brain to release dopamine, and it creates feelings of well-being and pleasure which can also assist in the reduction of pain. This method may be available for humans treatment very soon, and it is controlled by the user to adapt the amount of relief based on individual need. Because many other FDA approved electrical stimulation devices for other types of neurological disorders have already been approved, researchers believe this product will be able to rapidly move forward to become available for patients in need of pain relief.

Meditation as a Therapeutic Benefit

Because pain is the brain’s response to a stimulus, meditation and relaxation techniques have also been studied as a way to effectively control discomfort. While many natural pain remedies are known to work to improve health and well-being, science is putting the research together that finally explains why these methods work. The Wake Forest School of Medicine has conducted a human study that measured the levels of pain in people who were asked to meditate while experiencing noxious heat, and the study revealed that participants experienced less intense discomfort when asked to relax during the course of the research. The study also suggests that pairing medication and meditation therapy is beneficial, and one type of treatment will not inhibit the benefits of the other. Adding the practice of meditation and relaxation to a pain management protocol may be more effective than treatment with medication alone.

Herbs, Spices and Foods to Reduce Pain and Inflammation

Natural remedies such as a healthy diet and therapeutic herbs can also reduce inflammation in the body that can lead to the development of chronic pain. Herbs such as boswellia and arnica can be effectively used to control inflammation; boswellia is often used for arthritis and digestive issues, while arnica is well known as a topical ointment for muscle soreness or sports injuries.

Olive and coconut oil are commonly valued for their natural anti-inflammatory benefits. Both can be added to food for internal benefits, and they can also be used for skin, hair and beauty care. Because they are easily added to many foods, it is simple to incorporate both into a healthy diet.

Spices such as ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and cloves can all be useful for reducing pain and inflammation. Ginger is recognized for its ability to relieve nausea and stomach discomfort; both ginger and cinnamon are known to provide benefits for reducing chronic pain, such as arthritis. Turmeric and cloves are both effective for toothaches, and turmeric is known to be useful for many types of aches, including muscle pain and arthritis.

Fruits can also contribute to pain relief. Blueberries can treat and prevent infection in the urinary tract with tannins that eliminate bacteria. Both cherries and blueberries contain antioxidants, and cherries have been credited with improving the inflammation of gout. Lemons are used for topical relief with raw juice applied directly to the area of pain.

A Combination of Remedies for Relief

Due to the varied properties of natural remedies for pain relief, the best solutions may be ones that effectively combine multiple therapies and their benefits to address inflammation and discomfort. Each person and type of pain may respond differently to therapeutic treatments, so the benefits obtained by natural pain relievers may be different for everyone. With new research on the horizon, science is making many breakthroughs into discovering new treatments that are certain to reduce the need for opioid-based medications while also bringing relief to patients who suffer from chronic pain.

Author Bio:

I am James Jones I have been writing articles for last 6 years related to different Fashion Blogs. My articles has been published on different renowned media it gives me pleasure while writing for technology. In my free time I spend time on traveling and reading

This post was written by a Guest Author. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to Contribute towards the growth of Healthable, please check our Contributor Page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our growing community.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of