New Thinking on the Treatment of Pain

Pain doesn’t seem to scare a lot of people, but they’e usually not the ones suffering it. Those who live with chronic pain will go nearly to the ends of the earth to relieve their torment.
That is one reason to be thankful we live in New Mexico – a state not quite at the end of the earth – which recognizes and licenses effective pain treatments that other states do not. One of these is naprapathic medicine, a manipulative therapy that, like chiropractic, treats musculoskeletal problems without drugs and with the twin goals of increasing function and decreasing pain.
Studies demonstrate the effectiveness of naprapathy in treating pain by manipulating ligaments, tendons and fascia to facilitate spinal alignment. Evidence is mounting that such successful pain treatment greatly reduces stress and the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, which troubles so many of our brave veterans.
In fact, the New Mexico House of Representatives in its most recent session passed a Memorial – similar to a resolution – that requests the state Veterans Services Department to perform a valid study on the benefits of naprapathy in treating PTSD.
Healthcare takes many forms these days, and successful outcomes are reported with multiple treatment modalities. However, let’s not forget the old punch line that “the operation was a success, but the patent died.”
A patient with chronic back or knee pain can often be treated with surgery, drugs, manipulative therapies or acupuncture. All might have some measure of success. But some may have consequences that are unintended, undesired and dangerous.
In a profession where a guiding principle is “first, do no harm,” the adverse consequences of a particular treatment must always be considered and weighed against other treatments. Lately, however, that has become muddied as treatments seemingly benign and beneficial prove in time to have their downsides.
In the treatment of pain there are multiple benefits and risks to be assessed before a certain path is chosen, and again during treatment should ominous signs occur. Pain medications that may have appeared safe and effective during early clinical trials later have proven to be less-than-ideal therapies.
This is certainly true with timed-release opioids. During clinical trials they seemed less prone to abuse than other medications containing strong narcotics. But experience in the real world showed how easily they could abused. The result was addiction, and even death, for many users who had never been considered likely to misuse drugs.
Today, many in the medical field have turned away from the liberal prescribing of such medications and more to therapies that are natural and safe. For musculoskeletal conditions, manipulative therapies have proven a highly effective alternative to drugs, with a greater likelihood of returning an individual to an active and productive life while avoiding disability and deleterious side effects.
Sure, it seems easier and cheaper to give a patient a prescription than to prescribe a course of physical treatment. In the long run, however, the costs become clearer — for the individual, the healthcare system, and society in general.
As a practitioner of naprapathic medicine, I have seen time and again a patient go from functional disability and chronic, unmanageable pain to productive work and renewed enjoyment of life. A  course of manipulation, of scientific, non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical treatment of the cause of the condition, and not just the symptoms, has brought an individual back to her family, her job,
her favorite activities and personal passions.
It is not logically possible to prove the reason that something never occurs. If you never have a heart attack, was it because you ate Cheerios? If you don’t get the flu, was it the shot that prevented the disease? Nobody can say for certain.
That’s why it’s not easy to establish that certain modalities of healthcare prevent the pain and expense of others. But consider this, if your treatment for pain does not include potentially addictive drugs, that treatment will not make you an addict. That’s a guarantee.
Studies show that manipulative treatment for musculoskeletal pain helps the sufferer become more active, less disabled and more productive. Only New Mexico and Illinois today recognize  naprapathy and license practitioners. We should be happy that this state recognizes the benefits, because ultimately they benefit us all.

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