By Acupuncturist Dr. Jeannette “Jett” Kerns, AP, DOM, L.Ac., St. Cloud, FL owner of East Lake Acupuncture
Chronic pain is extremely difficult to manage. Many pain medications that work well for acute pain, fail to adequately manage chronic pain. Chronic pain such as pain from arthritis often leads to complications beyond its physical symptoms. It can affect one’s ability to manage tasks at work or home. For some, the pain is severe enough to prevent participation in hobbies or attend social gatherings and can lead to new or worsened depression.
Unfortunately, in order to manage chronic pain, one must rely on medications that don’t always provide adequate relief. This is because as acute pain develops into chronic pain, the entire structure of the brain’s pain response changes due to a complex interaction between specialized nerves, the spinal cord and the pain centers in the brain, leaving pain sufferers desperate to find a safe way to manage their pain that doesn’t result in unwanted side effects such as organ damage or addiction. It’s this search that often leads people to try acupuncture and alternative medicine.
There are dozens of Chinese herbs, that when combined, create powerful pain-killing and anti-inflammatory formulas that can help repair existing tissue damage and promote stronger joints that are less susceptible to future degeneration, without the toxic side effects of harsh drugs.
Many Chinese herbs have been clinically proven effective; in one study, 310 arthritis patients received a Chinese arthritis formula branded as ArthroPhase®, for one month and by the tenth day, a remarkable 70% reported significant reduction in pain or no pain at all. The results were supported by blood tests for osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. A single Chinse herb, léi gōng téng, went head to head with methotrexate in a two-year study in the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis and was proven to be equal in helping control the disease activity and retard radiological progression in patients with active RA. Another herb, yan hu suo (corydalis) is a relative of the opium poppy that contains alkaloids which are non-addictive yet ease pain. It is often referred to as “herbal morphine.”
Thinking of trying Chinese medicine? Like drugs, herbs can have side effects such as digestive upset, sedation and more. If you’re taking herbs, supplements, prescription or OTC medications please be aware they may interact with each other and should be checked for interactions. For your safety and maximum effectiveness, we recommend consulting an experienced TCM practitioner.