What is pain relief, what options do you have and what is the future of pain relief?

Making waves in the elderly community with a more holistic approach to pain relief

It’s 2021. The worlds population has begun to open its eyes to the possibilities of natural and alternative pain relief options beyond the pharmaceutical approach.

From holistic therapies such as reflexology or massage to natural biologically based treatments and homeopathy, the global demand for pain relief increases daily.

With a plethora of options now available we look at what advancements there are in this field, the future of alternative therapies and how certain pain relief techniques are making waves within the elderly community in particular. 

As explained by the British Pain Society, Pain in older people is highly prevalent and widely accepted as something to be expected and regarded as ‘normal’ in later life. Hence, suffering associated with persistent pain in older people often occurs without the appropriate assessment and treatment.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) quote [1] that “20% of all adults suffer from chronic pain.” Chronic pain such as joint pain or arthritis limits the persons functional ability adversity effecting their quality of life. Yet, with all the advancements in science, we have a lot to learn about the symptoms, treatments and prevention of pain itself.

Musculoskeletal disorders such as degenerative spine or arthritis are the most common cause of chronic pain in the elderly. Other causes of pain commonly reported include ischemic limb pain, neuropathic pain and pain caused by various forms of treatments.

Non-pharmacological approaches to healthcare within the elderly are considered particularly important as older people have a lower frequency of adverse reactions to more natural and holistic approaches that when compared to pharmacologic medicines and treatments.

Advancements in technologies and a more holistic approaches to health and wellbeing can be seen across the world; with the NHS in the UK now recommending techniques outside of more traditional clinical medicines to provide forms of pain relief therapy.* Gone are the days where taking a painkiller is the only recommended form of action.

With many pain killers on the market not developed for long term continuous use and although many admit to taking paracetamol

What is pain?

Definition: Pain is a highly unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness or injury.

There are three categories of pain which effect many of us. It is often the case that the source of this pain is unseen or misunderstood and this represents a challenge for all within the medical communities.

Short-term pain is called 'Acute Pain’ and results from injuries such as stubbing your toe, or worse - breaking a leg.

Long-term pain is called ‘Persistent or Chronic Pain’ and examples of this type of pain include the pain associated with arthritic joints.

Finally, there is a form of pain called ‘Recurrent’ or ‘Intermittent Pain’ such as tooth ache or migraines. As the name suggests, these causes of pain come-and-go.

A traditional approach in managing pain

In most cases when pain is first experienced, the person is most likely to self administer Acetaminophen / Paracetamol. This is widely accepted as the safest form of pain killer medication available however this form of pain relief is advised for mild to moderate relief and although ideal for relieving mild conditions such as osteoarthritis and lower back pain it is less effective than other pain relief options when used for chronic inflammatory pain such as rheumatoid arthritis.

When Acetaminophen / Paracetamol isn’t providing the relief as required many will resort to using NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) medications such as Ibuprofen or Naxproxen. NSAIDs are developed for short-term use only and to support inflammatory conditions but they do contain health warnings which are particular relevant in elderly patients, which includes a heightened risk of heart attacks or strokes. Studies have established gastrointestinal, renal, and cardiovascular side effects can be seen with the use of NSAID pain killer medications. One study [3] on reactions to NSAID medications showed that NSAID related side effects as the cause for hospitalisation in 23.5% of elderly patients. It is this reason that many elderly patients look towards more natural or holistic approaches to managing their pain.

Another approach to stronger pain killer medication is the use of opioids. These are widely considered for managing severe and acute pain and for short periods of time only. Opioids such as morphine are widely used but cannot be used alongside other forms of pain killer medication and provide significant side effects.

There are many other forms of pain relief therapy available within the medicinal market such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, inhibitors, benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants - all of which provide an important approach to supporting pain.

New approaches to managing pain

Medicinal use of cannabinoids is now legal and available on prescription in many western countries. In November 2018, the legal status of cannabis was amended to allow legally prescribe cannabis-based medicinal products to people with an exceptional clinical need. This natural form of medication, derived from the cannabis plant, can be used in two forms CB1r and CB2r. [4] CB1 receptors are found in the nervous systems, bone, heart, lungs, liver and reproductive systems whilst CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and nervous system. Early conditions which are being prescribed cannabinoids include chemotherapy-induced nausea, neuropathic pain and multiple sclerosis.

Early studies show significant impact that cannabinoids have on managing pain with one study carried out on elderly patients greater than 65 years of age showing a marked reduction in pain (and a better safety profile) across various conditions [5]. Although side effects which include euphoria, fatigue, anxiety, sedation, psychosis, dizziness and slower cognitive skills are reported it would appear that these side effects are far easier to manage with the elderly that more traditional forms of treatment. 

What is clear is that CBD cannabinoid medication is on the rise and has the potential to become a widely used form of pain therapy moving forward. With some pharmaceutical companies now patenting the exact seeds used to grow the plants it would appear that the monetisation of this plant via the pharmaceutical industry is now possible and as such huge investment is being put into this field of study.

Another form of therapy now available is the introduction of micronised NSAIDS. These are developed using nanotechnology to increase the surface area of the drug and thus their absorption which when compared to normal NSAID formulations allows a far lower dose. The FDA has recently arrived two forms of micronised NSAID specifically for use to help pain with osteoarthritis pain and hip or knee pain. One early study [6] showed that a 33% reduction in administered levels was achieved. This creates significant interest within the community and has led to many new and advance studies being carried out.

A more natural approach to managing pain

Recently the medial community has seen strong evidence for the benefits in using a holistic approach to managing pain. A holistic approach looks at the whole person considering their physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being whilst focussing on the persons wellness and not just their condition. Holistic approaches more traditionally have been used alongside prescribed medications and have shown to work when more traditional treatments have failed. They provide far fewer side effects than more traditional forms of treatment, have a lower chance of dependance and can be entirely tailored to the individuals condition.

Holistic approaches to pain management are varied and include treatments such as acupuncture and massage to herbal concoctions and dietary approaches.

It takes decades for many of these treatments to obtain clinical support, many of which require rigorous clinical studies and trials which are often extremely expensive and controlled by the pharmaceutical industries. It took several decades for acupuncture to be accepted by mainstream science - yet now is a widely accepted treatment recommended by health services around the world.

As stated by the National Institute of Health, “In one of the largest clinical trials to date to test the safety and efficacy of acupuncture, NIH-supported researchers found that acupuncture significantly reduced pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee when used as a complement to conventional therapy. Other studies and reviews demonstrated that acupuncture provides relief for vomiting and nausea from chemotherapy, shows possible effect for tension headaches, and that acupuncture and simulated acupuncture can both provide relief for those suffering from low-back pain.”

Dietary approaches to treating pain are also gathering significant support and it is no secret that ‘we are what we eat’. Holistic dietary approaches look at the persons diet and what foods that contain anti-inflammatory agents are being taken which can help reduce pain levels by reducing inflammation. Many mainstream doctors now look at a more holistic dietary approach when working with Colitis or IBS sufferers.

Advanced Magnetic Technology for natural pain relief

A new addition to the magnetic therapy market is the introduction of ‘Advanced Magnetic Technology’. This form of magnetic therapy is making waves across the elderly community as a device externally worn by each patient without the negative side effects associated with other forms of treatment.

Advanced Magnetic Technology creates a series of low-frequency magnetic energy fields create a spinning effect around the subject. This non invasive form of magnetic approach has been developed to work at a cellular level, creating a series of energy fields which impact the entire system by providing an invisible rebalancing effect throughout the body. 'Bioresonance' in action. 

The revolutionary approach to magnetic energy created by advanced magnetic materials help rebalance the cells frequencies back to their natural state. This process is known as ‘biomagnetic rebalancing’ and works by oscillating the charged particles to extremely high speeds, naturally arranging them into an organised spiralling motion and providing the ‘rebalancing’ effect of their resonant state – this is bioresonance in action and is a clear advancement in how we use magnetic fields to benefit our health.

After many years of snake oil salesman, magic faeries and witch doctors recommending this-herb-and-that, the magnetic therapy market is widely misunderstood and in some cases disrespected following unsuccessful studies using products with zero development with their magnetic fields, simply using static magnets as part of their design. 

Advanced Magnetism however is set to revolutionise how people non-invasively support their ongoing pain levels. These technologies have invested considerable resources in understanding the science and physics of magnetism and the benefits in this scientific approach have proved highly successful.

World leaders in this field, StreamZ Global, have recently released a range of products for people and their animals. [7] With early studies showing significant advantages in using advanced magnets to treat a variety of health conditions and pain this side of the industry is set for further investment and studies. 

 

In conclusion, treating chronic pain within our elderly communities still creates many long-term challenges. Holistic and less invasive forms of therapy are pf significant interest whether being used alongside traditional medications or instead of. With the introduction of targeted pain therapy and newer technologies such as advanced magnetism we hope that treating chronic pain in the future becomes easier and safer. Some of these technologies require the backing of studies and trials which in turn requires the support of medical communities and centres - does the pharmaceutical industry really want us to stop buying their packets of pain killers? The challenge to more natural approaches is clear but so is the benefit.


Dr Montaser El-Sayed, clinical and holistic GP.  _______________________________________________________________________

[1] British Pain Society reference: https://www.britishpainsociety.org/static/uploads/resources/files/book_pain_in_older_age_ID7826.pdf

[2] NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/10-ways-to-ease-pain/

[3] Study: Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs or acetaminophen for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee? A systematic review of evidence and guidelines. http://www.jrheum.org/content/

[4] Classification of cannabinoid receptors. Howlett AC, Barth F, Bonner TI, et al. https://pharmrev.aspetjournals.org/content/54/2/161.long

[5] Brain neuronal CB2 cannabinoid receptors in drug abuse and depression: from mice to human subjects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241668/

[6] Nano-formulated NSAIDs: a new dawn for safe use. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22314121/

[7] StreamZ Global Advanced Magnetism, https://www.streamz-global.com/pages/advanced-magnetic-technology

NOTE: articles published within StreamZ blog are the opinion of the author and should not be deemed a suitable substitute for the advice of a qualified health care professional. Do not disregard or avoid professional medical advice due to content published within.

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