When the Cure Is Worse Than the Disease, It’s Time to Look for Alternatives
If you suffer from chronic pain caused by arthritis, degenerative disc disease, or other joint problems, you’ve probably been given medications to treat your symptoms. But in many cases, the drugs you take for pain are worse than the conditions they treat. They can cause unpleasant side effects, addiction, or death.
There is an alternative for the treatment of chronic pain, but many doctors aren’t well educated about it. Or they want you to keep spending on things that put money into the pockets of the pharmaceutical, insurance, and corporate medicine machines. So here’s what you need to know about finding relief from chronic pain without killing yourself with dangerous and even lethal drugs.
How Mainstream Medicine Treats Chronic Pain Today
You’ve likely been through the same exasperating process that millions of other people with chronic pain have experienced. You go to the doctor because your back, knee, or hip pain has started to intrude on the way you live your life, not allowing you to do activities that were once part of your routine. Maybe you’re also not sleeping well at night or losing work time.
The doctor suggests a few lifestyle modifications, like losing weight, which is hard to do when you’re in constant discomfort and can’t exercise. They also shrug and say, “You’re not as young as you used to be,” while suggesting you try over-the-counter products for pain relief. These include acetaminophen, naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin.
The physician might also write you a prescription for any of the other more powerful pharmaceuticals used to treat chronic pain, such as:
- Anticonvulsants (gabapentin, carbamazepine, phenytoin, pregabalin, or topiramate)
- Tricyclic antidepressants, also known as TCAs (amitriptyline, imipramine nortriptyline, and doxepin)
- Selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or SNRI antidepressants (duloxetine)
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI antidepressants (fluoxetine paroxetine, and sertraline)
- Narcotics (codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, morphine, oxycodone, tramadol)
The Risk Profiles of Pain Medications Are Dangerously High
There are major problems with these over-the-counter and prescription drugs (yes, even the ones you can find without a prescription in your drugstore aisle). Aside from the ongoing cost and the fact that they only treat the symptoms of pain, not the cause of pain (more on that below), they carry terrible risks, especially when you take them long-term.
Let’s look at some of the side effects and dangers of these common pain medications. You may have heard some of these “adverse events” listed on television, where these products are frequently advertised. Unfortunately, sometimes the commercials are so ludicrous that they sound like a Saturday Night Live skit.
Non-prescription NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as naproxen and ibuprofen, increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in the stomach. In addition, they can cause acid reflux or make existing reflux worse, so you wind up taking another pill for that, which has its own side effect profile. NSAIDs can also raise blood pressure, which –you guessed it – means you may take another medication to control that.
You can suffer internal organ disease and cardiovascular effects from high doses of NSAIDs as well, making you more vulnerable to heart attack and stroke. Some NSAIDs are potentially harmful enough that the FDA recently strengthened its warnings about these drugs.
Antidepressants have a huge range of common and very undesirable side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain
- Loss of libido
- Increased suicidality
Yes, you read that correctly. Unfortunately, the very drugs that are supposed to improve your mood can, in some instances, provoke thoughts of committing suicide. This is because you can also suffer from serotonin syndrome, where excessive levels of serotonin build up in the body. Serotonin syndrome can cause fever, muscle rigidity, seizures, and death in the worst cases.
Additionally, you can’t simply stop taking antidepressant drugs or you run the risk of a host of other ghastly withdrawal symptoms, which can be fatal.
Anticonvulsants cause many of the same side effects as antidepressants, plus loss of appetite, itching, and swelling. In addition, like antidepressants, they can cause suicidal ideation.
You may have heard about the dangers of narcotics due to the recent opioid epidemic. Narcotics are the same thing as opioids, and they are one of the most hazardous classes of drugs available. They can cause drowsiness, lethargy, nausea, difficulty focusing, and severe constipation, which usually requires a separate treatment.
The side effects of narcotics make it difficult for many people to work, attend school, exercise, or take care of family. For example, you cannot drive or operate heavy machinery, like a lawnmower, while taking opioids.
Even worse, you can develop a tolerance to narcotics, requiring higher and higher doses to get the same level of pain relief. These drugs can become physically and psychologically addictive, which makes it hard to stop taking them. Some people have resorted to stealing and other crimes just to get opioid drugs when they’re not available by other means.
Overdoses of opioids are common, especially at higher doses. Narcotic overdoses are often fatal.
Regenerative Medicine: An Alternative Therapy You Probably Haven’t Been Told About
All of the drugs listed above do not treat the root cause of chronic pain; they only treat the symptoms. This is akin to putting mouse traps around your house rather than plugging the hole where the mice are getting in.
Wouldn’t it be better to find a treatment that improves the parts of your body that are experiencing long-term pain so that the pain goes away? And what if you could do it safely and in a way that didn’t require taking medication every day?
There IS a solution that checks all those boxes: regenerative medicine.
At RegenerWave Clinic, we use regenerative medicine to treat chronic pain and all kinds of joint problems, typically related to aging, injuries, or repetitive manual labor. Regenerative medicine is a natural way to harness the body’s healing methods, and aside from being safer than pharmaceuticals, it works longer too. In addition, while it’s not typically covered by insurance, over time, you spend less because you’re not whittling down your deductible every month, paying out of pocket for outlandish prescription costs and doctor’s visits.
Regenerative medicine works by injecting exosomes into areas of the body that have suffered from structure loss, inflammation, and damage to connective tissue, often with nerve pain involved. Exosomes are similar to stem cells, but they are derived from umbilical cords, so they are a more ethical source for treatment.
Exosomes encourage a range of health benefits in the body, including:
- Fighting inflammation
- Encouraging immunity
- Regeneration of tissue
Regenerative medicine is ideal for conditions like degenerative disc disease, where the cushioning between your vertebrae erodes with aging. Other places where we use regenerative medicine include knee injuries (especially meniscus tears), rotator cuff tears, and tennis elbow.
The injected exosomes used in regenerative medicine prompt the body to start healing on its own. This treatment actually changes the body’s structures and provides long-lasting relief rather than covering up symptoms with medications and enduring dangerous drug side effects. Improvement is usually noted within a few months and may last for years, as exosomes provoke healing cells to keep renewing themselves.
Are You a Candidate for Regenerative Medicine?
Dozens of conditions respond well to regenerative medicine. To see if it’s right for you, set up a consultation with RegenerWave Clinic. We combine a thorough medical history, physical exam, and medical imaging to see if it’s the right therapy to give you relief.
If you haven’t had luck with other therapies and are frustrated by taking harmful medications that barely cover up your symptoms, we want to hear from you. Call RegenerWave today at 954-510-3150, or reach out online to set up your first appointment.