Three weeks ago I was in a single car accident. I hydroplaned on the interstate and hit two guard rails before coming to a stop. I walked away with seatbelt abrasions and bruises and an incredible sense that I was lucky. In the ER, the physician offered me an anti- inflammatory or a stronger Opiod pain medication. I chose the milder option because I wanted to be able to make the best decisions and be able to talk to the state trooper investigating with a clear mind. When my husband arrived to take me home and I knew I could (and should) relax, I did take a stronger pain medication. The next day, I woke up in pain. I chose to go to the chiropractor, started on arnaca tablets, and committed to ice and rest. Over the next week, my options for pain control varied but I was cognizant of my pain level and adjusted accordingly.
There are many options for pain relief on the market. Let’s look at western medicine first. The mildest is are over the counter pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve). They are used for mild to moderate pain and come in many forms including tablets, capsules, and liquid. Even though they do not require a prescription,you should still be very careful and follow the recommended dosing careful. For acetaminophen, the maximum dose for adults is 4g per day. Exceeding this amount or chronic use can lead to liver damage. Likewise for ibuprofen or naproxen, these non-steroidal anti-inflammatories carry a cardiovascular risk with chronic use.
For moderate to severe pain, the above medications may be prescribed in combination products that also contain narcotic components such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. Theses also may have serious side effects with chronic use including dependency or addiction. Let me explain the difference between dependency and addiction. Dependency is a physical need for a medication and withdrawal can cause unwanted side effects. Addiction is uncontrolled craving and use and is a psychological condition. You can have dependency without addiction and vice-versa. While these products are very effective, one must consider their use carefully and be aware of these possibilities.
There are also plenty of alternatives to traditional pain medications. Simple solutions such as ice and/or heat are effective for many injuries. Chiropractic care and massage are also great treatment options especially for those with chronic problems but can help in acute situations as well.
Essential oils may also be an option for treatment. Peppermint oil has a recognized component menthol. This is a common component in many over the counter pain creams and causes both a cooling and local anesthetic effect. Wintergreen oil is also effective because of the methyl salicylate component. This is similar to aspirin. Topically it also may be combined with peppermint and again can have a local anesthetic effect.
There are many options for pain control and it can be a personal choice base on preference or pain tolerance. Work with your health care provider to determine your best course of treatment.
Find your balance and live a Ying Yang Life.