Jason E. Barker, N.D.,
and Chris D. Meletis, N.D.
Controlling pain in patients is perhaps one of the physician’s greatest challenges. Pain, quite often, is not the disease but is almost always a symptom of imbalance in one or more areas of the body. Because pain tends to be the greatest motivator for a person to seek medical care, this symptom often takes precedence over any others.
Pain, as discussed in this article, refers to that which is derived from the physical realm (to separate it from mental, emotional, and psychologic types of pain). More specifically, pain derived from soft tissues often has the best chance of being treated most efficaciously, depending on whether its cause can be discerned. After all, one of the main tenets of naturopathic medicine is “find the cause.”
However, this approach is easily overlooked by some physicians who help patients deal with symptoms of pain, regardless of duration. Pain management from a naturopathic perspective includes several aspects of treatment in addition to using medicines that elicit a physiologic change in the patient’s perspective of pain.
It is true that conventional pain medicines (many of which are derived from plant substances) offer strong and fast- acting modes of treatment and are quite useful in instances when pain is unbearable for patients (e.g., traumatic injuries, cancer).