Chronic pain is estimated to affect 20% of people at some point in their lives — and while there’s an entire arsenal of over-the-counter and prescription medications to counteract it, not all of them are safe. What’s worse, American culture has programmed people to believe that pills are the only solution to managing their pain, and in many cases, this so-called “solution” becomes highly addictive and habit-forming.
In fact, you’ve probably heard about the countless lawsuits naming Purdue Pharma for aggressively marketing OxyContin as safe and effective while knowing just how addictive the substances can be. Even common over-the-counter medications can be risky, too. Tylenol, one of the most trusted brands for pain relief, is responsible for 56,000 ER visits, 2,600 hospitalizations, and 458 deaths due to liver failure every year — devastating statistics.
Fortunately, there have been many recent breakthroughs in pain management that are safe, effective, and non-habit forming. Here are just a few of these approaches that treat the source of the pain, instead of merely treating the symptoms with a pill.
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF), affectionately known as “lightning in a box” by devotees, uses a controlled pulse of electromagnetic therapy to restore the body to a peak level of energy. Studies have shown that PEMF also decreases pain, swelling and inflammation, and improves cellular metabolism and energy. Life Force author and peak performance strategist Tony Robbins first used PEMF therapy to take his excruciating pain from a torn rotator cuff from a level 9 to a 4.5, and continues to utilize the therapy every day to boost energy, concentration levels, and improve sleep.
The Egoscue Method
The Egoscue Method is a postural therapy designed to banish chronic pain caused by everything from serious car accidents to “tech neck” from staring at a phone or computer every day. Using a personalized sequence of gentle exercises and stretches, the body is restored to a balanced, more functional state. Some of the greatest athletes in the world, including golfer Jack Nicklaus, NFL linebacker Junior Seau, and the San Francisco 49ers, have used the method to be pain-free and achieve peak performance.
Counterstrain is a microscopic drainage system that helps release toxins and inflammation, which is often the underlying issue behind everything from tendonitis and sciatica to irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headache, and vertigo. It works by releasing trapped inflammation in the interstitial pathways of the interstitium, which accounts for 20% of all the fluid in the entire body. Practitioners palpate the body for “tender points” then decompress the involved tissues, releasing trapped inflammation back into the bloodstream and disrupting the chronic pain cycle.
RELIEF is a natural treatment for pain, limited mobility, and stiffness that restores damaged connective tissue in the hips, ankles, knees, back, and shoulders. Used by major league baseball legend Miguel Cabrera for the excruciating pain in his right ankle, the treatment uses artificial intelligence to zero in on damaged tissue and locate entrapped nerves within the interstitium. Using a needle (and plenty of lidocaine), a specially formulated cocktail of proteins, collagens, and growth factors is injected, liberating the nerves and repairing the tissue without ever coming near a scalpel.
At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, virtual reality (VR) is being used to lessen pain experienced by hospitalized patients. In fact, a 2019 study showed that when patients experiencing pain wore VR goggles with a choice of relaxing scenarios, they rated their pain significantly lower than patients who watched the health and wellness channel on their hospital room TVs. Virtual reality both distracts the mind from thinking about pain and also blocks pain signals from communicating with the brain, and one day soon may be a party of every doctor’s toolkit for pain management.
Studies have backed up lasers’ effectiveness when it comes to decreasing pain, inflammation, and swelling for years. They work by delivering energy to the body through light photons, which encourages self-repair. Laser therapy has the unique ability to ignite and regenerate the body, and is one of the go-to tools in Tony Robbins’ arsenal of pain management therapies.
Whether you are seeking out the healing power of electromagnetic frequencies found in PEMF machines, the postural therapy of the Egoscue Method, the gentle and precise repositioning of counterstrain, the dismantling of scar tissue to restore mobility, or the technological wonderland of virtual reality, these are some of the best anti-pain tools available today. And no matter which therapy is the right treatment for your pain, always remember that you are the CEO of your own health, and it's up to you to be your own advocate.