Got Pain? Treat the Cause.

Chronic Pain
By Dr. Alli Svobodny

Are you one of the estimated 1 in 5 adults (in the United States) who suffer from chronic pain each year?

Chronic pain restricts both work and life activities for 8% of Americans on most days, if not every day, according to the CDC. Anxiety, depression, and poor quality of life are just a few of the personal problems resulting from chronic pain in adults — not to mention the $560 billion spent each year for disability services, medical care, and lost productivity within the workforce.

Here’s the problem...

Most of the time, when people are experiencing chronic pain and go to see their physicians, they are prescribed a type of medication that is designed to interrupt the pain signals in the nervous system. Unfortunately, the medications used for chronic pain are dangerous, can be very addictive when taken long-term and do not address the underlying causes. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs, which are used to treat a range of pain-inducing conditions including arthritis, headaches, migraines, sprains, strains, toothaches, and menstrual pain, can increase the risk of peptic ulcer disease, acute renal failure, and stroke when consumed on a regular basis, and actually worsen arthritis over time. Opioid use for pain has an extremely high potential for misuse, abuse, and addiction.

If you are in that 20% of adults who suffer from chronic pain, then I can recommend a safer, healthier solution.

Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the cause of your pain,
rather than simply blocking the pain signals to your brain.

Common causes for chronic pain are:

  • Systemic inflammation
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Toxic accumulation
  • Blood Stagnation or poor circulation
  • Structural imbalance
  • Digestive disturbance

Naturopathic treatments for these problems may include:

  • Hydrotherapy to activate circulation.
  • Physiotherapy to activate nerve conduction and healing activity.
  • Hands-on therapy to restore mobility.
  • Herbal medicine to cleanse and nourish organ systems and modulate inflammation.
  • Introduction of essential nutrients to rebuild structural integrity.

Here are a few cause-and-effect examples
of chronic pain that are common to see in our practice:

A young athlete comes to see us with extremely tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which he has chalked up to repetitive stress injury and for which he has started receiving steroid injections. However, upon further investigation, we discover that he is chronically dehydrated and has a magnesium deficiency — both of which cause muscle tightness.

A middle-aged gentleman visits our practice with complaints of joint and muscle pain, chronic headaches, and difficulty with memory and concentration, along with abdominal pain. His family has teasingly attributed his pain and memory problems to “aging,” but upon digging deeper, we learn that this gentleman has been doing some work in an older building and was unknowingly exposed to lead — which can result in all of the symptoms he describes.

A young woman has developed pain in her joints that comes and goes and moves around to different joints, brain fog, difficulty finding the right words, muscle twitching and fatigue and conventional work-up has all been normal.  Upon further investigation we find she has Lyme Disease and deficiencies in vitamin D and zinc.

In so many cases, Naturopathic medicine is a safe, effective treatment for chronic pain, and should be utilized as an alternative to prescribing long-term medication.

I cannot stress enough the importance of attempting to pinpoint the causes of pain or bodily unease, so that it can be properly treated.  Rather than covering up symptoms address the causes to bring about correction.

At Prairie Naturopathic Doctors, we are ready to find the causes and help you toward complete health and wellness.


Kuehn B. Chronic Pain Prevalence. JAMA. 2018;320(16):1632. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.16009

March 15, 2021

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