Talk about an area of wellness and health today and you get a dozen different opinions as to whether a natural remedy for chronic pain actually works.
The thing is many of those diverse opinions may be right (and wrong). This blog post is going to center on how you can discern what you may want to take or what you may want to avoid.
Most Natural Therapies Are Not FDA Regulated
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been assigned by the United States Government to protect and promote the health of American citizens as it relates to foods and drugs.
Natural remedies fall under a classification called “COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE” or CAM. CAM is defined as “a group of diverse medical and health systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine.”
In conventional medicine, the systems, practices, and products have been extensively reviewed and approved by the FDA (generally) and are highly regulated by the FDA.Regulation of a therapy spells out the precise way in which therapies can be used.
CAM has few regulations, as yet. What this means, in effect, is that you will have very few protections in your use of CAM because the FDA has little regulatory control over it.That could be hazardous to your health.
However, it also gives you more freedom to choose what you may take…that could be beneficial to your health as you can utilize the therapies without FDA intrusion and delay. Many effective therapies are delayed by years of “red tape” in the federal bureaucracy of the FDA.
There can be collateral damage from long delays for new therapies. Consider the children who received the placebo for the Polio vaccine when it was being tested. Did you know that some children came down with Polio while the vaccine was in clinical trials?
YOU NEED TO EXERCISE WISDOM IN WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE WHEN IT COMES TO CAM (OR ANY THERAPY FOR THAT MATTER).
Most Physicians Have Had No Formal Training In CAM
Because most conventional health care practitioners have had little training regarding CAM, they may be unwilling or unable to give you advice about it. By its very nature, CAM is poorly taught to conventional health care professionals.
You may have noticed this already when you asked your doctor a question about a certain supplement or treatment. They are legally liable for any advice they give you so, they may be very conservative in their recommendations for CAM. And yet, most CAM proponents will publicly advise a person to check with their primary medical practitioner before using an alternative therapy (I even do it). Go figure…
How Can You Decide What Is Right To Try In CAM?
So let’s say you would like to try a certain supplement or therapy your friend has told you about (it seemed to help their pain). Here are some guidelines that you may use to make the best decision possible:
- Call your primary care practitioner to see if they are familiar with the benefits of what you would like to try.
- Look up the supplement or therapy in a reliable medical source
- Check up on the manufacturer to see if there are any complaints registered against them (I do recommend a general internet search for this).
- Begin your therapy exactly as directed for the product.
- Stop immediately if you notice any adverse change in your health. The symptoms do not have to be extreme for you to stop.
- Placebo effects (which are very common) can occur. This is where you “feel better” initially but revert to the way you were feeling before you started your CAM. Placebo effects usually last 2 weeks or less.
The best natural remedy for chronic pain is the one that has abundant experimental information on its usage, a long history of benefits, works without any adverse effects, and is affordable. There is little definitive research on most of CAM.