A glance at current online news reveals a change in our ability to acquire opioid pain medications. The problem is, the meds are so addictive. Doctors are prescribing fewer refills. People are required to see their doctors more often. Some may be going through pain without getting the relief they need.

Dr. Howard Loomis, who wrote the book on enzymes, always said, “If you know the cause, you have your cure.”

When we address pain, we should ask, “What is causing it?” Pain is caused by muscle tension, inflammation, and a lack of circulation to name a few things.

There are two ways to kill pain. Address the cause, or numb the nerves.

Numb nerves wake up after a while. Falling asleep on your arm makes the arm feel funny in the morning. When it wakes up, it starts to tingle. The tingles become stronger and more painful just before the warmth comes in and takes the pain away.

Pain medications numb the entire nervous system. After being numbed, the nerves begin to tingle as they wake up. The feeling is not interpreted as a return to normal function but more pain, so more medication is taken. This is one of the reasons why pain medications are so addictive. I helped an elderly lady break her addiction to hydrocodone. She took it for years after experiencing shingles.

A couple weeks ago, I went through surgery and I asked my anesthesiologist if it was possible to be given a non-narcotic anesthesia. The accompanying nurse that was pushing my bed down the hall to surgery said, “What? We’ve got to kill pain! Everyone gets narcotics. They’re strong.”

I said to Jill, the anesthesiologist, “You’re the expert, and I trust your judgment. I was just wondering.”

When the anesthesia wore off, I opened my eyes. The male nurse who was monitoring my blood pressure said, “Jill found a non-narcotic anesthesia for you.”

“Oh, thank you!” I said.

The attending nurse said, “Let me know if you start feeling pain. We have medication ready for you.”

I paid attention to my arm as the anesthesia continued to wear off. At first it felt a little tingly, and then I began to feel my heartbeat in it. The heartbeat sensation grew stronger, and I wondered how strong it would become. Would I need the medication? I waited to see. By the time I got out of the surgical bed, into the wheelchair and left the hospital, the sensation had faded away. No pain medication was needed.

There are alternatives to narcotics. We just need to take charge of our own health and ask for them.

Good news came to Family HELM Health Center last Thursday when we received word from Golden Sunrise Pharmaceutical, Inc. about their new “Joint Relief” herbal dietary supplement. It works by relieving the causes of pain instead of numbing the nerves. One of my staff got a bottle and started taking it for a painful knee that gives out sometimes. On Monday she came to dance class. After about 3 steps into the first dance, her knee gave out and she hobbled off the floor. She hobbled out to her car and took two “Joint Relief” capsules and returned. Before the class was over, she was back and dancing through much relieved pain. Next time, she’ll take three capsules. She took a second dose after dancing and didn’t feel any pain for three days.

“Joint Relief” can be purchased at Family HELM Health Center, 379 N Hockett. The price is a whopping $130 for 60 capsules. Some cringe and turn away to spend the money anyway on the next 30 lattés or two weeks of fast food and snacks treats. “Joint Relief” works on the causes of pain by relaxing tight muscles and quenching inflammation. There are no addictive reactions or any other side effects.

If you have a club, church or organization that needs a fascinating presentation, I’m willing to tell the story of miracles and lessons from my accident where the first responder thought I was dead. The seventh lesson is regarding the mission to give our community the information each individual needs to build a healthier lifestyle. It will take all of us working together to make this happen. The Take Charge Workshops, where the information is pouring from, are running and still open for additional participants. Call us at 559-793-4314.

Until then, take charge.

(Sylvia J. Harral is a digestive health specialist and Michele Stewart is a pilates master trainer. They each have more than 15 years experience. Send your questions by e-mail to familyhelm@hotmail.com; by mail to Family HELM Health Center, 379 N. Hockett St., Porterville, CA, 93257; or by phone at 202-9105.)

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