Friday, April 1, 2011

"The End of Ouch?"

"One of the best imports from Eastern medicine — acupuncture — comes from a time before ibuprofen and Bengay. Not everyone agrees on how acupuncture works, but physicians believe it activates endorphin systems, and many consider it a highly effective complementary therapy"

"My mission is to help people live the longest and happiest lives possible, and that means lives that are pain-free. But Americans don't do pain well. Historically, if people were not in immediate medical danger, their pain was considered an unfortunate side effect or a collateral consequence of solving a greater problem.  But all that is changing. I am here to tell anyone who suffers from pain each day, whose life is circumscribed and whose goals are slipping out of reach, that you are at last being heard. We are in a pain renaissance. (Read the cover story "Healing the Hurt.")
First, the biology: Pain is actually an intricate interplay along neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord. The body produces natural painkillers like serotonin, norepinephrine and opioid-like chemicals. Chronic pain is any pain that persists beyond the usual healing period. Continuous or intermittent, it can consume all aspects of a person's life.
Second, the numbers: Chronic pain is one of the costliest health problems in the U.S., with an estimated annual price tag of close to $50 billion. Lower-back pain is by far the most common complaint, affecting 70% to 85% of adults at some point and leaving 7 million either partially or severely disabled. Lower-back pain accounts for 93 million workdays lost every year and consumes over $5 billion in health care costs. Arthritis pain affects 40 million Americans, and 45 million suffer from chronic headaches.
But it's not just about your bad back or arthritic knee. People with chronic pain are twice as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety as those without. What starts in your lower back eventually eats away at your soul. You enjoy your loved ones less, and you are less enjoyable to them. If pain affects body, mind and spirit, then treatment must address these three pillars of the human condition"

To read more of this TIME magazine article click here 

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