One in five adults in the U.S. suffers with chronic pain. Medications, medical devices, and surgery have been used by doctors to treat chronic pain, but at least one doctor thinks there is a better way.
Orthopedic Spine Surgeon Dr. David Hanscom believes writing could be an alternative to surgery when treating chronic pain.
“So, the misnomer is that there’s always something structural wrong. And the real answer is there’s rarely something structural wrong,” Hanscom said.
Hanscom believes that doctors should treat chronic pain by treating the root cause, like lack of sleep.
“Forty percent of Americans don’t sleep. We know that actual lack of sleep actually causes chronic back pain, causes it. It’s not the result of chronic pain. It causes chronic pain,” Hanscom said.
He also believes in a technique called Expressive Writing, where you write down your thoughts and then tear them up. This method is a form of meditation in that it helps people separate from their negative thoughts, which add stress to the body causing pain.
“I would say within four to six weeks after people started express writing, started getting better sleep, symptoms would drop down dramatically,” Hanscom said.
And some experts say what you eat also helps. Studies revealed turmeric, cloves, capsaicin, ginger and fish oil can all improve chronic pain. In fact, one study from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found more than half the patients with neck or back pain who participated were able to stop taking prescription painkillers after being on fish oil supplements for 75 days.
Essential oils could also help with chronic pain. A study from South Korea found eucalyptus oil reduced pain, swelling and inflammation for patients after knee replacement surgery.