Opioid Epidemic - Natural Solutions
By Terry Mecklin P.T.A.
By now you have heard of the Opioid Epidemic and chances are you know someone who has been affected by it.
Over 130 people in the US die every single day due to an opioid overdose. In the state of Tennessee there were 1,776 drug overdoses and 1,268 of them were associated with prescription opioids.
In the 1990’s the pharmaceutical companies assured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioids. Unfortunately that was not true and the goal of having patients pain-free via prescription pain medication has turned into a $78.5 billion a year economic burden due to the cost of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment and criminal justice costs.
The goal is not to completely do away with prescription medications but, because a dependence or addiction to opioids can begin within just a few days of use, it is wise to seek natural solutions that can be used when possible.
Some examples of “Natural Solutions” that have research to back their efficacy are exercise, diet, Kinesio tape and essential oils.
Exercise and diet are two aspects that everyone hears a lot about so let me touch very briefly here. Depending on the source of discomfort exercise can be very beneficial including aquatic exercise. When looking at the diet, it is recommended to work on eliminating sugar and processed foods, eat a clean diet and take a whole food vitamin, such as doTERRA’s LifeLong Vitality pack. Increasing water consumption is also an important aspect of a healthy diet. Eight 8-oz glasses is recommended every day.
Kinesio tape was developed over 40 years ago by Dr. Kenzo Kase. It is used to affect the top layers of skin. It allows for better blood and lymph flow and can assist in decreasing swelling, edema and pain. It is recommended to look for a Certified Taping Practitioner or Therapist who is certified in Kinesio Taping.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for a host of issues. Let’s look a bit further at what essential oils are and how they can be a part of the Natural Solution.
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. They are used in three ways, aromatically, topically and some can be used internally. All essential oils on the market are not the same. It is important to use essential oils that have been sourced indigenously, that are third party tested and have the data posted where you can see the GS/MS reports for bottle you are holding in your hand.
Over the centuries, oils have been used for a variety of issues from decreasing discomfort to the muscles and joints to working on issues such as head tension, emotions, relaxation, stomach upset, focus, energy and so much more.
In Wisconsin a Tri-State Ambulance service now uses six different essential oils for discomfort, stomach upset, and anxious feelings, when appropriate, in the place of opioids. They are still using opioids as needed but they now have additional resources to go to before opting for an addictive medication.
Vanderbilt hospital, Duke University Medical Center, Mayo Clinic as well as over a 100 other hospitals are using essential oils in their facilities for various symptoms.
In order to make a significant impact in the Opioid Epidemic it will be important to begin seeking natural solutions first, when possible, before jumping directly to medication with so many harmful side effects. If we can get the same outcome by using a natural solution, without a side effect would that not be the smarter approach?
written by Terry Mecklin P.T.A. with Learning Health And Wellness, LLC.