Norman Allan
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Chronic Pain
Some Observations on the Treatment of Pain with Complementary Medicine

Chronic Pain patients are extremely difficult to treat. Much of the work with complementary modalities must be viewed as palliative.

Stress and sleep disturbances are major features of Chronic Pain Syndrome. Patients I have worked with over the last few years find the use of "nervine relaxant" herbs somewhat comforting. "Nervine sedative" herbs may also be used.

Nervine Relaxants:

A mixture of:

St. Johnswort
Skull cap

a dropperful of each
in water / before meals
three times a day (tid)

Herbs: as a rule, herbs are best taken as tinctures and not as capsules or tablets.
(Many herbal properties are only found in fresh preparations, and tinctures are the only preparations in which these properties are preserved.)

Herbal Tinctures: herbal tinctures should be taken on an empty stomach 30 minutes before meals (to allow for direct absorption), in a small amount of water (a "finger" or two to dilute the alcohol - or in hot water if you wish the alcohol to evaporate off).

The dosage is prescribed in terms of the number of drops to be used, or of "droppers". A "dropper" is the amount you get when you simply squeeze the teat on the dropper (not trying to fill the dropper to the top).

Herbal Infusions: herb teas are a wonderfully direct and traditional way of taking herbs and are relatively inexpensive. However, the procedure is more complicated than taking a tincture, and there is usually no guarantee of the freshness of the herbs. As a rule herbal teas should be taken 30 minutes before meals (to allow direct absorption). One method of preparing a herbal infusion is as follows: place a tea spoon of the herb in a mug; add boiling water; cover, and allow to steep for ten minutes; strain.

Note, that in herbal combinations, tinctures can be added to herbal teas: you can mix them.

Motherwort should also be tried as a herbal tea (as the tea feels nurturing).

Note: if there is a major GI component substitute Catnip for Skullcap
if there is a Chronic Fatigue aspect substitute Lemon Balm for Skullcap.

Insomnia: If sleep disturbance is a major aspect of the syndrome nervine sedatives may be taken: a total of up to 30 drops (or 3 dropperfuls) in any combination of the following, an hour before bed.

Passion Flower
Jamaican Dogwood
Valerian (can feel groggy, hung-over in the morning with Valerian)

"Sedatives" should not be used for extensive periods. Limit to 4 weeks.

Arnica in homeopathic potency should be used in acute trauma. It is less likely to be effective in chronic pain. Arn. 200C should be taken 3 pellets (or a dropperful) three times at 15, 30 or 60 minute intervals. Arn. 30C can then be taken as needed (prn).

Homeopathic Remedies: should be taken away from food in a clean mouth (there should be no taste in the mouth - 20 to 30 minutes after food is fine, if there is no taste in the mouth). Five drops, or three pellets, under the tongue is the usual dose. Remedies should dissolve in the mouth (not be chewed or swallowed).

The frequency of repetition of homeopathic remedies is very important and should be carefully established with your homeopathic practitioner!

(Rhus tox (and Calc) are other "first aid-remedies" that might be used in Chronic Pain.)

Bach Flower Rescue Remedy can be used for the amelioration of psychic and physical shock. It is particularly effective acutely and for psychic shock. Several drops of the Rescue Remedy or its first centisimal dilution (1C) can be taken as needed (prn) and in particular before bed.

Finally it should be stated that we have all seen "miracles" on occasion with pain of long standing with various alternative modalities. In my own experience these miraculous "cures" are seen in particular with appropriate chiropractic treatment and with CranioSacral Therapy.