How Big is the Pharmaceutical Industry?
The pharmaceutical market today is booming and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, by 2023, research in 2019 done by Fitch Solutions estimated pharmaceutical sales will surpass $420 billion, and account for nearly 1.7% of the United States’ GDP. Those numbers are huge, and it’s no wonder why. Americans spend nearly $333.4 billion on retail prescription drugs, making up a 10% of total 2017 spending on pharmaceuticals. These prescription drugs are largely for health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, genetic disorders, mental health, and also pain killers.
Americans spend more than any other country on painkillers, and for good reason. Sometimes a regular Ibuprofen and Advil can do wonders to treat simple ailments such as muscle aches, headaches, and fever. But, when the pain becomes unmanageable, there is a higher risk of abuse of pain medication. This abuse can often lead to unnecessary expenses, a higher tolerance for pain medication, and even addiction.
The Benefits of Holistic Medicine
Luckily, pain can be managed quite effectively in some cases by using holistic medicine. Holistic medicine takes another approach to health. Holistic medicine relies on combining mental health, spiritual and emotional health, and natural remedies to optimize physical health. Though western treatments and maintaining a healthcare provider are all important, holistic medicine can help a patient find balance, increase their overall health and well-being, and make use of alternative pain management techniques. Here are five ways to use natural, holistic remedies in order to treat and manage pain, and optimize your health.
1. Use Acupuncture Therapy
One of the biggest treatments holistic therapy uses for pain management is acupuncture. Acupuncture is the traditional, Chinese medical practice of inserting thin needles into a patient’s pressure points, stimulating these points and leading to pain relief. Once thought of as controversial, acupuncture has been shown to have positive health effects and helped with pain management. A study on the Archives of Internal Medicine published in 2012 found that acupuncture is more than just a placebo, and is, therefore, more than validated as a referral option for health professionals. In addition, the World Health Organization has now released a report in Acupuncture: Review of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, which endorses the use of acupuncture for over 200 symptoms and diseases.
2. Eat Natural Foods to Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is more than just having a bee sting or itchy rash. Inflammation is the body’s reaction and defense to a foreign invader or injury. The body signals the immune system to heal and repair damaged tissue, and also defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria by causing the tissue to become inflamed.
For some patients, chronic inflammation can be caused by illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, and also chronic stress. To fight inflammation, a number of healthy foods can help. For example, in a two-week clinical study, smokers who took 2 grams of maqui berry extract twice daily had significant decreases in measures of lung inflammation caused by years of cigarette use. Other inflammation-fighting foods include turmeric, which limits the production of inflammation-causing molecules called cytokines, ginger, and green tea among others. It’s important to follow a diet plan approved by your physician, but using herbal remedies can help in alleviating inflammation and pain, and increase your health.
3. Use Natural Muscle Relaxers
The health problems associated with stress are staggering. Unfortunately, stress comes not just from work and school, but for many Americans from their own family. More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend, spending an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. This can cause not just stress, but take a physical toll on the body that includes muscle aches, soreness, and tension.
Fortunately, recent research has shown that muscle aches and spasms can be reduced by holistic practices, such as meditation, exercise, and also natural supplements. In fact, a study done by the Department of Urology and Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University of Ohio showed chamomile to be an effective treatment for sore muscles. Addition nutrients include magnesium, cherry juice, vitamin d, and above all, rest.
4. Treat Tooth Aches Naturally
On of the most common aches and pains, perhaps one of the worst, is toothaches. In fact, even before modern civilization, neolithic period skulls have shown evidence of ancient humans using drills to treat tooth aches and abscessed teeth. This shows us just how painful it is to die with toothaches. In addition, toothaches are very sensitive, and without proper relief can lead to dangerously high levels of blood pressure caused by pain. It’s important to know what options there are for treating toothaches, even in children. Of the 4 million people in the United States that wear braces, 75 percent of them are younger than 18.
Hydrogen peroxide and saltwater rinses, peppermint tea bags placed on the site of pain, and even garlic has anti-bacterial affects that can all help alleviate tooth aches at home. Of course, it’s important to follow up with a dentist and get proper antibiotic treatment.
5. Use Caffeine as More than a Stimulant
Caffeine is one of the best stimulants that have very little side effects when consumed properly. It can help perk you up, boost productivity, but also help in pain relief. In fact, doctors typically prescribe a dose of caffeine along with strong migraine medication in order to stop migraines. Caffeine compresses blood vessels within the brain, reducing the pressure put on nerves that cause headaches. In addition, caffeine also helps with muscle cramps and is a common ingredient in the menstrual pain relief medication Midol. Caffeine also has antioxidants and helps with brain function and memory to name a few benefits. If you’re a coffee drinker already, do some research and see what other health benefits this drink can have for you.
Holistic medicine, on top of traditional western medicine, can make use of different natural supplements, therapies, and meditation in order to increase overall health and reduce pain. Follow up with your doctor, but begin to explore the benefits of using natural home remedies. Your clean body will thank you.