Finding drug-free pain relief: Once, I was very active–gym every day, bicycling, yoga, long distance motorcycling, sports–lots of activities. Then, hip arthritis flared up in both hips, also knee and shoulder. It seemed to happen suddenly. But the chiropractor said it had been a long time coming. Only the pain began suddenly. The body deterioration had taken a long time. I had to stop many of the activities that I loved. Then I needed a cane to walk and had trouble with stairs. That’s when I began to research intensively to overcome this affliction.
So now, I have managed to stop the deterioration (based on measurements from the chiropractor). And the pain is not as bad as it once was. But it is still there–every day. While employing nutrition and exercise to continue to overcome arthritis, I still need help with the pain every day. As part of the research that I did, I uncovered some down sides to the NSAIDs that were helping to manage the pain. Although I was prescribed some stronger meds, I’ve mostly stayed away from them. I seriously wanted to stop the OTC meds as well to avoid some bad side effects.
I’ve found several drug-free pain relief remedies. Three, in particular, are working better than others as follows:
1. Meditation — 20 minutes a day once or twice a day starting with a focus thought for one minute followed by a procedure to quiet my mind until my Amazon Echo chimes to bring me out of meditation.
2. CBD — Cannabidiol.
In my research, I found that CBD is one of many cannabinoid molecules produced by Cannabis, second only to THC in abundance. These plant-derived cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids, are characterized by their ability to act on the cannabinoid receptors that are part of our endocannabinoid system. While THC is the principal psychoactive component of Cannabis and has certain medical uses, CBD stands out because it is both non-psychoactive and displays a broad range of potential medical applications. These properties make it especially attractive as a therapeutic agent. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about CBD is the sheer number and variety of its potential therapeutic applications.
Why Does CBD Have So Much Therapeutic Potential?
CBD is famous for the promise it holds for treating treatment-resistant forms of childhood epilepsy. But there is also evidence that CBD may have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, and potential therapeutic value in the treatment of motivational disorders like depression, anxiety, and addiction.
What’s the biological basis for this wide range of potential medical uses? A key part of the answer lies in CBD’s promiscuous pharmacology—its ability to influence a wide range of receptor systems in the brain and body, including not only cannabinoid receptors but a host of others.
CBD Influences Many Different Receptor Systems. Although it is a cannabinoid, CBD does not directly interact with the two classical cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Instead, it affects signaling through CB1 and CB2 receptors indirectly. This partly explains why, in contrast to THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. In addition to its indirect influence on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD can increase levels of the body’s own naturally-produced cannabinoids (known as endocannabinoids) by inhibiting the enzymes that break them down.
Even more intriguing: CBD also influences many non-cannabinoid receptor systems in the brain, interacting with receptors sensitive to a variety of drugs and neurotransmitters. These include opioid receptors, known for their role in pain regulation. Opioid receptors are the key targets of pharmaceutical-grade pain killers and drugs of abuse such as morphine, heroin, and fentanyl. CBD can also interact with dopamine receptors, which play a crucial role in regulating many aspects of behavior and cognition, including motivation and reward-seeking behavior.
So, I had to try CBD. I started with pure CBD products that you swallow — capsules and a liquid pure form of CBD. Noticed benefits were limited. Might have helped some but not so much. I kept searching and found that the digestive process strongly dilutes the efficacy of CBD that is swallowed. Then I found a new company that produces a pure form that you “vape”. Vape Bright (affiliate link) is the company and their product is Thrive. I started with their Starter Pack. With this, I noticed a substantial pain relieving effect. It also seemed to have the effect of boosting my overall mood. But there was no marijuana high or psychoactive effect whatsoever. I reduced my NSAID dosing from twice a day down to once a day and sometimes none. Hopefully, soon, no more NSAIDs for me.
3. ActiPatch is an electronic device that provides localized pain relief. It can be worn for 720 hours. ActiPatch (affiliate link) can be removed, turned off, then turn it on later and put it back on for a total of 720 hours. After it dies in 720 hours, a refill costs less than the first one. It can pretty much be worn all day and night.
I had tried a TENS device (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) that my chiropractor recommended. It provided minimal pain relief. I eventually stopped using it because it was cumbersome to use and interrupted the flow of my activities to attach and remove it. ActiPatch, on the other hand, can be worn all day unobtrusively.
I am new to ActiPatch so will have to post again later after I have more experience with it. It does seem to have potential. Interestingly, the manufacturer claims that, in addition to relieving pain, it produces a healing effect in the body to reverse damage. This part I really like if it actually works.
On this blog, I’ve listed many books, some of which I have read, and the rest I want to read ASAP (at least until arthritis is gone). Probably, my favorite of those that I’ve read so far is The New Arthritis Cure by Dr. Bruce Fife. Dr. Fife discusses both the causes of arthritis and the cures and why his cures work. This has given me my basic arthritis battle plan and direction for drug-free pain relief. I’ll write about that in another post.