Painkillers Are Not Only Treatment Option
Popping painkillers may not be the answer to relieving aches and pains. Instead, expertsin the field believe simple lifestyle changes can greatly improve patients' quality of life. GordonNovak, MD, director of the Pain Management Center at Caritas St. Elizabeth's MedicalCenter, said if patients participated in daily activities such as taking a walk, groceryshopping, and interacting with others, it could add to a healthy lifestyle that decreases pain.He noted that individuals with chronic pain become sedentary and isolated, causing weightgain that may increase the stress on their body, and loneliness that can lead to depression.
While alternative cures remain an option, physicians have doubts about herbal cures. Itis imperative for patients taking supplements of any kind to notify their physician becausethey may interfere with other drugs or have other side effects. Acupuncture, however, hasproven effective in some patients. A recent study sponsored by the National Institutes ofHealth showed that acupuncture provided a 40% reduction in pain for a number of arthritispatients. "Pain management is really an art form; it really depends on the relationshipbetween doctor and patient," said John Goodson, MD, a primary care physician at MassachusettsGeneral Hospital who deals with patients facing daily, chronic pain.