Pain killer dependency and chronic pain, whether emotional or physical, are the most common conditions that we treat.
Pain can be produced or exacerbated in many ways, from an injury, a surgery, nerve damage, violence, sexual trauma, head injuries, accidents, nutritional deficiencies, sedentary lifestyles, and as a result of diets that include foods like eggs, meat1, dairy2, diet sodas3, sugar, gluten (even in non-celiacs)4, and fried foods.
Further, studies show that opiates, which are often prescribed to treat pain, actually create more sensitivity to it. Opioid-induced hyperalgesia can begin after a single dose5, or throughout chronic use. Many times, people end up escalating their dose in order to treat the increased sensitivity caused by hyperalgesia as well as the desensitization caused by tolerance6, which can lead to a worsening condition and a more deeply entrenched dependency.
What we’ve seen, and what studies have shown, is that most people who have chronic pain will find that it decreases in the long term after they stop using opiates7. The important thing is to create a personalized pain management plan that works for you.
We begin by first treating any pharmaceutical dependencies. We’ve realized that many people aren’t taking the optimal dosages of their medications in order to be able to treat their symptoms. So after an initial period of stabilization, we titrate the pain medicine out of the system using a low dose ibogaine protocol in order to understand more completely where the baseline level of pain is.
pH & Nutrition
Chronic pain is an issue of inflammation, which is a natural state for a body that is acidic. Alkalizing the body has been shown to reduce pain symptoms8. The first thing that we do to adjust a treatment diet is to pause all acidic foods. This includes coffee, meat, sugar, and dairy. The next is to introduce foods with alkalizing and anti-inflammatory properties, such as dark greens, walnuts, cherries, tumeric, avacado, ginger, and flaxseed.
We also use a number of amino acids to support the endorphin, serotonin and GABA systems, which are the body’s natural pain fighting neurotransmitters9. Additionally, we supplement with calcium and magnesium, a lack of which can cause muscle spasms and bone pain, and can also play a role in lack of sleep, which in turn often exacerbates pain symptoms.
Working with the Body
When working with chronic pain, we employ our full range of somatic therapies, including acupuncture, ROLFing, lymphatic drainage, deep tissue massage therapy, and reiki. In addition, we find that it is very helpful to establish a personal exercise program.
Perception of Pain
In order to have a comprehensive approach to pain, it’s necessary to address its underlying causes. For this it is important to be able to examine your relationship with the sensation of the pain itself. Often times we see that pain can become a primary source of identify for people, and it’s difficult to give up a lifestyle where all activity and thought processes are connected to that experience. Part of our work is in re-framing stories where we take ownership of “our pain”, and really examine what it is trying to tell us.
Pain does not go away after an ibogaine treatment. In fact it’s a critical part of life, and a messenger systems that allows us to listen to our body when something needs attention. It’s important to be able to receive these messages and to calibrate the messaging system in order to allow your body to awaken its innate ability to heal.
Arachidonic acid metabolism, pain and hyperalgesia, Higgs G, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 1980 ↩
Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification, Sapone A, et al, BMC Medicine, 2012 ↩
Increased Sensitivity to Thermal Pain Following a Single Opiate Dose Is Influenced by the COMT val158met Polymorphism, Karin J, PLoS ONE, February 2009 ↩
Opioid-induced hyperalgesia in humans: molecular mechanisms and clinical considerations, Chu LF, The Clinical Journal of Pain, July-Aug 2008 ↩
Chronic non-cancer pain rehabilitation with opioid withdrawal: comparison of treatment outcomes based on opioid use status at admission, Rome JD, et al, Mayo Clinic proceedings, 2004 ↩
Supplementation with alkaline minerals reduces symptoms in patients with chronic low back pain, Vormann J, Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology, 2001 ↩