healing ways

To enroll in a new study on mindfulness meditation and chronic back pain, email For information on ongoing studies, visit

T e fi rst step in preventing depen-

THAN OPIOIDS Natural Ways to Reduce Pain by Kathleen Barnes


according to the Institute of Medicine. Worse, opiate-derived pain medications, conventional medicine’s go-to treatment for chronic pain, are addictive and deadly. T e Annals of Internal Medicine reports that an estimated 2 million Americans suff ered from opioid use disorder involv- ing prescription drugs as of 2016 while 12 million admitted to misusing them. Legal and illegal opioids killed 64,070 Americans in 2016, 21 percent more than the previ-


hronic pain aff ects 100 million Americans, with annual treat- ment costs reaching $635 billion,

ous year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some opioid addiction stems from

use of illegal recreational drugs like heroin and cocaine, but the National Institute of Drug Abuse testifi ed to the U.S. Senate that as of 2014 more than four times as many Americans were addicted to prescription opioids (2.1 million) than heroin (467,000). Natural approaches, less harmful in

relieving pain and thereby preventing drug addictions, are addressing and ameliorat- ing long-term back or neck, nerve and even cancer pain, and saving lives.

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12 Austin Edition Drumming Out Drugs

Music, specifi cally drumming, stimu- lates the release of endorphins, the body’s own morphine-like painkillers. Group drumming can help people with- drawing from addictive drugs, especially those having particular diffi culty in con- ventional addiction programs, reports a University of Arizona at Tempe study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Other supportive studies are listed

at py.html.

dency is to avoid opioids completely, says Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, in Winston- Salem, North Carolina: “Opioids don’t work for chronic pain. T ey may be eff ective for acute pain, such as right aſt er an injury or surgery, but they are ineff ective and addic- tive in the long run.” Here are several better ways to feel better.

Mindfulness meditation: Zeidan recom- mends mindfulness meditation and cites a University of Massachusetts study of people with chronic pain in which pain lessened by at least 65 percent aſt er 10 weeks of this practice. “Mindfulness meditation is about

discipline and regulating one’s attention.


Zdenka Darula/

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