Reducing Prescription Pain Medications in the Elderly

According to CIHI (Canadian Institute for Health Information) Seniors had the highest rate of hospitalizations from opioid poisoning over the eight year period 2007-2015, and accounted for nearly a quarter of the hospitalizations. Seniors, for the most part, are misusing them by accident. Canada is the second largest consumer of opioids per capita in the world.

Naturopathic physicians are medically trained and naturally focused in their approach to patient care and always one of the first concerns is the number of prescriptions a patient is taking and their age. As people age they are less able to metabolize drugs efficiently due to their aging liver and kidney function, so it is the aim of naturopathic medicine to educate patients about effective naturopathic remedies and treatments that may be very effective at pain management. When a patient takes a “pain pill” they are effectively turning off the alarm system but not putting out the fire!

For example magnesium is a simple mineral that most of the population is deficient in. When taken in therapeutic dosages it acts as an anti-spasmodic and is great for muscle cramps, aches and pains as well as for the treatment of migraine headaches. Pain is one of the most common reasons patients seek out the help of a health care provider so why not recommend something that is not only simple to take but is inexpensive and has over 100 uses in the body?

Many of my elderly patients not only get help with their pain but their chronic constipation also improves and it helps with their nightly bladder control!

In our clnic we have a few new remedies you may not be familiar with: Pavosic and Athroben. Pavosic is an herbal remedy made from the poppy flower that is NOT a narcotic but can act like a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID). It is something that can be used to get patients off aspirin or similar derivatives. Athroben is a collagen powder used for chronic joint pain and is used in addition to AR Encap or Recovery Extra Strength to help with joint aches and pains. Another favorite of mine is BCQ a very effective curcumin combination. Don’t forget that some foods can cause pain!

Dr. Jeffery offers trigger point injection therapy and naturopathic manipulation to help correct structural issues. Chair yoga and simple stretches may be very effective for the elderly to help control pain.

Under the care of a naturopathic physician a patient is taught to lower their reliance on pain medications and rely instead on healthful eating and remedies that not only treat the pain but treat the underlying cause of the pain.

Written by Dr. Pincott N.D. 

Orriginally appeared in the Campbell River Mirror Health Page Friday, Dec. 9, 2016