The Pain & Injury Doctor ONLINE Newsletter

Here is your latest pain relief tip. If it doesn’t apply to you, still take note because life is full of surprises. If you know someone who is dealing with this type of pain, please forward this email to that person– thanks!

Prince’s Sudden Death Brings New Focus on Dangers of Prescription Pain Medication

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Days before his untimely death, the multi-talented recording artist Prince suffered an overdose of the opioid based painkiller Percocet, which is a blend of oxycodone and acetaminophen. His plane had to make an emergency landing April 15 in Illinois, following his last performance in Atlanta, Georgia due to the medical emergency.

The side effects of Percocet can be found here.  Please take a moment to look if you are taking this medication, or any other opioid based medication.

According to sources, Prince was injected intramuscularly with the opioid overdose “rescue” medication naloxone, known as Narcan while in the hospital. Narcan is used to treat opioid-induced respiratory depression, a potentially fatal adverse event that can occur following an opioid overdose.  Did he suffer such an attack?

This seems to contradict initial reports that stated the performer’s medical emergency was related to a lingering case of the flu. It appears at this point Prince was fighting the flu on top of chronic hip pain, which developed after a hip replacement surgery he had in 2010.

Like millions of people across the world, I was shocked when I heard the news of Prince’s passing.  He was one of the musical acts I listened to and admired, growing up in high school and throughout college.  It seemed to me that he was in good health, as he didn’t appear to age much over the years and looked like he didn’t gain any weight either.

The increased media scrutiny into his life following his death revealed some clues as to why he died.  He was known to jump from high risers on stage during his concerts, which obviously took a toll on his hips, requiring previously mentioned surgery.  As someone knowledgeable of such injuries, I believe there is a good chance he suffered from low back and perhaps knee pain as well.

Prince was known to be a prolific producer of music and live performances.  Perhaps he didn’t get enough sleep.  Sleep is essential if your body is in need of repair and regeneration.

His schedule must have been hectic– concerts, collaborations, business issues, etc.– always on the go.  This leads me to think he probably favored the “” of medications, which might have caused him to develop an addiction or dependence on them.  And, it caught up with him.  As you age, the body’s capacity to detoxify and cleanse itself internally decreases.

The world will miss his artistry and musical brilliance, but I think on a positive note, Prince’s death will bring renewed focus on the dangers of prescription drugs and will save many lives.

Alternatives to Chronic Pain

For years, I have emphasized preventive, natural means to handle pain.  I do not totally renounce drugs, because I understand that for some people, pain medications are their only means to get relief.  But even if you take drugs for pain, you should still engage in preventive/wellness measures centered around diet, sleep/rest, exercise, social well being and environmental toxin avoidance.  Pain meds take a toll on your liver, kidneys, heart and GI tract primarily; you need to ramp up your nutrition to protect these vital organs from the effects of the drugs.

If you suffer from chronic pain, first and foremost KNOW inside and out the risks and benefits of the drugs you are taking.  Talk to your doctor.  Do some research.  Sites you can trust include Physicians Desk Reference, Mayo Clinic and WebMD.   Specifically, know your ideal dose based on your age and weight; any potential drug interactions with other drugs you take; all known side effects; and when you should not take the drug.  I would also try to take as little as possible.  Engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors can enable you to do this.

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As far as safe, non-drug pain relief therapies you can do at home, these are the ones I have used on patients and recommend:

  1. TENS unit – a portable electrical stim device that can mask pain, temporarily as you use it.
  2. Far Infrared Heat Lamp (shown above)- a medical grade lamp that sends infrared heat deep into muscles and joints.  Use w/TENS & Comfrey root.
  3. TendLite – handheld red light device.  Red light accelerates healing.
  4. Comfrey root salve – heals bone and joint pain.  Use with the Far Infrared heat lamp and Tendlite.
  5. Biofeedback devices – these devices tap into the higher level pain processing centers of the brain
  6. Back bubble – comfortably stretch and decompress your lower back at home.

Lastly, stay true to the basic concept of maintaining a healthy body.  This guideline applies for the rest of your life:

  1. Make your diet at least 80% naturally-occurring, whole animal and plant based food.  On a standard plate, the protein should occupy about 1/8 of the plate, the plant should occupy 7/8.  Animal products should be organic, pastured/ grass-fed; plants should be organic or washed thoroughly of pesticides.  Minimize grain-based food.
  2. Moderate exercise daily, 20 minutes.  Focus on functional exercise that engage all body parts.  Use swimming pool if your knees/hips/back make regular exercise prohibitive.
  3. Eight hours of sleep each day; make your room pitch black.
  4. Engage in social interactions – laugh, feel good, connect
  5. Avoid environmental toxins in the air, water, food and cosmetic products you use on your body.

The above activities don’t cost much and, if done as part of your daily routine will make your body more resistant to chronic pain.

R.I.P Prince.  And thank you.

For much more comprehensive instruction on conquering chronic pain, visit the Regeneration and Rehab online school on Teachable.

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