Dr. Uday Jani will talk about the natural approach to pain relief at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 17, at Milton Public Library, and at 3 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Lewes Public Library.
As the opioid epidemic continues to devastate communities across the country, Delaware is dealing with its tragic impact daily: In 2016, 308 overdose deaths were reported in the state, up from 228 in 2015. As many as one in four people who receive prescription opioids long term for pain struggle with addiction, making the need for new solutions more vital than ever.
While over-the-counter drugs are often viewed as a safer alternative to opioids, Jani says this is an erroneous, and dangerous, assumption. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including the frequently used ibuprofen and naproxen, can result in a disturbing litany of side effects ranging from ringing in the ears, headache and dizziness to stomach ulcers, liver or kidney problems, and a tendency to bleed more.
"Since they're legal and easy to find, OTC drugs are also easy to abuse," said Jani, a Milton-based, board-certified internist with a fellowship in integrative medicine. "The risk is very real - the danger of taking too much, mixing them with other drugs and even overdosing. They can damage your body for life."
Natural solutions for body and mind
The better answer, according to Jani, resides in foods, herbs and supplements, many of which have proven extraordinarily effective for managing chronic inflammation and pain.
"There are numerous natural ways, tested for efficacy, to alleviate painful symptoms," said Jani. "For instance, a gluten-free diet has been shown to relieve pain from endometriosis; omega-3 fatty acid supplements are used to decrease joint pain caused by inflammatory bowel disease, and herbs like cayenne cream and white willow bark ease lower back pain. The Chinese herb corydalis has extremely potent healing powers and is successfully used to treat cancer pain, but because it does not affect morphine receptors, is not addictive like opioids."
Also key to helping patients manage pain is what Jani terms "a healing encounter" with their clinician, characterized by four essential components: an emotionally charged relationship with a helping person; a healing setting; an explanation for the patient's symptoms; and a continuing ritual, procedure or plan that involves active participation of both parties and the belief that these will restore the person to a state of health.
"Pain may be inevitable, but there is a way to eliminate the suffering that accompanies it," said Jani. "The power of a healing encounter springs from a willingness to be fully present and listen to the patient's story. Only then can we identify the underlying cause of the pain and start the patient on the journey to long-term healing."
Jani s in private practice at Shore View Personal Care in Milton, where he blends the best of traditional, integrative and functional medicine. A board-certified internist, Jani believes in treating the whole person - not just the disease - utilizing an evidence-based integrative approach. He completed a two-year integrative medicine fellowship at the University of Arizona, recognized as the leading integrative medicine program in the world. For more information, call 302-684-0990 or go to www.udayjanimd.com.