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MagazineJuly 1995 (Vol. 6 Issue 4)Neuralgia

Neuralgia is a familiar catch-all term for severe nerve pain

Neuralgia is a familiar catch-all term for severe nerve pain. When the pain has to do with your musculo-skeletal system, osteopathy or chiropractic is likely the first port of call. However, these are less likely to be effective when the problem ha

Homeopathy has repeatedly demonstrated success in alleviating dental pain. In one double-blind study, patients given Arnica 30 before and after dental surgery had a statistically significant reduction in pain (near the point of injury) and less severe pain and bleeding than a similar group given a placebo. The results were confirmed by a more extensive study (Brit Hom Research Group Communication 15, 1986: 3-11). In another double-blind study, 80 patients undergoing dental extractions and other dental surgery were divided into three groups, with one given Hypericum 5C, Arnica 7C and Nux Vomica 9C before surgery, one given Arnica 9C and Nux Vomica 9C after surgery, and the third given both sets of medications before and afterward. The first group given pre-medication fared the best; during a total of 150 instances of dental surgery, only three required orthodox analgesics or antibiotics (Congres Liga Medicorum Homoeopathicorum Internationalis, Lyons, 1985: 85). In another randomized double-blind study where patients received either Arnica 7C and Hypericum 25C, or a sugar pill, those on the homeopathic treatment had significantly less pain (Homeopathie, 1984; 1: 47-9).

Interestingly, one study found that chronic dental pain from exposed roots or T-M (jaw joint) dysfunctions could start or be worsened by food intolerance. Allergies could even alter the affect of local dental anesthetic (J Appl Nutr, 1988, 40(2): 95-8).

Tablets of bromelain, a pineapple enzyme, can successfully treat a variety of pain, including inflamed or swollen tissue after a traumatic injury. They've even been found to ease or shorten labour (Amer J Obstet Gynaecol, 1960, 79: 1161; Lancet, 1958, 2: 827: Research, 1961, 9: 162).

As for cyclical breast pain cysts (which usually get worse at certain points in your cycle), reducing or (better yet) stopping your consumption of coffee had been shown to help. In one study, 61 per cent of patients reported that their pain decreased or stopped altogether (Nurse Practitioner, 1989, 14 (2): 36-7: 40).

This may be because coffee binds to opiate-receptors in the body, provoking a greater sensation of pain (Nature, 1983; 301: 246-8).

Vitamin deficiencies may be the culprit in certain types of pain. A combined deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12 is often associated with reversible neuralgia in polyneuropathy (severe pain in the extremities) (Scand J Haematol, 1980, 25: 63), as may a vitamin B1 deficiency (Eur Neurol, 1987; 26 (3): 129-33). It's long been known that vitamin B1 and vitamin B12 may each be especially beneficial for trigeminal neuralgia. This may be important to keep in mind if you are taking one of the many orthodox medications that reduce vitamin B12 levels, such as neomycin, antidiabetic drugs, cholestyramine, to lower cholesterol, and potassium chloride.

In fact, an experimental study showed that copper deficiency also leads to more pronounced perception of pain (Am J Clin Nutr, 1986, 43: 42-6).

Harald Gaier

Harald Gaier is a registered naturopath, homeopath and osteopath.

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