Haven’t Got Time for the Pain? Quick and Effective Ways to Deal with Chronic Pain Without Drugs

Haven't got time for the painAccording to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. The chart below depicts the number of chronic pain sufferers compared to other major health conditions. 


Number of Sufferers Source
Chronic Pain 100 million Americans Institute of Medicine of The National Academies
Diabetes 25.8 million Americans
(diagnosed and estimated undiagnosed)
American Diabetes Association
Coronary Heart DiseaseStroke 16.3 million Americans7.0 million Americans American Heart Association
Cancer 11.9 million Americans American Cancer Society

While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to get yourself out of harm’s way, chronic pain is quite different. Chronic pain persists.  It’s like a watch-dog that continues barking when there is no intruder.  It just goes on and on without relief.  There may have been an initial mishap — sprained back, serious infection, or physical injury.  But pain continues or returns even after the initial problem has been healed.   Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, and arthritis pain. 

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the U.S. and costs more than $128 billion per year.  There are more than 100 types of arthritis.  It’s a condition that affects more than 46 million U.S. adults–1 in 5 adults–and the number is expected to increase to 67 million adults by the year 2030.  There are two major types of arthritis —osteoarthritis, which is the “wear and tear” arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory type of arthritis that happens when the body’s immune system does not work properly.

 Medications May Not Be the Best Answer for Chronic Pain

The American Academy of Pain Medicine offers the following information:

  • Most pain sufferers (63%) have seen their family doctor for help.
  • Forty percent made an appointment with a specialist, such as an orthopedist.
  • Treatments for pain have yielded mixed results. Although 58% of those who took prescription medication say that doing so was fairly effective for their pain, only 41% of those who took over-the-counter medications felt they were effective.
  • Prescription drugs are the second-most abused category of drugs in the United States, following marijuana.
  • Prescription painkillers are considered a major contributor to the total number of drug deaths. In 2007, for example, nearly 28,000 Americans died from unintentional drug poisoning, and of these, nearly 12,000 involved prescription pain relievers.

A Different Approach to Treating Chronic Pain 

In my book, MenAlive:  Stop Killer Stress with Simple Energy Healing Tools I describe a different approach to dealing with chronic pain.  Most of us accept the common belief that all our pain has a physical cause. “I have never seen a patient with pain in the neck, shoulders, back or buttocks who didn’t believe the pain was due to an injury,” says John E. Sarno, MD, author of Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection.

Since 1973, Dr. Sarno has conducted research and clinical practice on disorders relating to musculoskeletal pain. Dr. Sarno was one of the first researchers to recognize that chronic pain, so pervasive in our culture, could not be adequately treated without acknowledging the emotional aspects of pain.

Eric Robins, MD, a Los Angeles–based physician, found Sarno’s research and clinical work treating pain compelling. “For decades, Sarno has seen the worst chronic pain patients in the world,” he says, “and most lived with severe pain in the neck, back, shoulder, or buttocks for ten to thirty years. Most received multiple epidural injections, one or more surgeries, and years of physical therapy.”

Dr. Robins notes that Sarno was able to achieve amazing results by having his patients listen to two lectures. In the first lecture, he’d tell them, “It’s not the disc or spinal stenosis or any other anatomic abnormality that’s causing your pain. Most people your age that have no pain have a slipped disc or spinal stenosis or other conditions that are abnormally blamed for back pain. What is causing your pain is chronic tension and spasm of the muscles.”

In the second lecture, he’d tell them, “Whenever you have pain, I want you to notice what you’re angry or anxious about.” Robins points out that Dr. Sarno’s treatment methods are important breakthroughs, but the methods he recommends to handle emotional issues are archaic compared to the speed and efficiency of energy healing techniques.

Energy Medicine for Chronic Pain

I’ve found that energy medicine modalities such as Grounding (Earthing) and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can be very effective in eliminating chronic pain.    On one of my regular physical checkups, my doctor noticed I was in pain and asked me about it. I gave her a brief rundown on an injury I had sustained as a young man playing football and the various medications I had taken over the years to deal with the chronic effects.  I even consulted a surgeon who wanted to operate and remove part of my shoulder bone.

I was surprised when she suggested I try EFT.  I was skeptical, I admit. I thought I knew what was causing the pain. I was sure it was caused by the long-ago football injury and only surgery could really fix it. But I didn’t want surgery so was willing to give this a try. I found a practitioner who practiced energy healing.

He began by asking me to rate the level of discomfort I was feeling on a scale of one (no discomfort) to ten (excruciatingly painful). I told him it was about seven, but if I tried to lift my shoulder, it went up immediately to ten. He took me through a tapping sequence at different points on my face, chest, and arms while holding the memory of the injury in my mind.

After one round of tapping, I was truly amazed because the pain level had gone down to a five. I was overjoyed and was about to thank him and leave when he said, “We’re not through yet. We want to get the level down to zero if we can.”

It took some additional tapping that day and two additional weekly sessions to get the rating down to zero, but we got there. Some problems can be resolved in a single session. More often, there are additional issues related to the pain that need to be addressed.  The pain in my left shoulder has never returned, though I know the shoulder is still “dislocated” because I continue to feel the gap where my collarbone connects with the shoulder, and the bone continues to protrude. This is the bone a surgeon suggested he could cut off. I shudder to think about how many people take medications that don’t work or undergo surgery they don’t need.  There are other choices and energy healing with worth exploring.

Please share your questions and experience below. I’d also like to invite you to join me on Twitter: @MenAliveNow

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  1. Ann Catherine says:

    I currently utilize EFT, Reiki and self hypnosis instruction as a holistic therapist for pain conditions (acute and chronic) as an adjunct or alternative to traditional treatments. These methods work very well for most individuals; however, a large percentage of people today are still relatively unaware of the growing number of natural, non-narcotic alternatives to pain relief and management being used successfully all over the world.

    In lieu of the lack of awareness in the general public on natural methods available, I was delighted to read your mention of EFT and Grounding as natural alternative approaches for pain relief and management. Excellent article!