Natural Approaches to Clearing Chronic Pain

By Deanna Hope Berman, ND, CM

pain-in-finger-jointsI don't have a high number of clients who come to me solely because of pain. However, pain is often a secondary symptom of the many chronic conditions my clients present with. Therefore, out of necessity, I find myself helping people overcome chronic pain. That's no surprise. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.

The most common types of chronic pain are back pain, migraine or headache pain, and joint pain. Although some pain stems directly from current or past injuries, this is not where I want to focus this article. Here, I'm discussing the chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, Lyme disease, and other chronic conditions. Because pain can affect the simplest of daily tasks (walking the dog, doing the dishes, getting dressed), it can make living a fulfilling life nearly impossible. For this reason, I am dedicated to helping my clients find lasting relief, and better overall health in the process.

As you may have experienced, the cycle of pain itself exacerbates the problem. Chronic pain makes it harder to exercise or to get a good night's sleep. A lack of exercise can lead to both depression and weight gain. Weight gain can often exacerbate chronic pain especially in the back and joints. The lack of sleep leads to an increase of stress hormones. Stress hormones and the related anxiety and depression can exacerbate inflammation, thus further increasing the pain. My goal is to help people break these negative cycles by getting at the underlying causes.

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Home Sweet Home Birth

By Sandra Londino, MS, CNM, LM

pregnancyHome birth is common among women in many countries, but in the US it's rare and poorly understood. This wasn't always the case. During colonial times, women gave birth in their homes, attended by women, with male physicians allowed into the birthing room only when labor deviated from the norm.

During the second half of the eighteenth century, male physicians began taking a more prominent role in childbirth, especially for members of the upper and middle class, who saw being attended by physicians as a status symbol. Commonly held sexist beliefs about the intellectual and emotional inferiority of women contributed to this shift. By the turn of the century, doctors were attending half of all births, though midwives still served the poor and rural folks.

In the early 1900s, medical leaders began calling for the abolition of midwifery entirely. Prominent obstetricians of the time believed that pregnancy and childbirth were dangerous, pathological conditions that could be best managed in hospitals with drugs, specialized procedures, and surgery. Thus, women began to believe that hospitals offered them the safest and most satisfying birthing experience. This happened in spite of the favorable outcomes that midwives experienced, such as lower rates of maternal death and neonatal injury and death, and more comprehensive postpartum care. By the early twentieth century, thousands of American women still died from postpartum infection every year. Serious perineal lacerations, head injuries to the fetus, and breathing disorders resulted because of inappropriate and careless use of forceps and chloroform. As midwifery declined during the first half of the century, maternal and infant mortality rates steadily increased. By 1935, the percentage of births attended by midwives in the US had decreased to 12.5 percent.

Read more: Home Sweet Home Birth


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  • By Jeff Joseph
    Trees are such a ubiquitous part of our local landscape that it is all too easy to forget their essential involvement in our lives. It was for this reason that the first Arbor Day was celebrated in 1872. Each state chooses the date for this holiday to coincide with the optimal season for tree planting. In New York, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April, which this year falls on April 27. While it is largely overshadowed by Earth Da...
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