Dealing with chronic pain? Though managing chronic pain can feel isolating, you are far from alone. An estimated 20% of Americans suffer from unrelenting pain on a daily basis. Finding relief is one of the most frustrating parts of a chronic pain diagnosis. For some people, low-dose naltrexone is providing the pain management they need, without the negative side effects of opioid pain killers.
What is low-dose naltrexone therapy?
Naltrexone is a medication that was designed to help people addicted to opiates overcome their addiction. It belongs to a class of drugs known as opiate antagonists, which work by blocking the opiate receptors within the brain. When the opiate receptors are blocked, opiate effects such as pain relief and a sense of well-being are also blocked. In a nutshell, naltrexone keeps people from getting “high” if they take opiates. It also prevents people with an opiate addiction from wanting to use opiates.
For people who are using naltrexone to beat an opioid addiction, naltrexone is prescribed at high doses. But it was discovered that prescribed at low doses, naltrexone is beneficial in treating chronic pain as well as other conditions such as autoimmune disorders. This is what is referred to as low dose naltrexone therapy.
The research on naltrexone and pain management
LDN therapy for chronic pain has been in use on the fringes of medicine for many years. Doctors “in the know” would even prescribe naltrexone “off label” to their chronic pain patients because they knew of the positive effects of low-dose naltrexone on chronic pain.
But more recently, the studies that back LDN as a treatment for chronic pain have picked up steam. Numerous scientific studies have been published in the past couple of years backing up the long-held knowledge that LDN can safely help chronic pain patients find relief without the dangers of too-often prescribes opiates. You can view some of these studies at this link to the National Library of Medicine.
LDN for chronic pain is a game-changer in the world of opiates
The opiate epidemic that’s ravaged our country all started at doctors’ offices, where opiates were prescribed for everything from surgery recovery to chronic pain. Now we’re lucky enough to know what we didn’t know then - that opiates are powerfully addictive and should only be used when absolutely necessary. Unfortunately for many chronic pain patients, opiates were their only option for keeping their chronic pain under control, leading to an unknown amount of addictions in addition to all the negative side effects of opiates, such as nausea, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, and respiratory depression.
How does LDN stop chronic pain?
As of right now, science does not yet fully understand the mechanism that makes LDN work to relieve chronic pain. The medical community is working diligently to find out exactly how LDN works to help chronic pain, but for now, all we know for sure is THAT it works, not exactly HOW it works.
One theory is that LDN reduces the levels of cytokines in the body. Cytokines mediate and regulate inflammation, and too many of them are linked to chronic pain and inflammation. It is believed that by suppressing cytokine production, LDN relieves chronic pain.
LDN side effects
LDN is generally well tolerated by chronic pain patients. But in very few cases, patients some may experience LDN side effects such as:
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Joint pain
- Sore throat
The “good” side effects of low-dose naltrexone
When you think of “side effects,” chances are, you think of things you don’t want to experience. However, there are some side effects reported with low-dose naltrexone that are actually quite positive.
In certain patients, LDN appears to boost the body’s levels of endorphins, which increases the patient's feeling of well-being. Clinical trial participants report better quality-of-life scores, improvement in mood, decreased depression, and lower stress while on low-dose naltrexone therapy. This extra number of endorphins in the body is also linked to greater motivation and focus as well as better sleep.
How long does it take low-dose naltrexone to work for pain management?
LDN takes a while to work for chronic pain, so starting therapy with clear expectations and commitment to sticking with treatment is paramount to your overall success during the process.
In general, it can take weeks or months for low-dose naltrexone therapy to start working for chronic pain patients. Most patients report feeling the full effects of treatment at between nine and 12 months from the start of their LDN therapy. Once the peak effect is reached at that point, results continue as LDN progresses.
LDN treats a variety of conditions in addition to chronic pain
In addition to helping people beat opiate addictions and treating chronic pain, low-dose naltrexone is also known to help relieve a number of other conditions. For people with multiple health issues concurrent with their chronic pain, the multi-condition benefits of LDN are particularly attractive.
Other conditions that LDN can be used for include:
- Allergies and Asthma
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Celiac or Crohn’s disease
- Childhood autism
- Chronic fatigue syndrome and/or Fibromyalgia
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or emphysema
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
Interested in trying LDN for chronic pain?
Schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our low-dose naltrexone specialists to see if LDN might be the right treatment for your chronic pain. Click here to schedule your complimentary consultation today.
Our staff of highly qualified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Clinical Nurse Specialists are here to help you take charge of your health with LDN. MedStudio also offers testing and treatment for hormone imbalances, micronutrient deficiencies, food intolerances and sensitivities, gut health, and more. All of our treatment plans are personally customized to you and your unique health to help you feel, move, and live your best life!