By Gofire Staff  

Everyone has experienced pain and the need for relief. Yet it can be dizzying trying to figure out the best pain management option from the scores of options that are available.

One must weigh everything from simple aspirin to loose-leaf teas and other herbal remedies or potentially risky pharmaceuticals. Whether you suffer from headaches, sore muscles, aching joints or persistent chronic pain that keeps you up at night, plant-based medicine offers a wide range of delivery methods, dosages and strengths.

The question is, what’s going to work best?

If you have chronic pain, you’re not alone. An estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide live with chronic pain, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine. The condition often affects older adults who are also suffering from cancer, arthritis or neurogenic pain caused by nerve damage or a variety of central nervous system disorders. And in the United States alone, chronic pain afflicts more than 100 million people (roughly 30 percent of the population) and more than 42 million Americans say pain disrupts their sleep.

More and more people are seeking out plant-based medicine to help them conquer their pain. But it can be challenging to determine what form of plant medicine best fits your needs: Sometimes it’s as simple as ingesting the plant in its raw, natural form, while other times it must be processed into extracts, edibles, topicals or tinctures to maximize the benefits of its therapeutic compounds.

Research shows the many ways plant-based medicine can help. In a study published in The Journal of Pain in 2016, researchers found that plant medicine improved the quality of patients’ lives while reducing their use of opioid painkillers by 64 percent, as well as having fewer associated side effects as experienced with other medications.

For postoperative pain management, a study by the American Society of Anesthesiologists discovered that plant-based medicine could be as helpful as morphine.

This all ties to how nerves communicate with the brain. According to a consensus report by the Institute of Medicine, nerves generate pain signals from receptor cells that get activated by temperature, touch, movement or chemical changes. These cells also contain receptors for plant compounds to work their therapy. Research shows compounds in plant medicine can block peripheral nerve pain, which helps a patient experience a level of removal from their discomfort.

The wealth of anecdotal and clinical evidence exploring how plant medicine helps manage pain is endless, spanning modern medicine and ancient wisdom. Centuries ago, Egyptians used plants to help with the pain of childbirth, Indians incorporated a number of plants into their holistic medicine system ayurveda, and even Queen Victoria is said to have used plant medicine for her menstrual cramps.

Thanks to the newfound focus on personalized health care, patients today have better options for finding pain relief with plant-based medicine. And the Gofire health suite gives patients the means to track their own experiences, dosing and health outcomes when utilizing various plant-based products so they can replicate what works well.

Gofire’s smart health app also taps into the powers of crowdsourced data. Patients’ anonymous feedback—such as achieving pain relief or a sound night’s sleep with a particular product—is a useful resource. This community science-based approach gives patients knowledge about what’s most helpful for others with similar conditions and wellness goals.    

The phenomenon of pain is diverse, but so too are the varieties of plant-based medicines and their concentrated formulations used to treat various types of pain. It comes down to finding what works best for you, and Gofire is here to help.