Americans spent $34 billion in a single year on alternative and complementary medicines. "Natural" products, not including vitamins and minerals, made up the bulk of self-care spending. This estimate was found in a recent survey sponsored by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Almost $50 billion was spent on out of pocket for doctor’s visits and $48 billion on prescription medications. Compared to 10 years prior, overall visits to complementary practitioners dropped about 50%, but visits to acupuncturists increased significantly.
The biggest surprise was that chronic pain, especially back pain, was the most common reason for people to use alternative treatments. Without getting into the complicated reasons for chronic pain, one important issue that’s often ignored when it comes to this issue is the importance of good sleep. It’s been shown that lack of a good night’s sleep can lower your pain thresholds. In other words, you’ll sense pain a lot earlier and at more magnified levels than if you got a good night’s sleep. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what comes first. Once it starts, it’s a vicious cycle. This is why both the cause of the pain as well your sleep issues must be addressed simultaneously.
I’m going to address some of these issues on September 15th, when I interview Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, who’s a renowned expert in chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain and sleep. Check my Upcoming Events calendar for up to the minute registration information.