Chronic Pain

Naturopathic doctors can be an asset to a personal trainer’s network, especially when it comes to working with clients that suffer with chronic pain.

Chronic pain is any type of pain that lasts longer than three to six months or more after an injury and currently affects about a fifth of American adults.  It’s also the most common reason why patients go to the doctor or go into long-term disability and are often prescribed opioid medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen long-term to address their symptoms.

For patients who don’t tolerate medications well, have side effects from the medications, or those who want to avoid the long-term damage of medications such as Tylenol, naturopathic medicine may offer them solutions to help deal with chronic pain. 

What’s A Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic doctors are physicians who are trained in four-year medical schools to be able to diagnose and treat illnesses and utilize natural therapies that are aimed at stimulating the self-healing mechanisms of the body. 

To be able to treat, naturopathic doctors look for the “root cause” – factors such as joint pain, muscle pain, nerve damage, stress, poor posture, and inflammation levels among others – that are triggering chronic pain. 

After assessing for those root cause factors, naturopathic doctors then implement appropriate natural therapies such as regenerative injections, natural anti-inflammatories, or through elimination of inflammatory-inducing foods, as well as exercise, an important part of the rehabilitation process.  

If chronic pain isn’t being managed adequately or you’re looking for natural solutions other than medication, having a naturopathic doctor on your healthcare team may provide you with a different yet comprehensive approach. 

How Does Chronic Pain Develop? 

“Chronic pain can develop in many different ways which is why it’s important that we have different therapies to address their sources,” says Dr. Sarah Bennett, a physician at Natural Med Doc. 

Chronic pain can develop in any part of the body and usually stems from an initial injury or illness, for example, low back pain that developed after a motor vehicle accident or with joint pain arising from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. 

In addition, chronic pain can be complex to treat as there are often psychosocial factors like depression, insomnia, and anxiety that develop or a phenomenon known as “central sensitization,” which is when the nervous system’s sensitivity to pain or touch is heightened. 

It’s important that pain management is addressed in a comprehensive manner and utilizes different therapies that can address the multifactorial causes of pain, as well as the psychosocial aspects that can develop after long-standing chronic pain. 

More than Pills: Natural and Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative therapies are treatments such as perineural therapy or prolotherapy are injections that help to stimulate the body’s healing mechanisms can be helpful in healing damaged tissues or reducing chronic pain symptoms. 

Conditions that respond well to these regenerative treatments are knee osteoarthritis, ankle sprains/strains, TMJ or rotator cuff injuries, and can also help to improve range of motion, athletic performance as well as joint stability in areas treated. 

In order to address the nervous system’s heightened sensitivity in chronic pain, acupuncture can be also an effective therapy as it helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers through the use of needles along specific points of the body. 

Naturopathic medicine offers solutions such as regenerative therapies and acupuncture which stimulate the body’s healing mechanisms to reduce pain, improve athletic performance, and address hypersensitivity to pain. 

Getting A Naturopathic Doctor In Your Fitness Network

Chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States and current treatment such as medications may not adequately manage pain, especially if the root causes aren’t addressed. Those with long term pain are also more likely to develop other psychosocial issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as a heightened sensitivity to pain.

Naturopathic doctors offer a comprehensive approach to address chronic pain by determining the root causes and implement natural therapies such as regenerative medicine or acupuncture, therapies aimed at stimulating the body’s self-healing mechanisms. 


It’s important that pain management is addressed in a comprehensive manner and utilizes different therapies that can address the multifactorial causes of pain, as well as the psychosocial aspects that can develop after long-standing chronic pain. 

If you don’t already work with clients suffering with chronic pain, it is only a matter of time until you do. A thoughtful exercise program that takes the client’s symptoms into account is your biggest responsibility. But, treating chronic pain directly is outside your scope of practice; referring your client to professionals in your network may help lead him/her onto a path of healing. Consider meeting with a naturopath in your area to discuss possible networking for issues such as chronic pain.




Katherine (Tori) Lutz is a graduate of Florida State University and current student at Columbia University. Professionally, she has a great deal of experience with writing, editing, marketing, and social media strategy. She is currently living in New York City and spends her free time reading and enjoying walks in nice weather.

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