07 Dec


Drugs for what ails you, from depression to diabetes, seem to be the American way.  But it is not necessarily an optimal way or even a good way to feel better.  These are some common alternatives to the drug route to health that avoid the usual drug induced side-effects, dependencies, and costs:                                                                       –

Arthritis: Aerobic and strength-training exercises can help people with arthritis feel better.   Younger and well as older people experience a significant reduction in pain through exercising.  Go to for more information on this program.

Bodily Pain: Again, exercise is an answer.   A 2007 review of 31 studies on nondrug treatments for fibromyalgia concluded that low to moderate intensity aerobics, including water aerobics, reduced symptoms.  Exercise was also helpful to back pain sufferers.  Other treatments, including acupuncture and meditation have also worked for many people with pain.

– Tummy Troubles: Peppermint oil is an excellent choice for 3 of 4 people who have tummy problems, including irritable bowel syndrome. .  Yogurt also helps.  Heartburn is lessened if certain “dangerous” foods are resisted, such as caffeine and chocolate.  It also helps to lose excess weight, quite smoking, eating smaller meals more often, and avoid lying down after eating.  Wearing comfortable clothing also helps.

– Urinary Problems: Doing Kegel exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor helps with controlling those giggle-induced wet spells.  Google Kegel exercises to find out more.  Also check out some behavioral measures to stop the rush to the toilet. One way is to reflect on your “go” signal, tighten your pelvic muscles 3 times, and walk, not run to the bathroom.

– Depressed Mood: Its exercise again.  In two clinical trials comparing exercise with anti-depressant drugs for major depression, researchers found that after about four months, both approaches worked equally well.   Drugs alone are no substitute for talk therapy, and in the long run, finding ways of living better through therapy is more successful than popping the pill.

Sleeplessness: Good sleep habits can work as well as taking a sleeping pill, and over a six month period  those without the pill slept better than those who sometimes used one.  Good sleep habits include having a regular sleep schedule, a dark and cool bedroom reserved for sex and sleep, and no coffee, alcohol, smoke or exercise near bedtime.  (People who love to read in bed or watch tv will want some re-evaluation of this.)

From: Feel Better without Drugs.  Consumer Reports on Health, 2010, 22, 1, 4.

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Posted by on December 7, 2010 in Articles


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