What Did Humans Use For Pain Management Before The Modern Medicine

Relief From The Pill

Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. Though modern medicine has given us many tools for dealing with pain, you may wonder what people did before the advent of easy pain relief from a pill. The truth is that people have always found ways to manage pain, and while some of the techniques were more efficient than others, they all lead to the advance of the modern medicine that we enjoyed today.

1500 BCE.

Many pain medications are derived from opium, and many ancient people were aware of opium’s pain reduction qualities. It is guessed that the use of opium as a pain reliever dates back to the Neolithic Age, and there is some indication that it is the soma plant that is referenced in the Rig Veda, an Indian text that dates back at least to 1500 BCE.

400 BCE

There were many cultures who used natural herbs and plants for pain relief. For example, willow bark is a substance that contains salicin, which is know to relieve pain and bring down inflammation. It was mentioned by Hippocrates in 400 BCE, where it was recommended that people in pain should chew on it. Today, willow bark continues to be used to treat pain; osteoarthritis, lower back pain and headaches are often treated with this remedy.

Middle Ages In Europe

There was a great deal of guess work that went into figuring out what kind of plants did what, and sometimes, the remedies provided at best a placebo effect. During the Middle Ages in Europe, there was a popular theory that a plant that was shaped like a certain body part was ideal for treating ills dealing with that particular part. In most cases, following this stricture was simply ineffective; in worst cases, it could lead to poisoning!

Widespread Belief

It is important to understand that before modern medicine, there was a widespread belief that pain was divine in origin, that it had been sent as a punishment for one reason or another. This lead many people to pray that their pain would be removed or to make offerings to temples in the same hope.

The Ancient World

Trepanation is the process of creating a hole in the skull, and it was used throughout the ancient world. The shocking part is how many people actually survived this procedure in a time prior to a modern understanding of sterilization; there are many skeletons found in both Africa and South America where it was clear that the patient had lived for many more years after the procedure was completed. It was thought that trepannation might be used to treat headaches and migraines. Understanding the way that people treated pain in the past can be instrumental to helping us deal with it today.

Austin, Texas has been Peter Wendt’s writing headquarters for a number of years now. He did suffer from back pain in the past and was wondering how humans did handle this in the past. Visit austinpaindoctor.com for more information about this topic.

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