Every day, approximately a hundred people die in the United States after overdosing on opioids. An opioid is any prescription pain reliever but also includes drugs such as heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. World over, the problem may be more significant as many instances go unrecorded or unreported. When pain relievers went mainstream, we were all given to understand that they are not addictive. Doctors began prescribing them for both minor and major ailments. This widespread use led to addiction and overdose as patients started abusing their prescription drugs. Today, it has reached the level of a crisis at least in the United States. The rest of the world is not immune.

Anyone who exercises regularly would be familiar with the endorphins that are released post exercise. Many minor ailments can be alleviated just by being more active. In many cultures, they also look for natural or herbal solutions for pain. Kratom also is known as ketum is one such evergreen tree. Found in Southeast Asia and more widely in Thailand, Malaysia and Indochina it is also used as traditional medicine for the past few centuries. The use of Kratom relieves pain, including chronic pain. It is also used for people suffering from opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Due to its possible misuse, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in the United States frowned on its use even if used recreationally. Historically, it was used by labor to relieve musculoskeletal pain from a long and hard day of work. The effects of Kratom are not very different from any regular painkiller that a Doctor may prescribe. I recall people in the town in which I grew up chewing betel nuts to alleviate their mood, fend the cold winter or even relieve pain. Unless you have undergone a serious injury that is causing you pain, in my opinion, there is no better way to alleviate pain than exercise.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.