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Three Alternative Strategies That Can Address Severe Chronic Pain

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • Dr. Mark DeBrincat, a chiropractor also known as the “Good News Doctor,” recovered from severe injuries that kept him in severe chronic pain for 15 years using neurofeedback, essential oils and pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) treatments
  • With the use of eight essential oils, DeBrincat was able to remodel the tissue in his spine, reducing his pain from a 10 to a 5, and then to zero
  • The neurofeedback device consists of a cap with 19 leads hooked to a computer that register neural activity, giving you a three-dimensional map of your neurology
  • Once dysregulated areas of your brain have been identified, they can be targeted to increase neuroplasticity. Once neuroplasticity kicks in, you start growing new tissue
  • Essential oils are volatile compounds found in grasses, trees, roots, bark, leaves and flowers. Essential oils in general are about 50 to 70 times more powerful than herbs, and should be used sparingly

Dr. Mark DeBrincat, a chiropractor and natural health physician also known as “The Good News Doctor,” has a most amazing story of recovery from one of the worst chronic debilitating pain syndromes that I’ve ever heard of, so I asked him to share his journey with you, in the hopes it may motivate you to seek natural approaches to pain.

Many see opiates as the only option for severe pain, which can have severe health consequences. Opioids are extremely addictive and 130 Americans die from opioid overdoses each and every day.1 The death toll from opioids is so great it has actually contributed to lowered life expectancy in the U.S.

A Terrible Accident

Twenty-one years ago, traveling from Georgia to Florida to attend a chiropractic conference, DeBrincat and his wife were in a terrible car accident. That they both survived was a miracle in itself. His wife ended up with whiplash and fractured C3 through 5.

“I remember laying in the hospital and threatening her doctor that if he didn’t put a perfect curve into her neck or if he fused all her bones together, he’d never hear the end of my name,” DeBrincat says.

“He literally took the titanium plate home and pounded in a nice curve for me. Here, 21 years later, she’s got a beautiful cervical lateral curve and she still has her joint below a fusion, which is just amazing.

She healed in just a few months and then took care of me for years. I was a hot mess. Bracing my legs on the dashboard on impact saved my life, but also literally split my pelvis in half. The pubic bone snapped in the front, and my sacrum cracked top to bottom in the back.

I ripped the muscles off most of my legs [on] both sides … Then I lost my sigmoid and descending colon in all of that, amongst many other injuries. I spent months confined to a hospital bed. It took me several years to be able to go back to work again as a chiropractor. I had to become my own patient …

By 2010, I was permanently disabled and confined to a wheelchair. I had stabbing pain from my neck, all the way to my tailbone. I had no feeling in my arms or legs, but my hands and feet felt like burning broken glass all the time. I was trying everything.”

Remembering the Body’s Self-Healing Capacity

Raised by holistic parents, DeBrincat was determined to heal from his injuries without drugs, but after seven back surgeries and years of pain, he succumbed to Oxy, Soma and Xanax.

“I let them just throw any medication at me that would take my pain level from a 10 down,” he says. “We found the combination of narcotics, muscle relaxers and anti-anxiety pills that would take me from a 10 to an 8. That was survivable; 10 was just — you cannot live in that environment for the rest of your life.”

Eventually, he also had a computer implanted in his spinal cord at T10, which when turned on would numb his entire spine. “It was basically radar-jamming the pain so that I could move my limbs and actually start to be a little bit independent. That was a big breakthrough,” he says. Still, even this device was not enough to get him off the narcotics. It signified a turning point though. Fifteen years after the accident, he had an epiphany.

“I remembered back in school we talked about healing, getting better and overcoming anything. It’s always innate. We heal from the inside out. We get harmed from the outside in. I really started studying more epigenetics.

In studying the health of our cells, something clicked one day and I thought to myself, ‘You know, every cell has a turnover rate. If I can just simply make the next version of my cells be better than this one, I think I might actually be able to overcome this problem …

Our eyes only take two days. Our gums take two weeks. All the cells are replaced. Our throat takes two months. The lining in our lungs takes eight days. I started having hope, [thinking] ‘I can start doing more things now to impact the health of the cell. The new versions of these cells are going to be better than the last.’”

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Step 1: Aggressive Neurofeedback Training

One of the strategies he used was neurofeedback, which is also recommended for people recovering from traumatic brain injuries. For years, he’d been doing quantitative electroencephalography (qEEGs) and neurofeedback training, but only for 30 minutes, two to three times a week. “We were told that you could never do more than that because your brain can’t handle it. You’ll fatigue and it’ll cause more problems,” he says.

During the time he was wheelchair bound, his brain map indicated neural overactivity, and the neurofeedback training wasn’t correcting that. He then heard a lecture in which it was stated that patients addicted to narcotics for pain need very aggressive neurofeedback training. DeBrincat immediately began doing hours of neurofeedback each day.

“In a few short months, my ability to feel more in my legs, to do more for myself and get myself dressed, was amazing. It was like I’d had the answer all along. I didn’t know I could be tapping into that. With my newfound freedom of, ‘I’m growing new cells, now I can grow new cells in my brain and spine where I have all this damage,’ that was super exciting.”

Discovering Essential Oils

Shortly after that, he met a woman who gave him a bottle of an essential oil. “She says, ‘Honey, just put this wherever it hurts and all your pain is going to go away’ … I remember putting it in my bag and rolling away thinking, ‘Come on. I’ve got the best doctors in the world who get me the best, strongest medications. And your little oil, it’s kind of a joke to me,’” DeBrincat says.

He admits he knew nothing about essential oils, and the oil sat in his bag, untouched, for five weeks. During a vacation, his wife ended up using it while giving him a massage one day. Remarkably, it eased his pain. That was five years ago, and for the first time, he felt no pain anywhere.

“I just sat bawling and crying,” he says. He’d been in pain for so long, he’d forgotten what it felt like to be pain free. With the computer in his spine, he could normally walk 20 to 30 steps max at a time. If he pushed further, he’d be bedridden for days.

That day, he set the pedometer on his watch and started walking. “I walked 5,700 steps,” he says. “I could not believe it.” The next morning, he was still pain free. From there, he went on to study essential oils.

“I found eight different oils that remodeled all the tissue in my spine. I put them on and it would bring me to a pain level 5 from a 10,” he says. “Then somebody who knew a whole lot more about oils looked at my list and goes, ‘You know what? Just turn your list upside down and do it in the other order. When you do it that way, it’s going to have a much greater effect on you.’

I did that and, oh my goodness, it went to pain level zero. Now, I could be pain-free completely for literally 12 hours before any pain came back. I would do it twice a day …

The body is remodeling itself. The oils that are helping remodel tissue are literally getting in there with the DNA when it makes 3 billion copies of itself before it finds the cleanest one to go into the new cell. It helps take out debris, damage, toxins, scars … so that you can give back to your root cell, which is the purest form before you had all your problems …

I did this back protocol for 90 days, then stopped. Within 24 hours, I was right back in this horrible pain again … I went another 90 days and then stopped, and made it four days before any pain came back. Now, this was a second epiphany, because now I really, honest to God, believed I was getting better … [I did] another 90 days and then stopped. That was August 2014. I’ve never had to do that protocol for my back since.”

He used peppermint Siberian fir cypress for his essential oils, Remarkably, the stenosis in his neck and low back is now gone, herniations throughout his spine are gone, as is his arthritis. Even the scars on his back have radically improved.

“I got my life back. I was so passionate. I could teach again. Anybody who saw me walking was like, ‘This is an absolute true miracle. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Are you a twin brother?’ I taught continuing education in a wheelchair for a lot of years. For them to see me walking was astonishing.”

PEMF — Another Breakthrough

He still had limitations though. He couldn’t exercise, lift weights or stretch, for example, and his feet would go numb when walking. His next breakthrough came when he discovered pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy. After five weeks of PEMF treatments, his blood circulation dramatically improved, resolving the remaining limitations.

“My kids grew up with me in a wheelchair most of the years, especially during all their middle school years, and that was so crucial. To be able to have this amazing abundant life with them now and to be able to mountain bike, snow ski, dirt bike, snowmobile, hike and all the wonderful fun things we love doing, it’s just a dream come true.

We’re always looking for products and things that impact us, that give us hope again. That’s why I’ve been known as the ‘Good News Doctor.’ People say, ‘You know what? I always get bad news from my doctor. You’re the first one who’s given me hope again.’

When you’ve been through any major health crisis and you come out the other end, your purpose kind of changes. It evolves into, I guess, how God wants to use you to help people. From being in a wheelchair for so many years and coming out, our main passion is helping people with neurofeedback.

We do the brain mapping … in the privacy of their own home … We can literally give [patients] two years of care in one month, aggressively, and then make those breakthroughs happen over and over again. That’s so exciting.”

While DeBrincat’s story may sound too good to be true, it’s important to realize he did a lot of work on himself throughout. He juiced every day, ate whole food, avoided toxins, and would do his own physical therapy for three to four hours a day for all those years. Still, his recovery is astounding, considering the extent of his injuries and the time spent in disability.

Neurofeedback Explained

The neurofeedback device basically consists of a cap with 19 leads that hook to a computer. The leads can be likened to very sensitive microphones that register neural activity. Placed around the head, you end up with a three-dimensional image or map of your neurology.

Once the dysregulated areas of your brain have been identified, those areas can be targeted to increase neuroplasticity in that region. Once neuroplasticity kicks in, you start growing new tissue.

“This is inspiring for those who are stuck in pain, because you have what’s called a pain network. When that network is not functioning right, you are experiencing pain through your nervous system and you can’t just turn it off …

Knowing there’s technology that can pinpoint a specific network and grow tissue to help that network, this has given us so much hope to help people who are needlessly suffering in pain, because honestly, there’s no drug that’s going to heal them …

I think doctors who don’t either refer out to this or don’t have [neurofeedback] in their practice have a big black hole in trying to help people, because there’s so much information that we’re getting from the brain …

It really should be the foundation, and part of the initial examination … We need to see how well your brain’s functioning, because that’s controlling everything ... A great starting point is to get everything back online, then everything else you’re doing after that will work better.”

Essential Oil Benefits

Essential oils are volatile compounds found in grasses, trees, roots, bark, leaves and flowers. Essential oils in general are about 50 to 70 times more powerful than herbs, so must be used sparingly. Quality and purity are of the utmost importance when seeking medicinal benefits, so it’s important to do your homework.

“Some of them help wake you up, like peppermint oil. One drop of peppermint on your hand, rub your hands together, hold it in front of your nose; in 15 seconds, you’re going to have about 20 percent more oxygen in your brain.

Some of these oils are so small they can go right through your blood-brain barrier and actually enhance your mood and change the way you’re feeling. That’s phenomenal as far as people who are depressed and have anxiety and so forth.”

DeBrincat found there’s a definite synergy between the brain mapping and the oils. Using qEEG, he could see the effect of an essential oil on the brain, often in as little as 30 seconds, either calming down an overexcited area or waking up a low-functioning region.

Essential oils also work as adaptogens. For example, the same oil that works to calm anxiety will work to ease depression, which are two poles on the spectrum. Helichrysum is a blood adaptogen. “I put that over my heart every day,” DeBrincat says.

“If my blood’s too thick, it’s going to thin it. If my blood’s too thin, it’s going to help thicken it. Oils are very intuitive in nature to know what properties you need. The way it does that is by using different vibrations on both sides of the active ingredient to be able to illicit different responses with the same oil.”

More Information

You can get more information about DeBrincat and his practice on TheGoodNewsDr.com. He takes care of patients all across the U.S. In closing, he stresses the importance of neurofeedback for getting more rapid results when you’re trying to address severe pain. You have a number of options for that. You can try doing an online search for local doctors that provide the service. Some will offer home units for rent, which is the most ideal option if you’re going to use it daily.

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