Finding the Right Balance Between Relief and Healing
If you're in severe pain or struggling with chronic pain, it can quickly derail your life. You'll need quick relief in order to function, which is why I recommend seeking the help of a pain specialist who is familiar with alternative methods of treatment.
A knowledgeable practitioner can help you relieve pain in the short term while also facilitating healing by identifying the underlying causes of the pain. It's important to understand that prescription pain relievers are not the only option, indeed it’s rare that they are the best option.
When carefully and correctly used, prescription pain relievers can be effective, but they became dangerous when used long term. For many people, lasting relief comes not from one form but several, and it often includes making dietary adjustments.
It may take a process of trial and error to enable you to find what combination works best for you — but please don’t lose hope. You can break free from chronic pain and, eventually, many people find they can do it drug-less.
According to reports, more than 50% of adults had or will experience some type of musculoskeletal pain disorder such as back, joint or neck pain. Pain is a leading cause of disability and a major contributor to health care expenses and disability compensation.
I found it interesting to learn that people who are suffering from pain are significantly more likely to have used a complementary health approach compared to people who have not suffered pain. Possibly because conventional medicine fails to relieve many people's pain.
Research suggests that prescription pain reliever work for only about three months, after which changes in the brain may lead to increased feelings of pain along with added emotional upset, including feelings of hopelessness and desperation.
Many pain sufferers have tried virtually every treatment that conventional medicine can throw at them — medications, injections, surgery and more — only to find that their pain hasn't gotten better and they may also be struggling with side effects resulting from the treatment. This is especially true for opioid addiction.
At that point, it's only natural to seek other options, which brings many people to holistic, complementary or "alternative" health care.
Science-Backed Natural Pain Relief Alternatives
A recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings[i] evaluated several complementary approaches for pain relief. According to this report, the treatments listed below have been scientifically proven to help with relief.
One of the most common uses for acupuncture is in treating chronic pain. Acupuncture has a clear effect in reducing chronic pain, more so than standard pain treatment.
Study participants receiving acupuncture reported an average 50 percent reduction in pain, compared to a 28 percent pain reduction for standard pain treatment without acupuncture. It's likely that acupuncture works via a variety of channels.
Amongst people who had experienced back pain, those who exercised had a 25 to 40 percent lower risk of having another episode within a year than those who did no exercise.
Strength exercises, aerobics, flexibility training and stretching were all beneficial in lowering the risk of back pain.
Yoga, which is particularly useful for promoting flexibility and core muscles, has also been proven to be beneficial alleviate back pain. People suffering from low back pain who took one yoga class a week had greater improvements in function than those receiving medicine or physical therapy.
A systematic review and meta-analysis that looked into the use of massage for various types of pain, including muscle and bone pain, headaches, deep internal pain, fibromyalgia pain and spinal cord pain revealed that massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no treatment at all.
Breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation and other relaxation techniques may provide relief, especially from pain caused by tension headaches and migraines.
Research found that people who practice relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation long-term have more disease-fighting genes switched "on" and active, including genes that protect against pain and rheumatoid arthritis.
There are cannabinoid receptors in our brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, immune system and more. Both the therapeutic and psychoactive properties of marijuana occur when a cannabinoid activates a cannabinoid receptor.
Research is still ongoing on how large their impact is on our health, but to date it's known that cannabinoid receptors play an important role in many physiological processes, including metabolic regulation, cravings, pain, anxiety, bone growth and immune functionality.
Some of the research is focused on marijuana for pain relief. In one study, just three puffs of marijuana a day for five days helped those with chronic nerve pain to relieve pain and sleep better.
Furthermore, in states where medical marijuana is legal, overdose deaths from opioids like morphine, oxycodone and heroin decreased by an average of 20 percent after one year, 25 percent after two years and 33 percent by fifth and sixth years.
Curcumin for Pain Relief
Curcumin (aka Turmeric) was once notorious for being a flavourful and colourful addition to curry, but in the scientific world, it has earned a reputation for being a multi-faceted healer. Curcumin contains anti-inflammatory properties.
It can inhibit both the activity and the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX), as well as other enzymes that have been connected to inflammation, effectively preventing the launch of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.
Turmeric has been found to significantly improve post-operative pain and fatigue, and in a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added only 200 milligrams (mg) of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility.
Homeopathy Also Found to Be Effective for Low Back Pain
Homeopathic solutions contain miniscule doses of plants, minerals, animal products or other compounds that cause symptoms similar to what you are already experiencing. The remedies have been thoroughly diluted, and the idea is that the substance will trigger the body's own healing powers.
Studies have found that people with chronic low back pain found traditional homeopathic treatment was effective for treating low back pain, leading to improvements in health-related quality of life and decreases in the use of conventional treatment and health care services.
The number of patients using drugs to treat their back pain was cut in half after homeopathic treatments. It's best to work with an experienced homeopath to guide you in treatment for pain relief, however some common homeopathic remedies for back pain include:
Aesculus, for dull pain with muscle weakness
Arnica Montana, for pain as a result of trauma
Gnaphalium, for sciatica that alternates with numbness
Lycopodium, for burning pain, especially with gas or bloating
Citrullus Colocynthis, for weakness and cramping in the small of the back
Rhus toxicodendron, (aka poison ivy) for stiffness and pain in the small of the back
Essential Oils for Pain Relief
Essential oils are concentrated, aromatic plant extracts that have been used for thousands of years for emotional, cosmetic, medical and even spiritual purposes. One of their most popular uses is also for relief of chronic and acute pain.
There are a number of manners in which to use essential oils, including via aromatherapy. Lavender aromatherapy, for instance, has been shown to lessen pain following needle pricks while green apple scent is known to significantly relieves migraine pain. Other essential oils noted for pain relief, including relief from joint pain, include:
Indian frankincense has even been found to significantly reduce inflammation in animal studies. It is actually one of my personal favourites, as I have seen it work well as a natural painkiller for many of my rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Other essential oils that may be particularly beneficial for relieving RA pain and inflammation include Peppermint, Orange, Ginger and curcumin.
For relief of chronic muscular pain or joint aches, try mixing 15 to 60 drops of your chosen essential oil with 1 ounce of carrier oil, then massaging it into the painful area.
You can also mix three drops of thyme oil with 2 teaspoons of sesame oil to use as massage oil and apply to your abdominal area for pain relief. This may also be used as a massage oil to treat other types of pain, including insect and animal bites and stings. You can also use essential oils in the bathtub. Add two to twelve drops (depending on essential oil) into a teaspoon of honey, whole milk, vegetable oil, coconut oil, or other dispersing agent then add to the water once you are inside the tub.
As always, I find this information helpful please share it with other and if you have any question do not hesitate to ask me.