It was a moment of despair for me when my mother was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Plagued with excruciating pain and swelling in her joints, she suffered the daily agony of this chronic inflammatory disease. She also has a psychological fear that this pain can drastically alter her life. She took an anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by the doctor, but nothing soothed the painful and burning sensation of joints.
Generally, pain relates to a sensation that hurts. It indicates that something wrong has happened with the body. It is a major symptom of inflammation process (other are burning, swelling, redness etc.). There are mainly two type of pain: acute and chronic.
Acute pain is usually intense and short lived. It is often associated with acute disease conditions (such as body ache or throat pain during viral fever) and injury. When the injury or acute disease condition is cured, pain usually goes away.
Chronic pain is a pain that is much longer in duration than the acute pain. There are different conditions such as chronic back pain, fibromyalgia and arthritis that cause a state of chronic pain and seriously alter the quality of life. Chronic pain sufferers often feel that life is more challenging for them.
Yes it is true that chronic pain wrecks lives. It can destroy your happiness and may affect career and relationship. It eve disturbs sleep and may cause irritability, depression and suicidal thoughts. Pain stimulates chemicals that causes inflammation, leading to other chemicals causing more pain- and the cycle goes on.
According to scientific studies, women experience pain more often and more intensely than men. Unfortunately, doctors are less likely to take their pain seriously and treat it aggressively. For women, a long list of biological (pregnancy, child birth), psychological and social factors (such as issues of family stress, weight gain) can be at the forefront when it comes to onset of chronic pain.
There is no permanent cure for chronic pain. The common anti-inflammatory and pain killer drugs provide only temporary relief. While relieving pain, these drugs may destroy the gastrointestinal tract and may result in potentially dangerous side effects. But it is not an end to hope. Fortunately there are several alternative therapies that can decrease swelling, inflammation, and pain. And it may relieve the agony of the sufferer. As a daughter and as a physician, I had observed the torment of chronic pain so closely. I know it affects a person’s mental and physical state badly. I am sharing a complete guide to manage your chronic pain naturally. Hope this helps you.
Massage is the most common and well-known method that works splendidly in reducing the intensity of pain. It works in two ways. First, it increases the level of feel good hormones (such as serotonin and endorphins) and reduces the level of stress hormones (such as cortisol). In fact, it shows great results in post-operative patients. Apart from reducing pain, massage also help in significant reduction of anxiety level.
Useful for: Back pain, Osteoarthritis, Headache, Neck pain, Surgery related discomfort etc.
Caution: It is important to get a massage from a trained person. It is also mandatory to understand your disease condition; otherwise it may cause adverse side effect and worsening of disease condition.
Manage your mental stress level
It is a proven scientific fact that there is a direct correlation between pain and mental stress level. Especially in case of chronic pain, mind-body management and cognitive behaviour therapy works really well.
According to National Center for Biotechnology Information, lifestyle changes and stress reduction not only helps in reducing pain but also helps you cope when the symptoms flare up.
Caution: There are various stress reduction techniques trending nowadays. But not all are suitable to everyone. Pranayama, meditation, use of creative arts are some of the common methods that work great in reducing stress. But for getting best result, understanding your disease, type of pain and your interest is important. You can take professional advice if your stress level is too high.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese science, in which really thin needles are inserted into body at a particular point to relive the pain. Even though there is lack of enough scientific evidence, it is believed that correct placement of needles helps in correcting the imbalance of energy (chi). It also improves functioning of nervous system and musculoskeletal system which is often the cause of pain.
Useful for: Migraine, Chronic back pain, Sciatica, Osteoarthritis, Headaches and Fibromyalgia.
Caution: Avoid self-treatment, it is recommended to take expert guidance. Results may vary from person to person. It is better to use it as an alternative with other pain controlling methods.
Yoga and meditation
While discussing ‘natural pain management’, how can we forget our own ancient powerful science of “Yoga”? Yoga and meditation have tremendous positive effects on our physical, mental and overall health. Apart from improving flexibility of our body, yoga has a great “neuroprotective effect” that means people who practicing regular yoga has a significant increase in pain tolerance. Yogis have better mental health and ability to manage their stress level. And this positive effect helps a lot to people who suffer from chronic pain.
Caution: Avoid over enthusiasm. Start it slowly, learn it perfectly and then practice it regularly. Try to make it a part of your everyday life.
I urge those suffering from chronic pain to try this revolutionary and wholesome approach towards healing.
This is Part 1 of a two-part series by Dr. Surbhi Prapanna on tips to heal chronic pain naturally. You can read Part 2 of the series here.
Surbhi is a qualified doctor (B.H.M.S.) with 5 year of teaching and clinical experience. She started her writing journey at the age of 17 and published various articles in famous news paper and magazines. The most incredible experience of her life is being a mommy of two cute dolls. Recently she started her own blog Positive Parenting. She loves to write on crafting, parenting issues and kids activity and wants to share her parenting journey with others.