holistic approaches to pain management

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Pain technically is caused by injury to any tissue. This injury creates inflammation around the tissue, which your nerves then perceive and translate to you as ‘pain’. Pain can be anything from arthritis, neck and back pain, to cramps, migraines, and sciatica. Everyone has experienced some sort of pain in their life. Experiencing acute (i.e.. a paper cut) versus chronic (i.e. arthritis) pain can really affect someone’s quality of life.

Holistic Approaches
There are a few methods we can use to approach pain management. There is an acronym “SHARP” to identify symptoms of inflammation – Swelling, Heat and Redness, Pain. If your injury feels hot and red, this means that your body has mobilized the immune system to come heal the area. So technically inflammation is good! But not always enjoyable 😦

First would be addressing the inflammatory response that is causing the pain, i.e. providing the body with anti-inflammatory substances.

Anti-inflammatory foods:
turmeric spice – the active ingredient in turmeric is “curcumin”. Turmeric taken with a bit of black pepper and some form of fat makes it more absorptive.
ginger
devil’s claw, white willow, boswelia
essential fatty acids – salmon, fish oil (2000mg/day), flax seeds, avocado, hemp, chia seeds, olive oil
probiotics – you can get these from cultured foods such as unsweetened yogurt, kefir, tempeh, saurkraut or kimchi. You can also purchase probiotic supplements.
– raw honey

jack bauer demonstrating poor computer posture

Next, try and figure out if there is some activity you are doing that is aggravating the pain. Does your back hurt because of long periods of standing? Does your neck hurt from day-long computer use? Is your posture correct? Do you feel more pain when you are stressed?

Lifestyle implementations:
– develop correct posture – when sitting, keep your spine as straight as you can. Slouching over time can cause irritation to the vertebrae, causing pain.
exercise daily – go for a walk, stretch, or at least change positions during the day. If you sit at a computer daily, make sure you get up and walk around at lunch time.
– invest in ergonomic furniture – these are designed to fit with the contours of the human body, allowing it to work within its natural limits. For example, a keyboard mouse with built-in wrist rest.
– try acupuncture to keep energy flowing throughout the body, or yoga to help loosen tight muscles
– go outside! Fresh air and sunlight really benefit the body

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Finally, take a look at your current diet and examine if you are eating foods that commonly promote inflammation, for example: dairy, red meat, nightshades (tomatoes, sweet potatoes, eggplants, bell peppers), caffeine (coffee and black tea), and processed sugar.

Here are some final tips for helping your body recover from pain naturally:

Topical treatments and other ideas:
– creams with MSM, camphor, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, chamomile, arnica, calendula, capsaicin (from cayenne peppers), vitamin C, sulphur, lavender, or honey. 
homeopathic arnica tablets (taken under the tongue)

🙂
-Emily

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