What is PAIN?

The medical definition of pain is,  ” An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony.”

Oh, the PAIN!

Pain has both physical and emotional components.

“Pain may be contained to a discrete area, as in an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain where their conscious appreciation may be modified by many factors.” (Medical Definition of Pain – MedicineNet)

Pain can be explained as radiating, steady, spreading, spasms,
gnawing, unlocalized, pricking, crushing, shooting,
pressing, splitting, cramping, nagging, and pins and
needles.

For those battling “invisible pain” such as fibromyalgia, CRPS (complex regions pain syndrome), RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy), diabetic neuropathy or chronic pain after cancer treatment, accurately conveying the location, frequency and depth of the discomfort can be particularly challenging and emotionally taxing.

From Pain to Addiction

When pain becomes chronic it becomes another discussion entirely — mainly because of the very real danger of addiction to pain medications.

Signs of addiction to pain meds (from Web MD):

1. You think about your medication a lot.

2. You take different amounts than your doctor prescribed.

3. You’re “doctor shopping.”Do you go to more than one doctor for the same prescription?

4. You get painkillers from other sources.

5. You’ve been using painkillers for a long time, though pain medication is intended to bridge a gap or help to get you through a rough patch. It’s not really meant to be a way to maintain or manage chronic pain.

6. You feel angry if someone talks to you about it.

7. You’re not quite yourself. You’re less concerned about your personal hygiene or the way you look.

Pain can be Emotional

When pain is unyielding, it’s important to heal the mental and emotional factors contributing to the pain — as well as the physical roots causing the pain — to be free of it. Pain may also be a symptom of some trauma or an ongoing stressful situation.

Natural Relief from Pain

Some people living with chronic pain may find that medication doesn’t quite give them enough relief, and are looking for natural treatments to supplement their standard treatments, or to replace them entirely.

Exercise and stretching have been found to be necessary interventions from pain, loosening joints and resulting in increased circulation, strength and function; but in the beginning they may also create MORE aching and tenderness.

Irving Raphael, MD, sports medicine specialist at Raphael Sports Medicine and team physician at Syracuse University also recommends stretching to his patients.”If your shoulder is aching from overuse, some mild stretching may help relax the tightness in those muscles to relieve some of the soreness,” It is important to take it slow, listen to your body.

“People who exercise and maintain a good aerobic condition will improve most pain conditions,” says Charles Kim, MD, assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine and anesthesiology and a certified medical acupuncturist at Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center.

When we work out, he says, the body produces its own version of painkillers, such as endorphins, hormones that actually increase your pain threshold. Endorphins interact with brain receptors and can change our perception of pain.

There are numerous ways you can sneak more movement into your day. such as:

⦁ Sitting less and standing more.
⦁ Take more steps and stairs.
⦁ Walk to talk with a coworker instead of emailing them.
⦁ Stretch in your chair.
⦁ Squat to pick something up.
⦁ Park far away from stores so you will walk more.
⦁ Stand up when you talk on the phone.
⦁ Exercise while you watch TV.

Stand Straight…use those CORE muscles!

At the store with a shopping cart, stand tall, use your core muscles to push the cart. Take notice how many people are leaning on the shopping cart, slouching.

Get the most out of every stretch with these tips:

⦁ Perform each stretch slowly and gently — and hold for up to 30 seconds.
⦁ Never bounce during a stretch; relax into it and hold it.
⦁ Ease into each stretch; if you feel any discomfort, you’re pushing the stretch too hard. (everyday Health)

I look forward to my weekly Chair Yoga class, but also try to perform the movements at home.  I truly believe i would not be functioning as well as I am today without the relief I have experienced from practicing the Yoga postures.

 

MASSAGE THERAPY

After 10 weeks, study participants who received either a 1-hour relaxing Swedish massage or a form of massage focused on treating the tissues of the back were twice as likely to have spent fewer days in bed. They were taking fewer meds, and continued everyday compared with those who got usual care, such as painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or muscle relaxants.

Moreover, benefits lasted more than 6 months. Sadly,  massage therapy is not covered by most insurances, so a school may be more affordable for many of us.

“If you avoid walking because your knee hurts, then you’ll lessen your range of motion so it’ll hurt even more later on,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of Real Cause, Real Cure. “Try using a heating pad on your knees for 10 minutes before walking to help muscles relax so you’ll get a better range of motion as well as pain relief.”

Dr. Teitelbaum suggests trying a combination of two cartilage-building nutrients known as glucosamine sulfate and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and Yoga stretching and breathing.

MSM, which is also in a supplement I use regularly, has been shown to assist with the relief of pain.  I add it to my juice first-thing in the morning.

Dr. Teitelbaum says, “Stress can signal the body to release adrenaline, which can cause shallow breathing and those neck muscles to tighten that result in headaches.

Putting a hot compress on your neck muscles relaxes them to help relieve your headache. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, can also help signal your body to release less adrenaline and alleviate tense muscles”

Take comfort knowing that you are not alone dealing with Pain. Speak to your doctor, who will assess the pattern of your pain, (e.g. location, quality, onset, duration, precipitating factors, alleviating factors) and will implement measures to reduce it.

As always, let your doctor know what supplements and natural therapies you are using.




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