This week at Seed we’re looking at ways to manage and alleviate chronic pain, because we believe everybody deserves to live a life free of pain and injury.
Experiencing occasional aches and pains is a fact of life. But what happens when we start to experience pain on a daily basis?
According to a review published in the British Medical Journal, nearly half of the UK adult population is living with chronic pain, with up to 28 million people experiencing pain that lasts for more than three months.
The most common causes of chronic pain include headache, lower back pain, arthritic pain and pain from disease. There is also unexplained pain, where the GP or medical expert has been unable to get to the root of what is causing it. And while it may not be life-threatening, chronic pain can have a major impact on mental wellbeing and quality of life. It can be truly debilitating, turning small every-day tasks into painful challenges.
We know that painkillers are the first line medical response to managing pain. But what happens if you don’t want to take a drug every day? What else can you do to manage and even alleviate pain more naturally? Here are a list of options below that may help you to manage pain safely and effectively.
Traditionally Acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. The insertion of extremely fine needles into the skin at specific “acupoints” help to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes can stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical well-being and pain relief. Chronic pain, joint pain, dental pain, headaches, migraines and musculoskeletal pain can all be successfully treated with acupuncture.
HANDS ON BODYWORK
Hands on bodywork helps to release stored tension in the body, while simultaneously having a soothing, therapeutic effect on the mind.
Physiotherapy is a top line therapy that helps to restore movement and function and bring the body back into balance. Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, massage, education and advice. They maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.
In contrast, Osteopathy approaches the body from a holistic viewpoint. Osteopaths try to understand the cause of your pain instead of just treating the site of the pain itself, aiming to identify areas of tissue dysfunction and imbalance. Osteopaths will use a wide variety of gentle hands-on techniques that focus on releasing tension, improving mobility and optimising function, together with providing useful health advice and exercise if required.
Try Bowen therapy – a light touch treatment that uses a ‘rolling’ of the hands over muscles, tendons and connective tissue. It is particularly known to alleviate back, neck and shoulder pain, whilst simultaneously calming the nervous system and alleviating stress. After trying every other treatment available for a bad back or chronic pain, many people turn to Bowen and experience a ‘eureka’ moment, enabling them to live without constant pain for the first time in years.
Therapeutic Massage offers another way to alleviate stored tension, freeing up knotted fascia around joints and muscles and relaxing both body and mind.
Laser Therapy is an increasingly popular therapy is the exposure of light at a specific wavelength using Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) and has been clinically proven to offer extensive health benefits including tissue repair, reduced pain and inflammation. By the simple exposure of an energy source of light to the cells, they are encouraged to regenerate and start the self-healing process.
This safe and effective therapy can tackle a whole host of today’s health and wellbeing problems and is used successfully to manage different pains. Soft tissue injuries (muscular, tendon & ligament damage), Joint pain (arthritis) Musculoskeletal conditions (Carpal Tunnel, RSI, TMJ, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder) and Neuropathic pain can all be improved using light therapy.
GENTLE EXERCISE / MOVEMENT
Listen to what your body needs. Switch high intensity exercise for low-to-moderate intensity work outs and simple stretches, alternating with rest and relaxation on days when you are feeling fatigued.
Yoga and Pilates are good options as they focus on mobility and stretching, using gentle movements. Both are incredibly helpful for building strength and resilience as well as releasing tension, particularly in the back, neck and shoulders, due to pain and injury.
Female focussed exercise is also ideal for women’s health related pain and discomfort.
Breathwork is a powerful tool that helps calm the nervous system and manage & alleviate chronic pain. How? Research on pain perception and mood has found that deep and slow breathing reduces autonomic activity (the fear-based, fight-or-flight response) and pain scores.
One study of patients with chronic lower back pain and altered core muscle activation and breathing patterns found that breathwork significantly decreased pain. Other research shows an improved quality of life in chronic pain sufferers due to its relaxation qualities, helping patients to better cope with stress and anxiety that often surround dealing with a chronic condition.
In summary, breathwork changes not only your perception of pain but also your body’s response to it. You can harness the power of breathwork anytime, anywhere, even in the midst of acute stress.
HAVE A HEALTHY ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EATING PLAN
What you eat and drink can have a profound impact on your pain levels and can be a great tool to help you manage & alleviate chronic pain. So, eating anti-inflammatory food is a great place to start. A paleo-based diet is a good option to consider. Focus on organic, fresh, and unprocessed foods and remove field-grass grains (including those containing gluten and gliadin), dairy, and legumes, which can lead to less inflammation and less pain perception.
If you would like to find out more about anything covered in this blog then we’d love to help you. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our individual therapists as follows:
Women’s Health & Exercise / Core Restore: email@example.com
Light Therapy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bowen Therapy: Barbara@seedwellness.co.uk
Yoga: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Pilates: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org