Common pain is considered to be the most common health ailment in the United States, with nearly 90 million Americans afflicted by chronic pain to some extent. Unlike acute pain, which is usually temporary and acts as a bodily signal that lets people know they have a health problem in need of their attention, chronic pain tends to be of a continual nature, often lasting six months or more, and of little use as a signal that something is wrong in the body.
Examples of chronic pain include pain that continues after an injury or wound has healed, and chronic cases of arthritic pain, back pain, and muscle ache. Frequent headaches and migraines, as well as certain types of lingering pain that affects the body’s neurological system, are other common examples of chronic pain.
The primary physical symptoms of chronic pain are lasting pain or soreness in any part of the body, chronic stiffness and muscle tension (especially in the back, neck, or shoulders), and/or recurring internal pain, such as headaches or gastrointestinal discomfort that do not go away.
Holistic Approach to Chronic Pain
While many conventional doctors often ignore the psychological factors related to chronic pain, focusing solely on physical pain symptoms, others chose to address a person’s mental and emotional issues first, with the expectation that doing so will resolve, or at least minimize, the associated physical pain. Holistic health practitioners, by contrast, emphasize a treatment protocol that addresses the physical and psychological aspects of chronic pain equally. Here are some important steps you can take based on this holistic approach:
- Seek to understand all of the various factors, both physical and mental/emotional, that can potentially be contributing to your pain. Pay attention to how your pain symptoms become triggered or are made worse. For example, if you suffer from back pain, do your symptoms flare up or worsen as a result of specific physical activities? And do you notice a worsening of your symptoms when you become anxious, angry, or find yourself feeling stressful? Learning to recognize your pain triggers can help you devise a plan of action that can help you minimize them or avoid them altogether.
- Realize that, regardless of how severe and debilitating your pain may be, you don’t have to be a victim. How you feel about your life situations is ultimately a choice that you make. Even though your pain may be great, if you make the effort, you will soon discover that you are still capable of finding moments of enjoyment, happiness, and gratitude throughout each day. Cultivate the habit of choosing to be happy and grateful on a regular basis.
- Be honest with yourself. Is your lifestyle contributing to your pain? If so, in what way and what are you doing to perpetuate such factors. Once you have identified the answers to these questions, take steps to improve your lifestyle accordingly.
- Are you using your pain to get something that you can attain in more appropriate ways? It’s unfortunately not uncommon for people with chronic pain to use their condition as a way to attract sympathy and caring attention from others, especially those whose attention they most value and desire. In other cases, people may use their pain as an excuse to take a break from their daily routines, including their jobs, especially if doing so provides them with the same benefits as daily routines that they do not enjoy. If you fall into these types of categories, consider more appropriate ways by which you can get your needs met and start to implement them.
- Refuse to be a victim. No matter how debilitated your pain may leave you, there are still other areas in your life over which you have control. Exert it and focus as much as possible on activities that leave you feeling empowered. This includes cultivating feelings of cheerfulness, optimism, and good humor.
- Beware of pain medications. Even though pharmaceutical drugs are usually the first, and in many cases the only, resort for treating pain, all such drugs, including aspirin, which kills thousands of Americans each and every year when taken according to its label direction, can cause serious side effects. In addition, many pain medications can also be addictive. Rather than resort to using them, seek out a health care practitioner who is knowledgeable in safe, natural and effective approaches for treating pain.
Chronic pain is caused by prolonged irritation of nerve endings in the body that act as pain signals. These nerve endings can be irritated or stimulated by injury, inappropriately applied pressure, exposure to excess cold or heat, stress, and wounds. Certain diseases, including some forms of cancer, can also result in chronic pain. Unresolved emotional or mental issues can also cause chronic pain due to the stress associated with them, as can how people perceive their experiences due to the filters of their ethnic and socio-cultural backgrounds. Our early behavioral and learning patterns can also influence how we perceive and respond to pain. In addition, pain medications, as well as other forms of pharmaceutical drugs, can also cause pain due to negative side effects.
Many pain experts, such as Dr. David Bresler, Ph.D., former director of the UCLA Medical School’s Pain Control Unit, point out that the experience of pain is often one that is more subjective than objective, meaning that the same external initiation of pain can affect people differently. According to experts such as Dr. Bresler, even if there is no physical explanation for the pain a person feels, to that person the pain is still very much real. Moreover, while some people with chronic pain are able to take their pain in stride and not allow it to significantly interfere with their lives, other people, with the same degree of pain, are unable to cope as well. Such people often become despondent and depressed, feeling that they are helpless to do anything about their condition. In many cases, these are actually beliefs on such peoples’ parts, not objective reality. Even so, the subjective responses that a person has to chronic pain should not be ignored, and, if possible, care should be taken to change them to something more positive and empowering because of how such feelings of depression or despondency can exacerbate chronic pain by triggering physical responses such as unhealthy heart rate, high blood pressure, muscle tension, and/or respiratory problems. Left unchecked, these conditions can add further stress and tension on the body’s musculoskeletal system. As this happen, the sensations of chronic pain can worsen, setting the stage for even more anxiety and emotional problems, which in turn can lead to even greater levels of pain, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle.
Food allergies, inflammation, and a diet that creates an internal acidic pH condition, are also common and significant factors that can cause or contribute to chronic pain.
Diet and nutrition are both essential aspects of a treatment plan for chronic pain, just as they are for all other disease conditions. One of the primary causes of chronic pain, as well a major contributor to many of chronic disease conditions, is inflammation. Inflammation can be caused by a diet that is too acidic, creating an acid pH state that is an ideal breeding ground for the various microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, etc) that can affect our health. It is also often caused by allergic reactions to the foods we eat.
- Eat plenty of organic, plant-based foods, especially dark, leafy green vegetables that help create an alkaline (non-acidic) state in the body.
- Eliminate sodas, coffee, milk, and alcohol and drinking plenty of pure, filtered water
- Avoid all sugar and simple carbohydrate foods (white bread, pasta, etc.), eating complex, nonallergenic foods instead.
- Avoid foods that are high in unhealthy saturated fats. These include dairy products, red meat, hydrogenated oils, and shellfish, as well as margarine and shortenings. Commercial fruit juices should also be avoided, due to their high sugar content.The bulk of your diet should emphasize organic, raw and lightly steamed vegetables. Sprouted seeds and nuts are also highly recommended, as are most fruits (eaten away from other foods), almonds, dates and walnuts.
- Include organic, free-range poultry and cold-water fish that are not farm raised.In addition, you will need to determine if you have any food allergies or sensitivities, which many people do, and which are often undiagnosed or “hidden.” Common allergy-causing foods include:
- Dairy products
Saying that, any food or food substance can potentially cause an allergic reaction. Should it be determined that you are allergic to certain foods, you will need to eliminate them from your diet for at least three months, in order to give your body the opportunity to detoxify and replenish itself.
After this three-month period, you can reintroduce some of the foods to which you were allergic one at a time. If they cause no further reaction, you can begin to include them in your diet again, eating them no more than once every four to seven days. (As a good rule of thumb, no food should be eaten any more often than every four days. This is known as a rotation diet and can significantly minimize your risk of developing food allergies.)
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day http:/// for periods of up to four weeks
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here kevintrudeaudailylifesessentials.com/
- Take an Omega 3 supplement:
- Zamu juice www.amazonherb.net
Nutritional Supplements: In addition to the above dietary measures, the following nutritional supplements are also recommended: vitamin C, vitamin E, evening primrose oil, omega-3 fish oils, and the amino acid DL-phenylalanine, all of which can provide your body with and improved pain-fighting capacity, and all of which have been shown to reduce and prevent inflammation. Acidophilus, bifidobacteria, digestive and proteolytic enzymes, as well as rice-based protein powders are also helpful. Raw organic whey protein, though difficult to locate is available and can be used as an option to rice-based protein powder.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Practise Dr Callahan Techniques rogercallahan.com/cmd.php?clk=4187387
- Try Alphabiotics www.alphabiotics.biz
Beat chronic back pain naturally: www.naturalnews.com/036030_back_pain_muscles_remedies.html
5 Tips for Natural Relief from Pain: blog.seattlepi.com/naturalmedicine/2012/06/25/5-tips-for-natural-relief-from-osteoarthritis-pain/
Kratom as a source natural pain relief – testimonials: www.kratomassociation.org/kratom-testimonials/136-kratom-to-battle-my-chronic-pain
Ayurvedic home remedies for chronic knee pain: www.youtube.com/watch?v=16-5oxEbRqk
Ayurvedic home remedies for chronic back pain: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WaTSaKOYtY
Ayurvedic home remedies for rheumatoid arthritis: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ravKEdhltE
Osteoarthritis – home remedies: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLjcLQWnpd0
Home remedies for sciatic pain: www.ehow.com/video_6925136_home-remedies-sciatic-nerve-pain.html
Natural remedies for chronic pain: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGdL-CoYAuY
Chronic pain in women linked to low levels of Vitamin D: www.naturalnews.com/025886_pain_chronic_women.html
Natural remedies better than conventional meds for treating chronic pain: www.naturalnews.com/037376_curcumin_boswellia_chronic_pain.html
Marijuana better than pharmaceuticals for treating chronic pain: www.naturalnews.com/029662_marijuana_chronic_pain.html
Kratom for chronic pain: www.naturalnews.com/035480_kratom_pain_relief_herb.html
Further Information (links and books)
Reversing Chronic Pain: A 10-Point All-Natural Plan for Lasting Relief by Maggie Phillips; Foods That Fight Pain: Revolutionary New Strategies for Maximum Pain Relief by Neal D. Barnard ; The Chronic Pain Solution: Your Personal Path to Pain Relief by James N. Dillard and Leigh Ann Hirschman; The Miracle of MSM:The Natural Solution for Pain by Stanley W. Jacob M
Magnetic mattress pads
www.magneticosleep.com (800) 265-1119
Pain Elimination Tool, Pain Eraser
Best Hot/Cold Pac, Fomentek
www.fomentek.com (800) 562-4328
Deep Tissue Bodywork, Rolf Institute
www.rolf.org (800) 530-8875
Chiropractic Treatment, American Chiropractic Association
www.acatoday.org (703) 276-8800
CranioSacral Therapy, Upledger Institute
www.upledger.com (800) 233-5880
Bowen Therapy, Bowen Directory
www.inversion-table-direct.com (866) 594-6890
Darrell Stoddard’s Biotape
Strong Bones, Strength Builder, Frame builder
www.dragonherbs.com (888) 558-6642
Jennifer Stone [email protected] – women’s issues, chronic pain, cancer.
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – meditation, stress
Judith Hoad [email protected] – herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic Practitioner.