Pain is an unpleasant sensation that ranges from mild discomfort to almost unbearable agony, and can be acute or chronic.
Acute pain is short term and can last from a few seconds to a few hours, days or weeks - for instance, pain caused by injections, migraine, burns, and surgery. The pain may be self-limiting, or it may act as a warning that something is wrong and requires immediate treatment.
Chronic pain is persistent, intractable pain that may worsen rather than improve with time. Common examples are arthritic pain, backache, postherpetic pain (after shingles, for instance), neuralgia, and phantom limb pain. Many complementary medical techniques are useful for chronic pain, which is usually more deep seated than acute and often more distressing, because of its longevity. The prospect of long-term drug therapy to control pain often tips the balance in favor of a decision to try alternative medicine, for this is often gentler, less invasive, and has fewer side effects.
Exercise helps to stimulate the endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and also provides distraction from pain. Even a brisk, ten-minute walk can help, but do seek professional advice before undertaking any exercise program.
Psychological Therapy Our thoughts, feelings, and behavior have a considerable impact upon how much pain we feel, regardless of the causes. If we are depressed or anxious, pain is likely to affect us more; the more we dwell on it or encourage others to treat all as ill, the worse it is likely to become. Psychologists who specialize in pain-relief programs suggest that chronic pain sufferers take up active hobbies or interests as a distraction from it. They also advise positive thinking, whenever feelings of pain threaten to overwhelm them.
Diet and Nutrition
The pain-relieving amino acid DL-phenylalanine (DLPA), which is found naturally in foods such as nuts, cheese, avocados, bananas, sesame, and pumpkin seeds, is available as a dietary supplement, and has proved useful in treating pain. However, consult your physician, since migraine victims and some sufferers of high blood pressure should not use it.
Different oils, either sprinkled in a bath or inhaled from a few drops on a handkerchief, can ease various types of pain. For instance, camphor, lavender, and sage can relax painful muscles. Lavender is also analgesic, and is often used in the treatment of migraine. Bergamot, camomile, and marjoram are used to relieve pain.
Visualization This is a technique that helps man people. Close your eyes, relax, and choose an image you could believe would soothe your pain, such as a warm golden glow that melts it away, or a gently flowing stream that carries away. Use whatever works for you.
Relaxation Pain generally feels worse when you are tired, stressed, and tense, so practicing relaxation technique on a regular basis should help to relieve it.
Consult a qualified practitioner/therapist for:
Massage A gentle massage can soothe many kinds of pain and relieve tension. Fear and tension often contribute to the level of pain.
Acupuncture Acupuncture is often used successfully to help relieve conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and chronic migraine. The principal approach is treatment of the meridians passing through the painful area.
Tens (Transcutaneous Electrial Nerve Stimulation) This can relieve back, arthritic, musculoskeleta, cancer, postoperative, labor, phantom limb, neuralgia, migraine, and sports injury pains.
Acupressure This has been known to help relieve chronic arthritis if carried out daily.
Osteopathy and Chiropractic These treatments may help particularly musculoskeletal problems such as neck and shoulder pain, backache, and sciatica.
Alexander Technique Pain that has its root in tension, or is exacerbated by tension, may be relieved by this technique. Backache, arthritis, migraine, and other problems can be successfully treated.
Hypnotherapy, Autogenic Training, Healing, Yoga, and Meditation Any of these disciplines may also be helpful in combating pain, since they are all calming, de-stressing techniques.
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