Exploring Holistic Pain Management Solutions

Nearly 50 million American adults have significant chronic pain or severe pain, according to a new study prepared by National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. This costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical treatment and lost productivity. The pain can range from annoying to debilitating. 

There are many pharmaceutical medications that a doctor may prescribe to manage pain, but many people choose to forgo this route due to side effects, addiction potential, personal beliefs or they want natural treatments in conjunction with their medications.  

Furthermore, even national recommendations by various medical bodies, recommend “alternative” treatments before starting opioid medications. 

Below are some very easy interventions you can employ on a daily basis to mitigate pain.

Diet
• Reduce simple sugars, which are inflammatory.
• Increase healthy fats such as avocados, walnuts, seeds,and omega-3 eggs.
• Increase organic fruits and vegetables; the more colorful the better.
• Reduce foods from the nightshade family including: white potatoes, bell peppers, tomatillos, tomatoes, eggplant, tobacco and paprika. 
• Increase herbs and spices such as turmeric, black pepper and ginger which are anti-inflammatory and can increase circulation.

Natural Remedies
Epsom salt baths — Pour 3 to 4 cups of salt into a warm bath and soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Epsom salt can help relax muscles, decrease inflammation and increase circulation.

Hydrotherapy — Alternating hot and cold water through a shower or bath is an excellent way to increase circulation and decrease inflammation. Easiest way to remember is the “three threes” —  3 minutes hot, 30 seconds cold, in sets of three, three times a day to affected areas, always ending on cold.

Essential oils — Arnica, lavender, wintergreen and peppermint are considered to be analgesics, which means they can help decrease pain. Dilute a few drops of each or all into a tablespoon of a carrier oil (almond, coconut or  jojoba) and massage into the painful areas. 

Stress management — Stress has been shown to increase pain, especially in the head, neck and back. Incorporating stress management through meditation, yoga, exercise, journaling or deep breathing can help decrease pain. 

Other Considerations
Movement is very important because it allows the blood to circulate throughout the body and heal the injured areas. Yoga, stretching, tai chi and water aerobics are all excellent ways to stimulate circulation that are gentle on the body. 

Other types of treatment that can help with pain include massage, acupuncture, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, physical and physio therapies.

Guided imagery and hypnosis are also excellent ways to help the body experience a decrease in pain. 

The afforementioned advice are just some basics. There are many more natural and integrative approaches including vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathics and hormones that may be of great assistance. Make an appointment today to discuss other strategies and options.

 

Dr. Mimosa Tonnu utilizes naturopathic, integrative and holistic medicines to treat the whole family. She sees patients for both acute and chronic health conditions at Born Naturopathic Associates, Inc., in Alameda. Find out more at www.bornnaturopathic.com or 550-4023.