Physical therapists advocate exercise to improve pain. Physical therapies can treat many ailments including: osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, rheumatoid arthritis and neuropathic pain.
The goal to physical therapies is to get patients moving as they may be weak from stopping physical activity. These physical therapies can include: massage, manipulation of joints and bones, manual therapy using hands or tools on soft tissue; cold laser therapy; and movement therapy and exercise.
Massaging of painful areas, movement therapy and exercise can increase circulation to the area and improve mobility of muscles. Practitioners may be experienced in one or a few of these treatments and may recommend several options to you.
Manipulation of joints and bones needs to be undertaken by a registered Chiropractor or Physiotherapist. They should be experienced and trained in certain techniques that will improve pain management for the patient.
Cold laser therapy uses a cold laser or low level light therapy treatment that is non-invasive. Therapists should hold qualifications and be experienced in these treatments also.
You may wish to try these treatments. It is strongly advisable to try one treatment at time to understand how your body responds to the treatment and improves your pain management and mobility.
Acupuncture can assist to manage pain in certain areas by increasing blood flow to the area to increase circulation and repair those cells. Acupuncture is like meditation as it allows to you relax into a non-sleep state where your mind wanders; and you feel relaxed. It is important to relax as the fine single-use needles are strategically positioned for pain management in certain areas. Ensure you use a practitioner that has the relevant qualifications and experience in using acupuncture needles.
Naturopaths can provide advice about how your diet affects your body. They may also advise which foods your body reacts to and which foods will assist with healing your body. A Naturopath may prescribe certain herbs and minerals to assist with specific ailments that you may have.
Hypnosis may assist you to manage chronic pain and tinnitus. However, you will need to be a person who will allow themselves to be guided to ensure they can relax enough to be hypnotised. The Practitioner will take you through some visualisations to assist you to manage your pain more effectively. Again, a Hypnosis Practitioner must be registered and have much experience and qualifications.
Playing sport may result in injuries, depending on the type of sport you play and whether it is a contact sport.
Make your diet joint friendly – An anti-inflammatory diet will assist you to reduce joint pain and includes eating much fresh fruit and vegetables and ensuring an intake of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Omega fatty acids can be found in salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines. Nuts, seeds and plant oils also contain omega 3 fatty acids and include nuts, chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseed oil, soybean oil and canola oil.
Improve your balance and stability – to reduce the chance of falling over. This can be done by using a balance board or undertaking Tai Chi. Standing on one foot using alternative legs, tightrope walking, and the flamingo stand are all exercises that can improve your balance.
Take time out – If you are feeling dizzy, this is your body’s way of telling you to take time out from that activity and to rest and recover from the activity. If you are over-training this will place much stress on your body and may result in more injuries.
We spend a lot of time in a care, usually driving alone. You will want to ensure you are comfortable before you commence your journey so that you arrive safely and not be too stiff and sore. The following strategies will ensure you are sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat.
Before shifting your car into gear, consider the position you are sitting in and ensure you have the best posture. The best angle for you back is bending slightly forward. Also consider supporting your head by having the back rest just resting on your head.
Ensure you support your lower back by ensuring that your back rests up against the chair. If you are unable to get support from the chair you can use a cushion placed in the small of your back to ensure you are in the best position.
Adjust your mirrors so that you can see without moving your head. You should be able to see into your mirrors by glancing in them from your current position. The mirrors should be adjusted every time a different person drives the car to ensure they don’t strain their neck.
At home you can get very busy and don’t notice the pain creeping on. You can beatpain with these strategies:
Try Yoga – Downward dog is a very good position for lower back pain. You can try a few simple exercises by downloading them from the internet. Only work within your comfort zone – do not push too hard too fast. Remember to choose them from someone that practices and trains in Yoga.
Give your feet a rest – your brain gets so many messages from your feet. Give them a gentle rub or soak in some warm water. Your whole body will feel better for it. The warm sensation will allow you to move more freely.
Lose weight – I know this is hard to do, but if you are eating a diet rich in sugar and carbohydrates, you will put on weight or reduce the chance of losing weight. The excess weight can put pressure on your joints and cause pain. Consider going on a sensible diet and/or undertaking regular exercise to lose weight.
Psychological strategies for pain management include cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), mindfulness and hypnotherapy.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or CBT involves using adaptive coping skills such as relaxation, distraction, planning and routine, and problem solving to reduce the pain of the experience. This is a way of accepting the pain and knowing it is there for a reason and not getting stressed out by the pain. Negative and stressful thoughts are replaced with calming and positive thoughts that assist with pain management.
Mindfulness is distracting yourself from the pain by paying attention to everything around you. This involves using all your senses and being present in the moment. During this process you pay attention to each moment without making a judgement. This involves separating all the experiences from the pain itself. By focusing on what is going around yourself, you don’t notice the pain as much.
Hypnotherapy is a relaxed state of consciousness that involves the patient relaxing to a point where you can focus yourself away from the pain and look at pain as necessary to advise you of a potential medical condition. Hypnotherapy allows you to accept the pain and not notice it as much and live with it as a way of your body telling you about a medical condition.
Pain can be described as a message from your brain to your body advising that something is not right. When pain is first detected it is advisable to take notice of the pain and try and establish the cause of the pain and stop the cause if possible.
In the long term if pain is not managed effectively by getting to the cause of the problem, the following things may happen:
Reduced ability to recover from illness;
Spikes in blood pressure which may lead to heart attacks and strokes;
Nausea or loss of appetite;
Difficulty sleeping and sleep pattern disturbances;
Drowsiness, general weakness or fatigue;
Mood swings including feelings of helplessness, anger, irritability, anxiety, depression, social isolation and even suicide;
High hormone levels which place stress on the heart, lungs and other organs;
Being inactive or disruption of daily activities; and/or
Loss of interest in normal activities including work, hobbies, family, relationships and interests.
It is strongly advisable to seek medical attention to get to the source of your pain. Once you have discovered the cause of your pain, you can consider different pain management strategies that may be suitable for yourself and your condition.
Living with pain can be difficult and everyone has their own experience with pain, the cause for their pain and pain management strategies that work for them.
The greatest challenge with pain is if your pain is persistent. Some people believe that pain will never go away and they will have to live with it for the rest of their lives. These people give up on managing their pain and believe that it will never improve. At this point the only thing they can control with their pain is their acceptance of the pain.
Pain management can involve a range of strategies from distraction, cognitive behaviour therapy, physiotherapy, medication and other strategies. These strategies can be obtained from seeing a therapist that specialises in pain management, talking with your doctor and specialists and having a team of people that can assist with providing strategies to manage your pain.
You may find that different strategies will work at various times. You will need to be open minded and assess strategies as they become available.
Pain is an essential tool for your brain to advise your body something is wrong. If you have pain it is there for a reason and you must investigate the source of the pain and treat the pain at its source to have a good outcome.
Once you have established the source and reason for your pain you can then develop strategies to manage the pain.
These strategies can include physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic care, exercises, naturopathy, mindfulness, cognitive behaviour therapy, distraction and other activities.
Physical therapy is easy to obtain as you don’t need a referral and can get a booking with a local physiotherapist in a week or two. Massage therapists and Chiropractor appointments can be obtained in the same way.
Naturopaths will review your diet and how it affects your pain. They may advise on a specific diet to follow and they may also prescribe natural supplements for pain relief.
Mindfulness involves accepting the pain as a necessary component of your recovery. Once you have accepted the pain, you will not be fighting it anymore and your gradual recovery will result in less pain as you recover. Knowing that pain is a part of the healing process allows you to accept it.
Pain management is different for everybody and it is advisable to try a different approach at a time to find out which one suits you.
Migraines can affect your quality of life in a negative way. The first thing you need to do is find out why you are getting migraines. Your migraine is there for a reason and you need to get to the source of the pain in order to treat the pain correctly.
There is not just one test to test for migraines. The first step is to talk with your GP about your medical history and life style to ascertain if these are the cause of migraines. It is best to keep a diary of your migraines which includes the following:
How often your migraines happen;
How long they are present for;
If they followed an activity;
How it effects your every-day life; and
If you have a family history of migraines.
This will assist to discover the cause of your migraines. You may have a CRT, MRI or EEG to rule out physical problems in your brain that may be causing your migraines.
If you find that migraines follow an event, is it possible to avoid or alter that event?
Exercise, stretching, meditation, acupuncture, massage, or medication may assist in preventing or relieving migraines. Different strategies work for different people.