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.
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.
To support someone living with chronic pain is difficult. If you know them well then you will know the best way to support them. Each person is different and the level of support they will need depends on their personality, the seriousness of their condition, their tolerance to pain, and their need to discuss their pain.
If you are supporting someone with pain, remember the following:
The patient with pain is a person and the pain prevents them from doing the things that they normally do.
Ask the person with pain to assess the severity of pain with a number from 1 to 10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. This person may get sick of you asking them the question, but it will help you to understand what they need support with and if they require assistance with daily activities.
Learn to recognise that the person is in chronic pain – watch for gritting teeth, clenching hands, sleep disturbance, poor concentration, decreased activity or even suicidal thoughts.
Listen to the person in pain, listen to what they are saying and what they are not saying. Do they need your assistance to do something?
Understand and respect the person’s physical limitations – the person may be able to stand for 10 minutes on one day but may not be able to do it on the following day. Each day is different and the pain level may differ on different days. Pain is never consistent.
As Athletes have pushed their bodies to the extreme, they need to have customised pain management strategies that suit their injuries and assist their recovery to get back to their sport.
These pain management strategies include:
Education regarding the current understanding of pain – The source and cause of the pain needs to be fully understood to develop pain management strategies that work.
Modalities and massage – Different massage techniques are available to assist with pain management in different areas. These modalities include Remedial Massage, Sports Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Relaxation Therapy, Hot Stone Therapy, Reflexology, Shiatsu Therapy, Cupping Therapy and many others.
Movement, strength and conditioning – A series of movements designed to strengthen your body and ensure you get the best results for your training. Professional athletes use these techniques to build muscle and body strength. Personal trainers and Physiotherapists can guide you with developing an exercise program to suit your pain management needs.
Sleep and nutrition – Sleep helps your body to heal and while you are sleeping, muscle and tissues will repair which will reduce pain. Good nutrition is required for the body to repair itself. Certain foods may assist with pain management by reducing inflammation and these foods include Tumeric, Fish oil, tomatoes, nuts, green leafy vegetables and berries including blue berries, cherries and strawberries.
Surgery – Obviously this is the last call, but many people have endured surgery and still have pain management issues.
Psychosocial interventions – Psychological factors can be targeted to improve your state of mind and assist you to improve your pain management. The BeatPain App will assist your mental well-being and ability to improve your pain management. Find out more about the BeatPain App today at the App Store or Google Play.