Achieving Pain Relief Without Drugs
When chronic pain sets in, most people immediately look in their medicine cabinet or rush to the drugstore. Although, medication usually offers temporary pain management relief, it’s not going to stop the pain or cure what’s causing it. Fortunately, there are many other approaches available that can provide you with better pain management strategies.
There’s a wide variety of meditation practices; some are complex and involve imagery and mantras, while others are simpler and focus on stillness and breathing. There is no right or wrong way to meditate, and it is believed that any sort of practice can be beneficial for pain relief. It’s encouraging to note that even a small investment of time in learning to meditate can bring pain relief. Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said, “We’ve now shown across multiple studies that meditation reduces pain through very unique pathways”.
Offers therapeutic benefits for chronic pain management: From deep tissue massage to more gentle techniques, massage can help relax muscles and sore tissues and ease chronic pain. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, a growing body of research shows massage therapy can be an effective part of pain relief and management.
The effectiveness of acupuncture has been debated for a long time, but a recent study published in Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%. During Acupuncture, hair-thin needles are inserted into the skin at specific points around the body. It’s virtually painless when done by an experienced practitioner. Inserting the needles is thought to correct imbalances in the flow of energy in the body. Acupuncture is thought to ease pain by affecting neurotransmitters, hormone levels, or the immune system.
Physical Therapy plays an important role in managing chronic pain. Physical therapists are able to administer treatments that include strengthening and flexibility exercises, manual therapy, posture awareness, and body mechanics instruction. Physical therapists can also help the patient to understand the underlying cause of their pain. Dr. Melissa Delgado stated, “Physical therapy is needed, to reactivate injured bodies and reset a hyper-excited nervous system. Careful exercise will teach damaged nerves the difference between normal and harmful sensations.”
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy believed to help a variety of mental illnesses, as well as certain types of chronic pain. It helps people identify and develop skills to change negative thoughts and behaviors. CBT focuses on the theory that individuals and not outside situations and events create their own experiences, including pain. It’s believed that by changing their negative thoughts and behaviors, people can change their awareness of pain and develop better coping skills, even if the actual level of pain stays the same.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
TENS, is the electrical stimulation technique most often used in pain management. It’s believed that by electrically stimulating the area where the pain is localized, you can actually help alleviate it. TENS, or A small device attached to the skin sends electrical impulses to the painful area, stimulates the nerves, and as a result, reduces pain. According to an article in The National Center for Biotechnology Information Library, “Clinical trials suggest that adequate dosing, particularly intensity, is critical to obtaining pain relief with TENS. Thus, evidence continues to emerge from both basic science and clinical trials supporting the use of TENS for the treatment of a variety of painful conditions while identifying strategies to increase TENS effectiveness.”
If you’re experiencing chronic pain, contact board certified and fellowship trained pain management specialist, Dr. Adrian C. Dumitru. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, please call (713) 461-8555.