Conditions such as fibromyalgia, polymyalgia, osteo arthritis, migraine headaches, backache neuralgia, etc etc….. all share a common link of Chronic Pain. Pain is the body’s way of signalling to us that something is wrong. Acute pain will normally follow trauma such as an injury or surgery and management is relatively straightforward. Whereas the management of chronic pain is a very different matter and relies heavily on long-term self-administration of over the counter “pain killer” preparations and repeated GP prescribed medications.
If this scenario seems familiar to you the start of a New Year might be the appropriate time to take a different view on how to manage your pain. Consider a holistic approach supported by complementary therapies and rather than treating the symptom of pain investigate the underlying cause to affect a permanent improvement.
A Holistic approach signifies looking at the whole person, how the individual is functioning physically, emotionally and mentally. Much research has shown there is a strong correlation between emotional pain and physical pain. This would lead us to question that if physical pain becomes unresponsive to medication could there be an underlying emotional cause that is not being identified. This is not entirely a new concept as GP’s frequently prescribe the antidepressant Amitriptyline for neuropathic pain as it works on the noradrenalin and serotonin levels lowering pain signals to the brain.
Patients often get trapped into a stress/pain cycle. Where the cycle begins and ends can be difficult to pinpoint and will be unique to each individual patient. Chemical messages travel throughout the body via the nervous systems connecting organs and systems. When the body is injured chemical messages are sent from the point of injury to the brain where it is interpreted as pain and the body responds accordingly. When this sequence is constantly being triggered a stress/pain cycle develops. Chronic pain can develop when the initial triggering of nerve response is ignored, inflammation and stress levels may then rise and perpetuate a continuing cycle.
Complementary therapies are fundamentally holistic. Within the NHS there is limited access to complementary therapies and a majority of pain sufferers choose to privately visit therapists that have been recommended and use therapies that have anecdotally been effective.
My recommendations for Chronic Pain are firstly Diet. Certain foods can increase inflammation levels and can lower the immune system. Two important areas for the therapist to concentrate on whilst treating conditions that involve chronic pain. Food Intolerance Testing will identify foods etc as well as Vitamin or Mineral deficiencies. Secondly, Clinical Reflexology, having studied Acupuncture in China and attended much advanced training over 30years in practice. Experience has led me to conclude that there is a shared relationship between Clinical Reflexology and Acupuncture. It seems that both therapies when expertly applied have the ability to disrupt the neurological message sequence from point of pain to brain. Allowing physiological and psychological symptoms of stress to be soothed and a deep sense of relaxation experienced. Thirdly, Counselling as an adjunct to Clinical Reflexology. When patients are feeling relaxed there is opportunity for talking. Talking through issues that may be worrying you or concerns you might have can bring about some remarkable changes. The combination of these three examples of holistic therapies may hold the answer to your chronic pain. © AW2020
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