Alternative Therapies - A Fresh Approach To Pain Management
Tired of popping pills to curb your pain? Why not try a fresh approach like alternative medicine instead? An alternative treatment is a medical treatment or intervention that is used in place of conventional medicine. It encompasses a wide variety of therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, yoga, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage and many others. While alternative therapies may not completely eliminate pain, they may help curb it and reduce the dependency on painkillers. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at a few alternative approaches you can try to beat the pain.
- Mind-Body Therapies: Mind-body therapies use approaches, such as relaxation techniques, meditation, and hypnosis to help the mind self-alleviate the discomfort related to pain.
- Chiropractic Treatment: The most common non-surgical treatment for back pain, chiropractic treatment involves manipulation of joints, muscles and soft tissues.
- Acupuncture: A key and one of the oldest components of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is considered to be beneficial for over 30 diseases or conditions by the World Health Organisation, a crucial one being pain relief. Acupuncture uses disposable, stainless steel needles to stimulate the body's 14 major meridians, or energy-carrying channels, to curb pain and restore balance. Another way that acupuncture alleviates pain is by increasing the release of chemicals that block pain, called endorphins. As many acupoints are near nerves, their stimulation may cause these nerves to produce a dull ache or feeling of fullness in the muscle. This results in the stimulated muscle sending a message to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), causing the release of endorphins. Endorphins, in turn, block the message of pain from being delivered up to the brain, thus providing pain relief.
- Aromatherapy: Smell is a powerful way to manipulate your mind and aromatherapy relies on this fact to soothe and provide pain relief. When the chemicals contained in the essential oil reach the body’s limbic system they trigger feelings of relaxation and comfort while reducing the stress caused by pain. Use oils like bergamot, lavender, ginger, geranium, and lemongrass to soothe your mind and reduce your pain perception.
- Meditation and relaxation therapies: The fact that stress can worsen, or even cause, the disease is not only well known but also well documented. A stressed mind is constantly focussed on the pain and with it the perception of pain is increased which further increases stress levels, causing a vicious cycle. Relaxation techniques, such as guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation, are recommended by doctors as means of counteracting stress and reducing the perception of pain.
Alternative medicine is not meant to replace conventional medicine but is meant to be used in conjunction with it for best results. Used properly, alternative medicine makes the pain manageable, less noticeable and may reduce dependence on habit-forming painkillers. As with any medicine, though it is always wise to consult your physician before embarking on any alternative therapy to see if it works for you. So get out there with a fresh approach and beat that pain!
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