Heat and Ice for Pain Relief
There are so many different causes of chronic pain that it is sometimes impossible to know where to begin. Sometimes pain can be the direct result of a hormonal imbalance, such as, the physical pains and twinges a woman may feel before or after her period. Oftentimes pain is physical, caused by an obvious source such as an injury or wound.
Still, there are some scenarios that are less black and white. People may wake up with pain, begin to experience pain due to stress, or have a pain that is completely inexplicable. The best treatment for pain relief is also one of the oldest: temperature. When applied to the painful area, both heat and cold can help reduce soreness, throbbing, and other discomforts.
The Simple Option
It has become more and more common for doctors to prescribe medication for pain management and discomfort when drugs may not always be needed. Initially medication can alleviate the pain for some time, but it is not always a permanent fix. Not to mention the fact that many prescription medications are addictive and have side effects.
Heat and ice can help pain relief in many therapeutic ways. Not only are heat and ice simple, they’re also an inexpensive treatment that can be used again and again without breaking the bank or harming your body.
Therapeutic Benefits of Heat
Heat actively helps to sooth stiff joints and muscles while helping you relax. Many people find that they need a hot bath or shower after a long stressful day, and this treatment usually always helps. The calming heat helps to release stress and tension bundled in your muscles and tendons in a gentle yet effective way.
There are even products available that promote heat therapy such as:
Therapeutic Benefits of Ice
The cold can be extremely soothing in several scenarios. Cold helps to numb pain, reduce inflammation, and cool the body down. Cuts, bruises, and open wounds are best treated with an ice pack because the cold numbs the pain and helps the wounds to heal without the discomfort the healing process sometimes involves.
Ice is especially beneficial in the following situations:
To create an effective ice pack, you can do the following:
It is best to apply a heat or ice pack immediately after injury or when in need. Never apply the pack directly to skin as that can cause burning or even bruising. It is important to take breaks in between treatments to give the body a rest. If you struggle with circulation problems, you should ask your doctor before using ice or simply not use it all.
During these treatments, it is important to practice other forms of pain therapy. Massages, stretching, gentle exercise, and plenty of sleep are the best way to heal pain and discomfort. Ask your doctor to create a treatment plan that is tailored to you and your symptoms to find relief.
The Alexander Technique for Pain
The Alexander technique is a time-tested method for pain relief that helps in promoting the awareness of movement of the body, and how each and every action we perform interferes with our posture in some way.
Everything that we do from how we walk, sit and even the way we speak and breathe all affect the structural form of the human body.
In a way, the Alexander technique is both an analytical and practical form of therapy. The fact is that people move in ways that are bad for the body, but, they are done subconsciously and the idea behind this kind of posture therapy is to enable you to examine all your movements, how you speak and breathe to make the necessary corrections.
How It Works
The Alexander technique mainly revolves around the study of how the head, neck and the upper torso all interact together. It is a technique that was originally used by theater actors to improve their vocal articulation and voice projection during performances.
However, it was accidently discovered that it helped resolve issues of back pain and respiratory conditions that some of the actors had been experiencing.Since then, this technique has grown and it has become a way of reducing unwanted stress that is placed on the body and mind through daily tasks. This technique helps one to have control over physical and mental energy.
The Alexander technique, which, is taught by a qualified teacher is an educational technique that offers real therapeutic value. It teaches improved posture and movement, which, is known to help in correcting and preventing problems that originate from bad habits.
The lessons are unique and practical ways of completely stopping and/or changing poor habits that contribute to back pain. These lessons are not a form of therapy, rather, an individual is taught to become of aware of and maintain natural coordination.
A constant repetition of these movements improves the individual’s form by making it precise. It develops the ability for one to choose better responses that are coordinated to the stimuli.
The Alexander technique does not include any kind of exercises or spiritual healing techniques. It involves movements which are made up of several patterns of coordination, such as, tension and postural patterns.
It’s important to bear in mind that this technique may not work for everyone and a student may require an average of 40 lessons to notice any change.
Types of Pain It Addresses
When looking for a cure for back pain it is important to seek out the cause, and not just treat the symptoms. This allows to further address any related health issues and to prevent future re-occurrences of the problem.
The Alexander technique can help you to identity poor posture and movements that could be the cause of your back pain. This technique helps in reducing pain and refining body movements so that back pain does not occur again, which can be harmful to your health and cause on going discomfort.
It is a well-known fact that once a back injury occurs it usually results in long term pain and re-occurrence of the condition for life. The Alexander technique can really help in this way to teach one proper movement to reduce the risk of this happening.
Chronic Pain Control
Pain occurs when signals are sent to the body because of an injury or illness. When pain occurs, the body’s flight response is triggered and rapid changes occur to deal with the changes. Chronic pain differs from acute pain in that it is defined as pain that continues for three or more months.
When these rapid changes keep occurring over an accumulated period the body becomes stressed and consequently the person’s emotional and psychological well-being. The reality is that continuous pain drains your resources causing anxiety and depression.
The Alexander technique helps you to understand how your body works and its teacher can help you gain control over pain, prevent it and restore the body and mind to optimal balance. This is a great all natural option for pain that has no side effects and it really can work! Give it a try and see if it can solve your pain problems.
Types of Massage Therapy for Pain
Pain management is a multi-billion-dollar industry. The success is understandable, as the products basically sell themselves. Who doesn’t want to get rid of pain and discomfort? Persistent, chronic pain has become one of the most common ailments in the world, rivaled only by tooth decay and the common cold.
But what is the reason, why are we subjected to this life-altering condition?
Well, a chronic pain diagnosis is quite vague, because our bodies are covered with pain receptors. Besides our hair and nails, every part of our body could be subjected to intense discomfort.
Illness is a persistent reality of the human condition, and if you are afflicted, you should seek medical attention. Agony due to disease or trauma is understandable and often treatable. Pain killers are often prescribed, blocking nervous signals and ameliorating the symptoms until the injury or infection is treated.
The Slippery Slope of Prescription Pain Killers
Despite their temporary effectiveness, pain killers are designed to provide temporary comfort. A sort of life raft that eases suffering until one can reach the shore. The problem comes when some doctors think of them as a permanent solution, treating this last-ditch effort as a dietary supplement, which, typically results in their patients becoming addicted.
Also, tolerance builds rather quickly as more and more painkillers are needed by the body to achieve the same results. And, let’s not overlook the obvious phenomenon of diminishing returns, our kidneys and livers will be destroyed by constant drug use.
Nobody is advocating their removal from society, especially when facing trauma cases. The issue of chronic pain is more complicated, and there are other options that may generate better results. Counseling, group therapy, massages and even herbal supplements can help the individual, without compromising his/her long-term health and without addiction and side effects.
Causes of Back Pain
Although it is hard to establish the exact numbers, estimates show that 70% of the adult human population suffers from back pain. How can this be so common?
Well, the issue is not caused by a virus or bacteria, it is a design flaw. The human spine is a wonder of biology, a complex alignment of vertebrae. It is so important, that we use the term “backbone” to describe things that are indispensable, fundamental.
But, spines are a great idea, not a perfect one. It seems that they are adapted for creatures that run on all four legs. Human spines are just modified versions of their quadruped counterparts. We must also consider that our bodies are far heavier in the front, with two massive pectoral muscles or glands.
Our backs are constantly striving to support us, and keep us from falling on our faces. All of that strain is not felt when we are young and the body is strong, but, as we age so do the posture muscles.
Types of Massage for Pain Relief
Massages are not cures, but, they are quite effective in ameliorating chronic back pain. A good massage can get us through the week, as it provides relief for our sore muscles.
Here are a few useful massage techniques for back pain:
Trigger point massage: This is a more specialized approach. It specifically targets the sore areas, and applies regular, intense pressure. This unwinds the tense muscle, and helps it to relax.
Head massage: Due to their highly-innervated structure, the cranium and spine column are extremely sensitive to inflammation. By massaging the bones of your temples and scalp, it encourages blood flow and relaxes tense muscles that often put pressure on nerves.
Swedish: An overall tension release that abandons the specific targeting of the trigger point, in favor of a light touch. This not only gets rid of back pain, it also relaxes you and improves your mood.
Deep Tissue: A deep tissue massage is an intense rub down where the massage therapist goes deep into the muscle to alleviate tension and stress. It is like Swedish massage, but pressure applied is deeper and is known to release more chronic muscle tension by manipulating the deepest layers of muscle tissue, fascia, and tendons.
Caution and Safety with Massage
It is advisable to get massage from a licensed and well trained massage therapist that understands the body, the pressure points and how to alleviate pain. Injury can occur and pain can be made worse when the masseuse is not an expert.
Pain Management Specialists, What They Do
If you’re one of the millions of chronic pain sufferers and your current treatment is less than effective, a pain management specialist at a pain clinic might be able to help. Sadly, for more than 117 million Americans, chronic pain is a part of their daily lives. The physical and emotional toll that chronic pain causes, is tremendous.
In the last year alone, over 600 billion dollars were spent managing chronic pain conditions. The financial costs to the patient and their families can be exponential; leading many to file for bankruptcy because of the increased medical cost.
Not only are the financial costs associated with chronic pain staggering; it also increases the rates of hospitalization, re-hospitalization, emergency, and outpatient visits, resulting in lost worker productivity, a decrease in wages, and a stressed home-life.
A Better Perspective
The institute Of Medicine Committee (medical committee commissioned by Congress), found that chronic pain is not appropriately dealt with in the United States. They recommended that to effectively treat chronic pain in patients, a coordinated effort on a national level was required to change the way society at large views chronic pain.
Who Are Pain Management Specialists?
Pain management specialists are physicians with specialty training in treatment of all forms of pain. Pain is the physical discomfort, caused by illness or injury, and covers several classifications, such as:
Pain Management Clinics
Pain management specialists usually work in a pain management clinic; a specialized care facility whose sole purpose is to treat pain and pain disorders. These pain management clinics offer a multidisciplinary approach that focuses on the whole person.
Oftentimes pain management specialists can locate the root cause of the patient’s pain, this allows the patient to regain control of their lives. Offerings can vary from clinic to clinic, but usually involves a dedicated team of specially trained healthcare providers who are dedicated to helping you find pain relief.
These providers can include both traditional and non-traditional practitioners, and it’s not uncommon to see medical doctors’, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, and acupuncturists, all working side by side. By working together, this team of specialists can put together a pain management plan, tailor-made for your individual needs.
Pain Management Treatment Options
Depending on your type team of specialists, your type of pain, and your personal preferences, treatment could include the following: