Overcoming PainMarch 8, 2012 Conditions We Specialize in
Millions of people suffer from acute or chronic pain every year resulting in increased health care costs, rehabilitation, lost worker productivity, and emotional and financial burden on patients and their families.
There are many methods to relieve pain – such as over-the-counter (OTC) medications, acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, including aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen). Additionally there are natural approaches to pain relief, such as physical and occupational therapy, chiropractic care, cognitive behavioral therapy, self-care techniques, spinal manipulation and acupuncture.
Treatment at Diwa
There are many studies that show the benefits of acupuncture to address acute and chronic pain. At Diwa, we will do an initial evaluation of your pain condition, discussion of your health history and a treatment plan. Proper treatment of pain requires evaluation of the type of pain, the characteristics, and location on the body. Acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, cupping, acupressure, gua sha, and herbal medicine are several treatment modalities that may be recommended.
Chinese medicine has been widely practiced for over 3,500 years and continues to grow in popularity in the U. S. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an estimated 3.1 million Americans said they had used acupuncture in the past year. Additionally, it was found that pain complaints accounted for 7 out of the top 10 conditions for which people use acupuncture. Back pain was the most common, followed by joint pain, neck pain and migraine.
Within Chinese medicine, acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world. Acupuncture is performed by the insertion of needles through the skin at certain points on or near the surface of the body along energy pathways known as meridians. This helps to restore the flow of energy and thus, the overall health of the patient. This method facilitates the body to repair itself and maintain its own health.
In acupuncture theory, pain is caused by the stagnation of either Qi (energy or life force) or blood in the body. When energy gets stuck, pain results. Pain that is due to qi stagnation tends to be rather mild or achy in nature, whereas pain due to blood stagnation is more severe, sharp, fixed, or stabbing. Acupuncture is often effective in either case, as it has the unique ability to regulate the circulation of Qi and restore blood flow through painful areas.
There are many herbs to address acute and chronic pain. The type of herb used depends on key factors such as the specific type of pain, characteristics, severity, and the location of pain in the body. In general, a few herbs that are commonly used for pain (but not representative for all types of pain):
- Yan Hu Suo – helps to relieve pain, effectively invigorates blood circulation, and regulates the qi.
- Ru Xiang and Mu Xiang – used synergistically to address a wide range of pain conditions caused by trauma or arthritic conditions.
- San Huang San – herbal formula powder that is comprised of three cooling herbs that reduce inflammation while dispersing congealed blood and fluids. It is the equivalent of an herbal ice treatment.
- Yunnan Paiyao – one of the best all-around formulas to stop traumatic bleeding and prevent infection. It stops bleeding and removes blood clots encouraging normal circulation that is suitable for healing wounds.
Gua Sha is an ancient healing scraping technique that involves palpation and cutaneous stimulation, where the skin is pressured through applying long or short strokes on the skin using a smooth edged instrument. According to Traditional Chinese medicine, pain is often times caused by the stagnation of blood in the local area of discomfort. This technique has the ability to break up stagnation, promote the smooth flow of blood, thereby relieving pain. This is often used for various pain conditions, upper respiratory and digestive problems. This is also good for boosting immunity.
Cupping is a suction technique in which glass cups are heated from the inside to create a vacuum and placed onto the skin. This helps to promote blood circulation and also break stagnation, thereby relieving pain. Cupping is commonly used for arthritis, pain, congestion, and inflammation.
The following basic dietary tips will be very helpful for managing the symptoms of pain:
- Start eating an organic whole foods diet that is rich in fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. This diet is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Fresh pineapples are good for inflammation, as they contain an enzyme called bromelain.
- Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates: These foods promote inflammation and pain and weaken digestion and vitality.
- Avoid synthetic additives and sweeteners and genetically modified foods.
- Avoid coffee and alcohol: Both of these are irritants to the liver, colon, and stomach. They can exacerbate pain and emotional ups and downs.
Meditation and Yoga
Meditation and yoga have been practiced for thousands of years in many different cultures. They have stood the test of time because they have enormous healing benefits for the mind and body. If practiced appropriately, meditation and yoga can offer profound support for managing chronic pain, overcoming fatigue, and improving flexibility.
Breathing and Qi Gong
Qi gong means working with the life energy, learning how to control the flow and distribution of qi to improve the health and harmony of the mind and body. It is a holistic system of self-healing exercise and meditation. Breathing is a process of absorbing a pure source of energy, oxygen, and eliminating impure, carbon dioxide. The practice of qi gong can make this exchange more efficient for the body. This combination can greatly relieve pain and tension in the body, increase energy, and improve strength and flexibility.