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When I was fifteen, I was in a serious car accident, which left me with a neck injury. To complicate things further, a few years later, I had an accident while horseback riding. These two injuries have resulted in a lifetime of neck and back pain for me. However, this predicament has not stopped me from living a full life. Living with chronic pain is a challenge that can be managed. The alternative treatments discussed in this article are treatments that have helped me. However, it is important to consult with your physician to find out which treatments and medications work best for you.
Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts much longer than originally anticipated from a problem or injury. Nearly 30 percent of people in the United States suffer from moderate to severe chronic pain. There are many challenges with living with chronic pain. Living with chronic pain can disrupt a normal lifestyle. Chronic pain can prevent restful sleep and cause frequent awakenings during the night. Lack of restful sleep results in daytime tiredness and low productivity at work. Ongoing pain can lead to irritability, lack of energy and decreased physical activity. In order to avoid pain, many people limit their amount of activities, which eventually leads to physical weakness, which leads to even more limitations.
Emotional healing while understanding your pain can be a big step towards recovery and physical healing. Acceptance of the ongoing pain may be difficult, but it is important to do so for your own happiness and well-being. It is important to accept your situation and take steps towards healing your body and your mind. Let go of negative emotions such as anger, shame and pity. Work on building a positive outlook and allow others to help you in the healing process.
When you’re ready to take the next step, there are alternative treatments that can be used alone or in combination with medications to alleviate chronic pain. These alternative treatments include Yoga and stretching, acupuncture and message therapy.
Yoga and Stretching:
The practice of Yoga can be significant in the management of chronic pain. Yoga integrates physical movement with simple breathing techniques and mindfulness practices that address the mental and emotional components of pain. Yoga helps with deep full breathing making the diaphragm move, the lungs stretch and the back and abdominal muscles work. The body become oxygenated, using the breath as an important tool for releasing tensions and stress. Deep breathing can help with relaxation and getting more restful sleep.
Exercise and stretching release natural endorphins that interact with receptors in your brain to reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling of wellness in your body. A regular exercise program is highly recommended as part of a plan to manage chronic pain. Keep in mind that it is important to know your limits and avoid body movements that may aggravate your pain.
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Acupuncture for Pain Relief:
Numerous studies have confirmed that acupuncture is an effective option for treating chronic pain. This ancient Chinese art of healing has been in use for thousands of years. It is considered to be helpful for a number of health problems including reducing chronic pain, especially back pain and headaches.
In Chinese medicine, the body must maintain a delicate balance between two dynamic forces, yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow or passive state while yang represents the hot, excited or active state. Optimal health is achieved by maintaining the body in a balanced state between these two opposing forces. Disease is a result of an internal imbalance of yin and yang.
This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of vital energy known as Qi along energy channels known as meridians. Blockages lead to lack of energy supply to certain areas of the body or a surplus of energy in other areas. It is believed that there are twelve major meridians and eight secondary meridians and that there are more than 2000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with them.
Massage can make you feel good, but it also is a time-tested healing method to ease pain in several different ways. Benefits of massage therapy include increased blood flow to painful, stiff joints and muscles, improved circulation and restoration of mobility by lengthening tight muscles. Massage therapy promotes relaxation, improves sleep and relieves emotional stress that can often accompany chronic pain.
There are several types of massage. Deep tissue massage techniques apply firm pressure to the deep muscles and connective tissue to release sources of chronic pain. Trigger point therapy involves the application of steady pressure on specific trigger point areas to release muscle spasms. Shiatsu is a Japanese massage technique in which the practitioner firmly and deeply presses certain areas on the body, called acupressure points, to balance the flow of energy or Ki in the body.
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