For a very long time, people have been told that drugs or surgery could be their only effective pain relief options. This approach was long thought to be true. As we learn more about a variety of ancient traditions and medicines, as well as more about the pharmaceuticals our society has come to rely on, we begin to realize that there are many less harmful and effective natural ways to manage pain. Stop playing Russian roulette with your health! First, here are a few pain relief factors to consider right off the bat:
Eat lots of healthy greens, fish, fruit but limited fatty meats and avoid all sugars when possible.
Get 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.
When you just can’t get all the nutrients you need, get quality supplementation.
Considering alternative pain relief
Have you been told your only options are drugs or surgery? As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I see this every day in my practice. I have dozens of people weekly who come into my clinic with pain. often many many years of pain, looking for a solution. Fortunately there are many things each of us can do to manage or even alleviate pain.
How the Body Deals With Pain
Pain itself is a built in safety mechanism for our bodies. It is the way our mind understands that our body may need to take a break or that something may be dreadfully wrong. Without these communications, we would be hard pressed to survive and continue our species. Our brains and bodies have a symbiotic relationship meant to enhance our ability to survive. Unfortunately, we no longer live the way we have in the past and so some of these communications are short circuited.
Nervous Systems Explained
Our nervous systems are made up of several different types of nerve fibers. There are both motor fibers (the ones that make you move) and sensory fibers (the ones that notice an external stimulus). For purposes of this discussion we are going to focus on the sensory fibers. Each type of fiber is responsible for a different sensory input. For example the A-beta fibers sense touch and pressure. The A-delta fibers sense temperature and “fast” pain while the C fibers sense both temperature and “slow” pain.
Fast Pain Fibers
The “fast” pain fibers are wrapped in a sheath known as the myelin sheath. This sheath is responsible for the electrical conductivity of the nerve and increases the speed of transmission of the message.
Sensory Fibers Explained
They are much more involved with stimuli requiring a quicker response such as pricks or pokes, whereas the A-delta fibers are unmyelinated and relay their messages at a slower rate. These are the ones involved with deep seated, more chronic pain.
Each of these sensory fibers sends messages to the brain, however some are intercepted and acted upon much quicker at the level of the spinal cord. These are known as reflexive. For example, you put your hand onto a counter and accidentally place it on a sharp piece of glass. Your body has already told your hand to get itself out of there before your brain even realized it was there to start with. This is a reflexive action and did not require active thought to know to move your hand.
There are several theories about how pain is suppressed in our bodies. One of the most prominent is what is known as Gate Theory. The general idea behind this is that a sensation which is not a pain sensation can block a pain sensation.
With relation to the sensory fiber discussion above, this means that stimulation of the A-beta fibers (nonnociceptors) can block the pain felt by the A-delta and C fibers. This is termed “closing the gate.” This theory explains how stimulus that only activates the A-beta fibers can control pain. Acupuncture for pain relief is one example of this. So are the popular TENS units. Music therapy and other auditory interventions would also fall into this category.
Ways To Suppress Pain
Our Bodies React
Our bodies also have other ways to suppress pain. These may include a variety of opioid receptors, as well as the balance of our neurotransmitters. For example, 3 major types of opioid receptors were classified several years ago. Opioids can act in different regions of a neural synapse.
Depending upon how many there are and where they act, there will be a different effect. Suffice it to say that when these receptors are activated, there is a cascading effect then upon the neurotransmitters produced and ultimately upon how our brain perceives the pain. Up regulating or down regulating these neurotransmitters affect not only our perception of pain, but also our mood.
It is therefore no surprise that people in a lot of pain are most often depressed as well. These pathways are one of the more commonly used pharmaceutical interventions used today. The use of these pathways has become a widespread issue and one causing serious consequences for the people involved.
Fortunately there are some very good Chinese Medicine alternatives to pharmaceuticals and other methods based in ancient herbal medicine. More Natural Healing has put together a wonderful product to address pain by using some very well known herbal remedies to create a pain relief formula capable of addressing pain in a more natural, safer way.
Zen – Alleve was Formulated For Pain Success
In this formula, we use many well-known Chinese herbs to address pain. In Traditional Chinese Medicine there is an old saying: “where there is stagnation, there is pain. Where qi flows freely, there is no pain.” To translate this loosely, if the blood, lymph and nerve fibers are all functioning at optimal levels, there will not be pain and vice versa.
In most situations with pain, the circulatory system is certainly compromised and generally so is the lymphatic system. Hence the swelling and heat at sites of pain. This can be at either a microscopic or macroscopic level.
When there is inflammation, often surrounding tissues are compressed and then the sensory fibers are being stimulated. The type of pain felt is reflecting the fibers being stimulated.
The goal of the formula at its most basic level is to provide analgesic(pain relieving), anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmotic effects.
The herbs chosen are well known and documented to have these effects. We have broken down the herbs below to give an indication of their basic functions in the formula.
These work through a variety of mechanisms, and each has been used traditionally for the above purposes as well as many others. Due to their chemical reactions in our bodies, they also promote healing of the tissues thru and improved blood flow and more access to nutrients in the region.
Additional natural methods to manage pain include the following:
- Massage, body work, cupping therapy
- Mind /body exercises such as Yoga, Qigong, or Taichi
- Chiropractic care
Each of these has both research and many-many volumes of empirical data to support their use in a quality pain management program. These combined can provide long-term pain relief and an improved quality of life. The most important thing is to always talk to a doctor before starting a new treatment, and to listen to what your body needs. Your health is too important to ignore!