Centuries ago Julius Caesar stated, “It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.” Today an understanding of the physiology of pain has led to many effective natural pain-relieving modalities.
A pervasive problem
According to the Chronic Pain Association of Canada, 7.5 million Canadians live with chronic pain. In most instances pain is a signal of an underlying cause such as an injury or a condition such as “fibromyalgia” or arthritis. More often than not, treatment for pain control is needed to help an individual function on a daily basis.
A simple picture of pain can be illustrated when your hand accidentally touches a hot saucepan. Pain is perceived when a nerve ending senses discomfort in the skin. The nerve immediately transmits a pain signal to the spinal column, which is then sent to the brain.
Pain-relieving medications and extracts strive to lessen discomfort by acting at various points of the pain pathway. Medications such as ibuprofen and extracts such as turmeric elicit an anti-inflammatory action at the site of pain, while opioids such as morphine block the perception of pain in the brain stem.
Pharmaceuticals can be very effective in controlling pain, but they can also lead to addiction, pose side effects, and create major health and safety concerns when accidentally combined with other medications. For this reason, alternative modalities provide a safer and desired method for pain management.Yoga
How it works
Yoga’s postures (asanas) increase body flexibility, and its breathing techniques (pranayama) reduce stress. Some researchers believe that practising yoga leads to the release of endorphins, which act as natural painkillers and mood boosters.
The idea of movement may invoke more discomfort than relief to those who live with chronic pain. However, researchers in the UK had people with chronic low back pain participate in regular yoga classes for 12 weeks. The classes included basic poses and breathing techniques.
Subjects who finished the sessions had better back function than those who did not complete the classes. Researchers concluded that yoga can significantly improve functioning in individuals living with chronic low back pain.
In another study, researchers at the University of Mississippi found that yoga can not only enhance muscular strength and body flexibility but also improve an individual’s quality of life.
Yoga was shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as improve sleep patterns. With such a multitude of benefits, incorporating yoga into a daily fitness program can provide therapeutic relief for chronic pain and elevate overall well-being.
About the writer:
Priyanka Gupta, ND, focuses on family health as well as pain management using acupuncture in her practice. She is passionate about research and patient education.
More information? Go to: http://www.alive.com/articles/view/23510/natural_pain_relief