Pain Management #AtoZChallenge
In keeping with yesterday’s post regarding the use of opiates in treating pain, I thought for today’s post I would focus on non-narcotic alternatives to address your pain. Please realize that as with everything I write, the things I share are in no way personalized medical advice. You bear full responsibility for any actions you take regarding the information you read here. Furthermore, I suggest that you discuss any idea with your physician prior to implementation.
There are a variety of pain management techniques and tools that one could use as opposed to strictly pharmaceutical options. These alternatives can also be used to complement pharmacologic therapies in order to better manage your pain and hopefully require less narcotic interventions.
Biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy and even psychotherapy are just a few tools that anyone with chronic pain can use to manage their pain more effectively. Along the same line as meditation and relaxation therapy also provide a means with which to retake control of the pain in your life, or at least manage it more easily. Some more advanced treatments that have been said to be effective in pain management are the use of Betar tables, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and acupuncture.
While EMDR was originally designed for managing the stress of a traumatic experience, it has been shown to also help with pain management. Realistically speaking pain can very well be interpreted as a traumatic experience. the Betar table uses sound and magnetic waves to promote positive psychological and physiologic change, including pain management.
Gentle forms of physical activity can reduce stiffness and aid in alleviating pain. These can include yoga, Tai Chi, or even some of the low impact martial arts. Pool therapy is very helpful in permitting movement despite painful conditions when conducted in a warm pool. Medical massage can also be extremely helpful in managing pain associated with muscle spasms and many other disorders.
Some of the more controversial techniques to manage pain can include therapeutic touch, reiki, and the like. For the more scientific types among us, techniques such as these can be challenging as we desire to see scientific evidence in the aspect of a cause and effect relationship between a treatment and a cure. We often feel uneasy about things that are both unable to be seen and unable to be understood.
The most important goal of pain management is to find what works for you as an individual. What works for your friend or family member may not work as well for you. No two human beings are exactly alike. As a result, we often respond differently, even if only a subtle way, to the same medication or treatment. Regardless of what others think, find something that works for you, and stick with using it. If you are able to find a regimen of multiple treatment options that work for you, and you can alternate between them to find the best approach to manage your pain and improve your quality of life.
In closing, I would like to share a quick personal experience. Many years ago I was seeing a psychologist who specialized in treating those with severe pain. I was open to trying many things, including EMDR and the Betar table (amazing results!), but for some unknown reason, I drew the line at trying acupuncture. At one visit I was suffering from severe shortness of breath due to pneumonia. As I wheeled into the office he practically begged me to permit him to use acupuncture on me to improve my breathing. I was so ill that I reluctantly told him he could use one needle in each ear, and if it didn’t help he could never ask me again. (He specialized in auriculotherapy, which is specifically the use of acupuncture on coordinated body points in the ear.)
He carefully placed one very thin needle in each ear in what he told me were the lung points. To my complete and utter amazement, within a matter of three to five minutes, I was breathing as if I wasn’t ever even short of breath. I could take a full breath and had no more pain while doing so. The raspy sound of the fluid in mu lungs was incredibly reduced, almost nonexistent. Mind you I had been to my primary care physician just hours before and had refused to go to the hospital, as I wanted to try yet another outpatient course of antibiotics first. To this day I don’t understand precisely how or why it worked, but it most certainly did! As a result, after that, I permitted him to further explore how much acupuncture could do for me, which was a lot!
Unfortunately, acupuncture, as is true with many so-called alternative treatments was not covered by insurance and by itself prohibitively expensive. As life goes on, and he became unable to provide this therapy under the original circumstances, I found myself looking to alternative electronic acupuncture therapies, that while they may provide some relief, they most definitely do not provide the same level of relief that traditional acupuncture uses.
Have you found an alternative treatment that helps you manage your pain? Have you ever experienced something that to your surprise actually helped you better manage your pain? Please share your story in the comments section below. We would love to hear your experience!