This is going to be a 5 part series where I discuss a bunch of different topics and when we should expect to see results we are working towards.
Part I. Pain
Let's talk about pain. There are acute pains, they come suddenly, usually as a result of an injury or accident, are really intense and go away within 3 months. There are chronic pains that are either a result of an acute pain that lasted longer than it was supposed to (for one reason or another) or is related to health issues, physiological and psychological. Chronic pains can stay with you for years.
For most acute pains due to accidents and injuries, the first few days are crucial to making sure the body heals itself properly. Most doctors will recommend RICE -Rest Ice Compression Elevation or MICE - Movement - for certain injuries. Others will require NSAIDs - Non-Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and R/MICE. But that won't guarantee you aren't in pain throughout the healing process. Pain keeps us from doing extra harm, it's our body's defense mechanism but that doesn't mean that it should last for a long time.
So how do we ease the pain??
That's where I come in!
1. Acupuncture is a great alternative route for pain relief, acute and chronic. There have been studies done and articles written about the benefits of acupuncture where conventional medicine has failed. Here is an article from the Harvard Medical School Health Blog on acupuncture and pain management.
What should your expectations be from an acupuncture treatment? Depending on the injury/pain that you are coming to treat the results are obviously different. However, after the treatment you should definitely feel an improvement from when you first arrived. Each acupuncturist has a different method of treatment. I personally like to treat from an area that is far away from the place of pain and in acute cases that is a necessity. Rarely do I start treatment at the sight of the injury/pain. If you are consistent and follow the practitioner and doctor's instructions, for an acute injury the pain should go away completely with in a few sessions. If you need to do physical therapy and specific exercises, it may take longer. Patience and consistency is the most important part of the healing process.
For chronic pain, a longer amount of sessions may be necessary as upkeep for the pain relief. It is important to be in-tune with your body so that you can tell when you need another session before there is a flare up of pain.
2. Massage will help the tissues around the injury heal. It will also be able to work out any other kinks in the body that have surfaced due to a change in your posture and gait if you are in pain and can't walk normally. Massage will help with blood flow and bringing the area that needs to heal the nutrients to do so. Most massage sessions are relaxing but deep tissue massage can be a bit more painful and can leave you sore over the next few days especially if you are very tense. Make sure to tell your therapist if the pressure is too much or you are uncomfortable, no matter what the situation may be. Pain relief through massage also requires some patience. I have seen many people come in with a lot of pain and leave with much less and then tell me that it took a few days after our session for the pain to disappear completely. Most people with chronic ailments know when they need to come back for a massage (once every 3 weeks about) so as to stay pain free.
3. Exercise is an extremely important aspect to pain relief. Whether it be walking, swimming, pilates, yoga, strength training. In order to keep our bodies pain free we have to keep moving and strengthen our weak areas. For example, chronic back pain. This most probably has nothing to do with an injury, it is a result from weak back and stomach muscles and bad posture. Stretches and stomach and lower back exercises are the best antidote for the pain as long as you are consistent in your practice. Once we forget to do our exercises the body is more than happy to remind us that we are slacking. So if you need a trainer to keep you on track or a physical therapist to point you in the right direction of which exercises are best for you, find one and listen to what they have to say. You may start to feel better in as little as a few days! Here are some exercises you can do daily to ease lower back pain:
So in conclusion:
Patience and perseverance are key to dealing with chronic pain relief. Find what works for you and stick to it. Practice makes perfect!
Acute pain relief, should heal on its own but to speed up the process try an alternative healthy route!
Good luck and stay tuned for the other 4 installments to the Results series.