Pain & Inflammation and Natural Treatment Options
They say one in five Australians lives with pain – whether you are personally suffering from pain yourself or you know someone living with it, you can understand how much it can affect one’s quality of life. We see many clients in our clinic feeling fed up, helpless and frustrated as a result of pain. Learning the drivers behind pain and inflammation pain can help you find the most effective treatment strategy to bring relief the natural way.
Drivers of Pain
Pain is a hypersensitivity state that accompanies inflammation. It is the end result of complex brain processes, influenced by overlapping physical, psychological and environmental factors.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s immune system’s response to stimulus, for example bacteria colonizing a wound. Inflammation occurs when the immune system fights against something that may potentially be harmful. There are 5 key features of inflammation including redness, swelling, heat, loss of function and pain – however these do not have to occur all at once. Believe it or not we need inflammation, it helps the body fight off foreign invaders and plays a role in repairing damage. Without inflammation, pathogens such as bacteria could take over our bodies and kill us. One of the cardinal features of inflammation is pain. Acute (short-term) inflammation is beneficial and a normal process. Unregulated, chronic inflammation is the problem. Long term inflammation causes tissue damage and has shown to play a major role in almost every chronic disease.
Both acute and chronic pain acts as a signal providing us with important information. We need to pay more attention to these signs when they occur, it’s or body’s way of communicating what’s going on internally. There is significant difference between acute and chronic pain. Acute pain is healthy – it occurs when we cut our finger for example. We know there will be pain associated with the cut during the healing process, but once it has completely healed, we know the pain will stop. Chronic pain is defined as any pain lasting longer than 3 months. For example, if pain still persisted after the cut on the finger had healed you would know there is something quiet serious going on and would most likely further investigate the problem. It is the same thing for any form of chronic pain, instead of numbing it with pills and ignoring the signs we need to work out why it is occurring.
Natural Options for Pain Management
When you suffer from chronic pain, you probably feel like there are only two options – pharmaceutical drugs or to suck it up and deal with it. For starters, pharmaceutical drugs generally come with a long list of side effects, and toughing out the pain will only make you miserable. The good news is that there are plenty of highly effective natural alternatives available – in fact pain management is one of the most common reason people turn to alternative medicine!
Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen work by blocking enzymes involved in the inflammatory pathway which trigger pain and swelling. There are many natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs that offer similar mechanisms to pain relief. Anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, cats claw, devil’s claw (image on the right) and willow bark have all shown to be highly effective in relieving pain.
Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen therapy has shown to be powerful at treating pain and inflammation. The key is ‘the pressure’ allowing oxygen to reach places it usually wouldn’t get to. Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy raises the levels of oxygen in the body’s blood plasma. Increased oxygen in the plasma leads to higher amounts of oxygen being delivered to the body’s tissues, organs and brain. Under pressure, additional oxygen is dissolved into the blood plasma and enters the tissues directly. Oxygen therapy promotes relaxation, stimulates the body’s healing processes, reduces inflammation, increases stamina and endurance and also helps the body to return to a state of balance and wellbeing.