Any pain, whether it is mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, merely inconvenient or incapacitating, makes us restless. Pain is a sensation transmitted from sensory nerves through the spinal cord and to the sensory area of the cerebrum, where the sensation is perceived.

    It is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”.

    As a part of the body’s defense system, pain triggers mental and physical behavior that seeks to end the painful experience. It is also a feedback system that promotes learning, making repetition of the painful situation less likely. The nociceptive system may transmit signals that trigger the sensation of pain, it is a critical component of the body’s ability to react to damaging stimuli and it is part of a rapid-warning relay instructing diverse organs and principally the central nervous system to initiate reactions for minimizing injury.

    Chronic pain is usually caused by chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, end stage cancers or spinal injury which are not curable. The words “no cure” will itself bring pain to the heart. No pain can be compared with labor pain but most women overcome it easily because they are going to receive a bundle of joy. It is not the same with chronic pain; you may have to bear it all your life for no apparent good reason. On the other hand, there are effective alternate therapies that will help to manage the pain successfully.

    1) Magnet Therapy

    Over the centuries, it has been well documented that many cultures, including the ancient Chinese, Greeks and Egyptians, have applied magnets to relieve pain and other symptoms. However, the size and weight of the magnets existing during that time, made them difficult to use. Today, smaller and stronger magnetic materials have led to the application of modern day magnetic therapy products used by over 120 million people worldwide.

    Magnetic therapy is very effective for the relief of discomfort due to joint and muscle pain, inflammation, and stiffness, making it an excellent choice for everyone. All physical and mental functions are controlled by electromagnetic fields produced by the movement of electro-chemicals (ions) within the body.

    When an injury occurs and tissue is damaged, positively charged ions move to the affected area, causing pain and swelling. In order for healing to take place, the injured site must be restored to its natural negative electromagnetic charge. Pain and inflammatory-related electro-chemicals must be removed and oxygen and nutrients transferred to the area.

    2) Hydrotherapy

    Hydrotherapy is the use of water for therapeutic purposes. Different methods and temperatures may be used for different purposes.

    Hydrotherapy includes the use of steam and ice as well as warm, tepid or cool water. Most people with chronic stiffness and pain prefer warm water, although the use of cold can also be very effective in relieving pain, and if applied immediately after exercise can significantly reduce post-exercise pain.

    Try a simple method of hydrotherapy. Have two trays of water in which you can immerse your both feet. One tray with very cold water and the other with hot water (heat maximum bearable). First immerse your feet in cold water and keep them for 30 seconds while you breathe in and breathe out deeply.

    After 30 seconds change your feet to hot water and keep for 3 minutes while doing the breathing deeply. Then again immerse in cold water. Do this five times. You will surely have relief.

    3) Diversion Therapy

    This is one of the best therapies that I can suggest for anybody with chronic pain. Don’t think that you are going to get the pain soon, instead divert yourself in the activities you enjoy like reading books, watching television, calling a friend on the phone, bird watching, drawing, cooking or whatever. Just forget about the pain and concentrate on something else.

    4) Psychotherapy

    This is one way you can ventilate your feelings to somebody that you rely on, so that all of your burdens are lessened including your pain. Opening up the bottled up feelings can be done with anybody – say your mother, daughter, nurse, friend or anybody on whom you put your trust. It need not be a psychotherapist. Many patients have said that a kind nurse who spared time to listen to their problems helped them to relieve or even cure them of their disease.

    5) Occupational Therapy

    When you are stuck with pain, take your regular prescribed medication for pain and get back to work. If your health does not permit you to work, you might try occupational therapy. Here, you’ll be taught about various other jobs which you can perform in spite of your pain or deformity. Learn everything you can, and try to lead a productive life. An occupation will boost your self esteem, show your independence and is of course a good diversion.

    6) Physiotherapy

    Pain will usually impair your mobility and not exercising your body can cause additional muscle wasting and weakness. Try out active and passive exercises. Get a good physiotherapist and work on it. Active exercise will relieve pain to a great extent.

    7) Relaxation Therapy

    This is a good therapy that can help you forget pain. Relax not only your body but also your mind. You can learn to relax each and every muscle of your body. Yoga relaxes your body and eventually relieves your pain. Deep breathing exercises have proved to relieve spasmodic pain. Keeping your mind relaxed and being stress free also relieves pain.

    8) Acupuncture

    Assessing the nerves that cause pain and blocking them, will alleviate pain and can be accomplished by acupuncture. These needle pricks are painless and it can keep you pain free for quite a period of time.

    9) Support Therapy

    You can identify groups who mirror your problem. See how they manage pain and learn from their skills in coping with pain so that you can apply a few of them. They are practical and living examples. When you meet such people you will feel your pain is nothing compared to them. You can find such groups through your doctors or possibly from the Internet.

    10) Spiritual Therapy

    Meditation also relieves pain. Maybe try going to church or a place of worship and getting involved in spiritual activities. If you are bed ridden, try informing your church pastor or spiritual counselor so that he/she can come to your home or possibly pray for you. Spiritual meditation of many types can be an effective way to lessen your pain, and it isn’t necessary to leave this aspect until the end.

    Written by Paulose

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