As a holistic nurse practitioner and herbalist, I have worked with patients suffering with pain for 10 years. You are probably thinking what can herbal or alternative therapies do for effective pain relief for chronic or acute pain? Well, the doctor I worked for was probably thinking the same thing at first, but he took a risk and invited me to join the practice. He was a chronic pain specialist who treated all kinds of pain conditions including headaches, spinal and peripheral nerve pain, musculoskeletal pain, various types of inflammatory arthritis, abdominal and pelvic pain syndromes and pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, which is generalized pain in various soft tissues of the body. Many of these pain conditions were the result of motor vehicle accidents, on-the-job accidents often from falls or heavy lifting, or post-op nerve pain that never went away. All of our patients suffered some degree from spiritual, emotional and physical trauma which is best addressed by various holistic healing practices in complement to conventional approaches.
Would you believe that a patient can achieve significant relief from chronic nerve pain without narcotics? This is also true for other pain conditions such as inflammatory arthritis and muscle pain syndromes, neck and lower back pain, some types of migraines or headaches, and even fibromyalgia. Many patients of mine who dedicated themselves to alternative healing protocols and gentler conventional pharmaceuticals were able to achieve this relief gradually over a period of 6-12 months. These patients benefited from adopting mind-body pain relief techniques; they also were helped by physical rehab and body work such as deep tissue massage, acupuncture and chiropractic therapy. In addition, they benefited from an anti-inflammatory diet, taking herbal medicines and nutritional supplements; several got relief from these alone.
Now some of you are going to say, “I need a quick fix,” or “I need to see results,” or “I am in agony.” Well, all of the complementary healing modalities listed above offer some of this type of quick relief. Quieting the mind and calming the nervous system can do wonders for all types of acute pain. Physical medicine practitioners, acupuncturists and chiropractors can offer immediate relief, as well. Thermal therapies are amazing for all types of pain – for acute pain and inflammation, ice for 10 minutes and see how you feel, and if you get good relief repeat 3-4 times in the next 6 hours, if you can. If you don’t get relief, try a warm pack, which increases circulation – many pain patterns occur from lack of circulation (consult your health practitioner if you have neuropathy). Herbal and epsom salt foot soaks can help relieve pain throughout the body all the way up to your head. For muscle cramps, muscle soreness and stiffness cal/mag citrate dosing hourly until relief often works for most people (not recommended for people with low kidney function). There are many gentle herbs that help very quickly for indigestion, such as ginger and chamomile and Braggs apple cider vinegar. The herb root wild yam is an amazing treatment for intestinal spasm or pelvic cramping – it works quickly, too. So if you suffer from pain, don’t limit yourself to conventional pharmaceutical treatments alone. Don’t you think trying new approaches to your pain condition is worth a try? Give yourself a chance to feel better and live better with less pain!
Photo from here, with thanks.