Holistic Pain Relief

by Bob Walsh

When you are in pain, then there definitely is one thing that you want: you want it to end. But heavy duty pharmaceutical pain killers often come with many negative side-effects. That is why holistic pain relief is becoming a more and more popular option nowadays.

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Let’s look at what pain relief drugs actually do. It’s not that the substances in the drugs actually to not feel the pain anymore – but instead, it is your brains reaction to the substances. The drugs are basically a mechanism that triggers a certain reaction in your brain that causes the cessation of pain. Now the interesting question is: are there other ways to trigger such a reaction in your brain than pharmaceutical drugs?

The answer is: yes.

Your own body’s innate healing ability is remarkable. And it’s there, just waiting for you to activate it. The problem is just: we don’t know how to do it, because there are so many different factors to the equation. Healing is a process that isn’t conscious – it’s something that your subconscious mind is in charge of.

But does that mean drug free pain treatments aren’t feasible? No, not at all. While among general practitioners there is still a lot of sceptizism around this topic, pain most specialists already know about the power of holistic pain management and utilize it with their patients.

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One of the best natural pain treatments that has emerged in recent years is hypnosis. This of course is not at all related to stage hypnosis, where men and women are “hypnotized” for the amusement of the audience, and often perform ridiculous acts on stage. Medical hypnosis for pain management is very different, and it is important that you are aware of this difference.

You can leverage your brains remarkable power to heal by simply listening to hypnotic suggestions in a relaxed state of mind. Conventional medical treatments are often invasive. Medical hypnosis however can be very beneficial for both acute and chronic pain management. Some kinds of pain require specific hypnotic suggestions – for example, myofascial pain or arthritis pain – but most pain can be relieved through general anti-pain suggestions.

It’s all right to be skeptical. You’ve probably already tried a lot and can’t imagine that just listening to someone’s words can help you to get rid of your pain. I’m not asking you to believe anything. All I’m asking you is to give it a try. It has worked for thousands of people, and there’s no reason why it won’t work for you. Even if you don’t believe in it – if you just try it, you will experience the effects yourself. And you have nothing to loose, because it’s risk free.

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Did you know? Opiods are very effective pain killers, but they are also prone to abuse. Even if you aren’t someone who has a history or tendency of substance abuse! Overdoses from prescription painkillers are now one of the leading causes of accidental death in the United States!

And here a video that shows how pharmaceutical pain relievers work:

As you have learned in the video, moods and attention do affect our pain perception.

The Purpose of Pain

Pain actually does serve an important purpose in our lives (even thought it doesn’t feel good). Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (or CIP) is a condition in which people are unable to experience pain. Children with CIP often bite through their tongues, break bones and hurt themselves in other ways – simply because they don’t get those important warning signals that prevents them from doing serious damage to their own bodies. People with CIP miss a message-carrying nerve in the spine which stops pain-signals from being transported to the brain.

So it is important that you recognize and appreciate the important protective function pain can serve in your life. And when you do that, then you are ready to let go of unnecessary pain.

How Expectations Alter Pain Perception

To illustrate the power of the mind when it comes to altering pain perception, let’s look at this recent study (February 2012) from the Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain ((Marion Höfle, Michael Hauck, Andreas K. Engel, AFFILIATIONSDepartment of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany, Daniel Senkowski, Viewing a needle pricking a hand that you perceive as yours enhances unpleasantness of pain)). Researchers recruited volunteers for an experiment during which they received a gentle electric shock to their hand.

They divided the volunteers into three groups. Group A got the shock while watching a video of a hand being pricked by a needle. Group B watched a video of a hand being touched by a Q-tip. Group C watched a video of just a hand without any action.

Afterwards, each group was questioned to the intensity of the pain from the electric shock. Group A (needle-prick video) reported the most intense pain. What’s also interesting is that group B (Q-tip video) reported the most intense pain if they were made to expect the Q-tip to be worse.

Another Discover Magazine wrote about a study which showed that

seeing a nurse inject a painkiller into your IV line gives you roughly twice as much pain relief as having the same dose of medicine administered by a hidden pump.

So there is no doubt by now about the fact that your mind can provide holistic pain relief. The same article also mentions that “patients experience positive placebo effects even when told frankly that the pills they are taking are placebos, with no active chemical ingredients.” – So even if you know there is no “chemical” basis for the improvement, you still get the pain relief.

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