4 Strategies for Relieving Pain Without Medication

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4 Strategies for Relieving Pain without Medication

The most common types of pain are from arthritis, lower back, bone/joint pain, muscle pain and Fibromyalgia. Pain can also take on many forms, changing locations and intensity daily or even hourly in the same person.

There are, however, many pain relief options out there, some that you may not yet be aware of. Because pain is often such a complex issue to treat, and the methods that work highly varied depending on your individual situation, adding one, two or several of the following strategies to your arsenal may give you the much-needed relief you need.

Best of all, the following options are completely safe and natural, which means they can be used successfully by just about everybody.
What you’ll notice is that many of these strategies use the power of your mind to heal physical pain. When you focus your mind on healing, relief follows.

Meditation

Meditation keeps your mind focused on the present, which makes the experience of pain less intense. Originating in Eastern spiritual traditions, meditation is now a common form of mind-body medicine practiced by people of all cultural and religious backgrounds. (1)
In a study by researchers from the University of Manchester in England it was found that people who regularly meditated found decreased pain possibly because they spent less time anticipating it, which blunted its emotional impact. (2)
If you’re new to meditation, you can still benefit. A separate study found that after just a single hour of mindfulness meditation training over a three-day period, participants felt less pain while meditating and also experienced less pain sensitivity when they were not meditating. (3)

Many cities now offer local classes to learn the basics of meditation, but you can get started by finding a quiet location, sitting in a comfortable posture, then focusing your attention on your breath, an object or a mantra (a meaningful word or phrase). If you find your mind wandering, simply bring it back to your focal point without judgment. Prayer, tai chi, qi gong, yoga and journaling can also offer meditative benefits, so choose the form that feels best for you.

Laughter

When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers that also contribute to a sense of well-being. This may help to reduce your pain directly, while also distracting you from the pain, similar to meditation, and providing a wonderful form of stress relief.
Indirectly, laughter therapy, which is, as it sounds, using humor therapeutically to get you to laugh more often, can help to relieve pain by:

Relaxing your muscles
Easing digestion and soothing stomach aches
Promoting relaxation and better sleep
Enhancing oxygen intake
Boosting your immune system and circulatory system

Massage Therapy

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Massage therapists use a variety of techniques, including kneading, tapping, pressure and deep circular movements, to relieve a variety of conditions, including pain. According to a survey by the American Hospital Association, nearly 91 percent of respondents agreed that massage was effective in reducing pain.
Further, according to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage stimulates your brain to produce endorphins (natural pain-relieving chemicals) and studies have shown that massage therapy:

•Promotes relaxation and alleviates the perception of pain and anxiety in cancer patients
•Reduces post-traumatic headaches better than cold-packs
•Reduces pain and muscles spasms in patients who have had heart bypass surgery

A separate study also found that massage therapy provided some immediate pain relief for patients with advanced cancer.
For best results, look for a reputable and qualified massage therapist who is experienced in helping with pain relief.

I have used massage therapy for a few years now. I find that a therapist that takes into consideration the areas in which you experience the most pain or sensitivity and is knowledgeable about Fibromyalgia is your best choice. As I tend to suffer from inflammation in my abdomen after my treatment, my massage therapist massages me while I lay on my side which makes the experience more pleasant for me. She also uses a heating pad under my body before my massage that allows my back and legs to relax more before the massage gets underway.

Music

Music can be extremely soothing not only for your mind but also for your body. By way of distraction and relaxation, music is a form of pain relief that’s as simple and enjoyable as it is effective.

In one small study, patients with back, neck or joint pain experienced a 20 percent decrease in pain after listening to music for one hour a day for seven days, compared to a 2 percent increase in pain in the control group. (4)

Music has also been found to help reduce post-surgical pain, (5)
chronic and cancer pain, along with reducing patients’ need for pain-relieving medications. (6).

So whenever the mood strikes, put on your favorite musical artist and let the sounds help soothe you.

Photos : http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

References:

1. 12. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008;149(6):369–379.
2. LiveScience.com June 6, 2010
3. The Journal of Pain 2010 Mar; 11(3):199-209. Epub 2009 Oct 22
4. Journal of Advanced Nursing Volume 54 Issue 5, Pages 553 – 562
5. Journal of Advanced Nursing Volume 33 Issue 2, Pages 208 – 21518.
6. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 2.

Ditch the Hangover

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If you have a large amount of alcohol one night, chances are you will wake up with a hangover. A hangover is caused mainly due to dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic which causes fluids to be flushed by the body.
The best way to completely avoid a hangover is to not drink at all but then you wouldn’t be reading this….

I am not one to drink to excess. If I were to partake in several alcoholic beverages in one evening I would injest at least (3) 8 ounce glasses of water and eat a snack preferably consisting of something like eggs or cheese. Food helps settle your stomach and give you energy. It absorbs some of the alcohol in your system, making it harder for it to affect you. Therefore always make sure you eat while you are drinking and right after you stop drinking.

More Natural Approaches to preventing a hangover:

B vitamins are necessary for the proper breakdown and elimination of alcohol in the body. In fact, in one study, vitamin B6 reduced the number of hangover symptoms by approximately 50 percent. For anyone who has suffered after a night of overindulgence, this certainly is good to know.

If your hangover has caused feelings of nausea and possible vomiting, ginger may help reduce or eliminate those symptoms. Ginger is commonly used as an alternative remedy to ease nausea and upset stomach. The underground stem of the ginger plant has been used medicinally since ancient times. In addition to easing an upset stomach, ginger may also help ease headaches and diarrhea

Other Hangover Help

Life Extension recommends a garlic-based supplement for hangovers. Garlic contains S-allyl-cysteine, which neutralizes acetaldehyde; vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and selenium are included in the Kyolic Garlic Formula 105 supplement for their antioxidant effects. Consult your doctor before taking garlic or any kind of supplement. Activated charcoal is used to neutralize poisons and can help lessen the symptoms of toxicity associated with alcohol. Ginger, meanwhile, is good for soothing stomach upsets. Consuming food and drinks that contain fructose, such as fruit juices and honey, will help your body burn the alcohol faster. Bouillon soup helps replace salt and potassium depleted by alcohol. Get plenty of rest and remember most hangovers are gone within 24 hours. Avoid taking acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, because of possible liver damage when combined with alcohol.

In Las Vegas they have a hangover bus, this I stumbled across doing research for this blog:

The “Hangover Bus” IV treatment can actually relieve hangover symptoms by replenishing vital nutrients, fluids, and anti-oxidants. But does one have to pay someone to do that? You could easily drink several glasses of water, take an aspirin, or a multivitamin, and get the same effect.

But sufferers of a Vegas-level hangover might also expect a Vegas-level treatment. “EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters have used IV fluids for a long time to help resolve most of the symptoms of a hangover,” Hangover Heaven’s owner, Jason Burke, told “20/20.” “I’ve just taken it to the next level, with the vitamins and the medications.”

References:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/445935-what-is-a-good-vitamin-to-help-hangovers/#ixzz2GdL4lAXu

Photo: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Get Your Motor Running……. We’re About to Enter 2013

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I am amazed in just over one year 2,808 people have viewed my blog.  Thank you again, to all of you that stopped by over the last year and left a comment and subscribed to my blog.  I have grander plans for 2013 and with it I am eager to embark on another journey which is to attain employment. 
Those of you have followed me over the past year have known of my medical conditions and I will still remain a strong advocate for those suffering with Fibomyalgia and other chronically fatiguing conditions.  My posts will still contain herbal remedies to help those of us dealing with pain and fatigue which seem to be the common culprits.    There is hope for anyone suffering with chronic pain, we are all individuals and as such may require different approaches to pain management. 

This past year I tried art therapy, massage therapy and reiki as a means of controlling my pain and 2013 will not be any different.

  My book will continue to be written in my spare time while I am employed as having a steady income will allow me the financial ability to publish and market it myself.  I prefer to be an independent writer and keep the authenticity of my writing.  My herbology coursework will continue but a slower pace and that will allow me to enjoy so much more and learn more without being under tight deadlines.

 May your dreams and aspirations materialize in 2013, may you be blessed with love and kindness, but above all may you remain true to yourself and love with all your heart.

Namaste

Angi

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Photos: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/

Singing Your Way to A Longer & Healthier Life

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44This past weekend my sister and I were at a local bar for their Saturday night karaoke get together.  Later that morning, when we arrived home I began researching the effects of singing and it’s relation to wellness.

This past week was Sing For Your Heart from December 8 th to the 15th in the UK.  Singing does not merely benefit our hearts but so much more as you will see in this piece.

While researching this topic I was able to locate some research studies that confirmed a few of my ideas on singing and improved health.  As a singer, I have noticed a sense of well being while I am singing and certainly stronger abdominal and back muscles but what I found out was even greater than I imagined.  I have used music to assist me in studying for exams on numerous occasions by creating lyrics with my course materials.  There is something to be said for using the part of the brain that remembers twenty year- old song lyrics.

You don’t have to be a great singer or even a rockstar to achieve the results that are contained in this blog.  What makes singing so appealing is that we can all do it and we can all benefit from doing so.

Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society and Professor of Age Related Diseases at King’s College, London,  said singing as an activity did seem to help people with dementia.

“People seem to enjoy doing something jointly with other people and there is a lot of evidence that being socially engaged is good for people with dementia.”

He said the part of the brain that worked with speech was different to the part that processed music, allowing those who had lost their speech to still enjoy their music. 

 

  

Sound therapist Jovita Wallace says “Sound vibrations massage your aura, going straight to what’s out of balance and fixing it.”
Singing the short-a sound, as in ahh, for 2-3 minutes will help banish the blues. It forces oxygen into the blood, which signals the brain to release mood-lifting endorphins.
To boost alertness, make the long-e sound, as in emit. It stimulates the pineal gland, which controls the body’s biological clock.
Singing the short-e sound, as in echo stimulates the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones that control the speed which digestion and other bodily processes occur.
Making the long-o sound as in ocean stimulates the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar.
To strengthen immunity, sing the double-o sound, as in tool. This activates the spleen, which regulates the production of infection fighting white blood cells. (1)

Scientists say singing boosts immune system.
– Singing strengthens the immune system, according to research by scientists at the University of Frankfurt in Germany, published in the latest edition of the US Journal of Behavioral Medicine. The scientists tested the blood of people who sang in a professional choir in the city, before and after a 60 minute rehearsal of Mozart’s Requiem.They found that concentrations of immunoglobin A – proteins in the immune system which function as antibodies – and hydrocortisone, an anti-stress hormone, increased significantly during the rehearsal. A week later, when they asked members of the choir to listen to a recording of the Requiem without singing, they found the composition of their blood did not change significantly. The researchers, who included Hans Guenther Bastian from the Institute of Musical Education at Frankfurt University, concluded singing not only strengthened the immune system but also notably improved the performer’s mood. (1)

  • Singing releases endorphins into your system and makes you feel energized and uplifted. People who sing are healthier than people who don’t.
  • Singing gives the lungs a workout,
  • Singing tones abdominal and intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, and stimulates circulation.
  • Singing makes us breathe more deeply than many forms of strenuous exercise, so we take in more oxygen, improve aerobic capacity and experience a release of muscle tension as well.” — Professor Graham Welch, Director of Educational Research, University of Surrey, Roehampton, UK

 

5 Reasons Singing Is Good for Your Health

April 17, 2011 12:00 AM  by Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD

The YOU Docs love good music (one of us, Mehmet, cranks up Springsteen in the operating room; the other, Mike, is a huge fan of both classical piano and Frankie Valli). But when it comes to singing, we don’t care whether you’re first soprano in the church choir or you just belt out off-key oldies in the shower with the door locked. Bursting into song lifts your health in ways that surprise even us (and might make the cast of Glee America’s healthiest people). The benefits should get you singing out even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

1. Lowers your blood pressure. You may have heard the heartwarming news story about a woman in Boston whose blood pressure shot up just before knee-replacement surgery. When drugs alone weren’t enough, she began singing her favorite hymns, softly at first, then with more passion. Her blood pressure dropped enough for the procedure, which went off without a hitch. Now, we’re not suggesting you trade blood pressure treatments for a few verses of “Amazing Grace.” But try adding singing to your routine. It releases pent-up emotions, boosts relaxation, and reminds you of happy times, all of which help when stress and blood pressure spike.

2. Boosts your “cuddle” hormone. Yep, oxytocin, the same hormone that bonds moms and new babies and that makes you and your partner feel extra close after a romp in the hay, also surges after you croon a tune with your peeps

3. Allows you to breathe easier. If you or someone you know is coping with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), singing just twice a week could make breathing feel easier and life feel better. In fact, in England there are “singing for breathing” workshops. The benefits, said one person with the lung disease, “It makes me feel on top of the world . . . and it makes COPD a lot easier to live with.” Why wait for a workshop? Try crooning a tune or two on your own.

4. Helps you find serenity after cancer. Surviving cancer is a major milestone, but afterward, you still have to cope with the memories (tests, diagnosis, treatments) and quiet will-it-come-back worries. Vocalizing can help you blow off steam and stress. Turns out that singing actually calms the sympathetic nervous system (which tenses up when you do) and boosts activity in the parasympathetic nervous system (which makes you relax).

5. Rewires the brain after a stroke. Plenty of people who’ve survived a stroke but lost the ability to speak learn to communicate again by singing their thoughts. Singing activates areas on the right side of the brain, helping stroke survivors  to take over the job of speaking when areas on the left side no longer function. Called melodic intonation therapy (MIT), it’s used in some stroke rehab programs, and insurance may cover it. Ask about it if someone you love has speech difficulties from a stroke.

That’s not all singing can do. It also helps everyday health, increasing immunity, reducing stress for new moms, quieting snoring, easing anxiety in ways that may also ease irritable bowel syndrome, and simply making you feel happier. That’s a great return on something you can do in a choir, in your car, with your kids, in the shower, or even (you knew we were heading here) in a glee club. Here’s how to put the “glee factor” to work for you.  (2)

 

  Helen Astrid leading vocal coach and singer, confirms that regular exercising of the vocal cords can even prolong life, according to research done by The Helen Astrid Singing Academy in London. “It’s a great way to  keep in shape because you are exercising your lungs and heart. Not only  that, your body produces ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins, which  rush around your body when you sing. It’s exactly the same when you eat a  bar of chocolate. The good news with singing is that you don’t gain any  calories! Not only can it increase lung capacity, it improves posture,  clears respiratory tubes and sinuses, and can increase mental alertness  through greater oxygenation. It even tones the muscles of your stomach  and back, that is if you’re singing correctly.”

After consulting some therapists and my psychology textbooks from university I also was able to confirm the following:

Singing can help boost confidence, cure depression, process negative feelings and improve relationships.  There is something to be said for the feeling one gets when people clap for you after you sing as well, 

When you’re happy, you’re likely healthier. It’s hard to be sad when you’re singing.

 

Sing To Your Heart’s Content

  Singing even helps you live longer according to the findings of a joint Harvard and Yale study which showed that choral singing increased the life expectancy of the population of New Haven, Connecticut. The report concluded that this was because singing promoted both a healthy heart and an enhanced mental state. Another study at the University of California has reported higher levels of immune system proteins in the saliva of choristers after performing a complex Beethoven masterwork. (3)

According to The perceived benefits of singing findings from preliminary surveys of a university college choral society :

Women were significantly more likely to experience benefits for well-being and relaxation, younger people were more likely to report social benefits, and those professing religious beliefs were more likely to experience spiritual benefits.  (4)

 

Researchers from McGill University in Montreal said it was the first time that the chemical – called dopamine – had been tested in response to music.  Dopamine increases in response to other stimuli such as food and money.  It is known to produce a feel-good state in response to certain tangible stimulants – from eating sweets to taking cocaine.  Dopamine is also associated with less tangible stimuli – such as being in love.  (6)

The Arts – Music and Singing – Music as a therapeutic medium has demonstrated to be efficacious for pain management (Trauger-Querry & Haghighi, 1999), in facilitating the resolution of grief (Bright, 1999), as a means of finding a personal identity (Smeijsters & van den Hurk, 1999), to improve the lives of people with communications problems related to cognitive impairment (O’Callaghan, 1999), and to enhance the quality of life for Alzheimers patients (Hanser, 1999). Recent longitudinal analysis of music-therapy related articles in the ‘Etude’ music magazine for the period 1883 to 1957 has also indicated consistent and adamant support for the (physical and psychological) health benefits of singing (Hunter, 1999) (1)

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Barbershop Harmony Society 2012.

2. 5 Reasons Singing Is Good for Your Health  April 17, 2011 12:00 AM  by Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD

3. Heart Research UK, Suite 12D, Joseph’s Well, Leeds LS3 1AB

4. The perceived benefits of singing findings from preliminary surveys of a university college choral society 2012. 

  1. S.M. Clift Centre for Health Education and Research, Canterbury Christ Church University College, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1QU, England
  1. G. Hancox  Department of Music, Canterbury Christ Church University College, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1QU, England

5.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4448634.stm

How singing unlocks the brain

                        By Jane Elliott                                            BBC News Health reporter
 
6.   January 2011 Last updated at 13:04 ET  Music ‘releases mood-enhancing chemical in the brain’By Sonya McGilchrist Health reporter, BBC News