4 Strategies for Relieving Pain Without Medication

imagesCADFHHKY

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

sn-massage-thumb-800xauto-12181

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.

Acts of Kindness

Living in the city one does not tend to expect much from one’s neighbours but the events of this past weekend proved otherwise.  As the snow began to fall on Thursday evening up to Sunday in the wee hours I was surprised at the amount of people in my neighbourhood that pulled together as a team to remove the snow.  I am not just talking about the snow on our walkways or on the front street, but the back alleys and even the roadways where many of us park.  It began with one person shovelling their neighbours walk and by Saturday we had several people that produced snowblowers and shovels clearing driveways, walkways, & streets.  It almost became competitive with teams forming to see who can clear the most snow first.    Now that is community spirit and concern for the people that live here.  I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

A big thank you to all the wonderful people that restored my faith in humanity.  Remember it only takes one person to make a change and watch what effect it has on the many…

Gratitude Quotes By Maya Angelou & Betty White

In a recent interview with Maya Angelou  by Dawn Reiss – Maya stated:  “I’m grateful for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love – for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, and yet love exists.  I’m grateful to know that it exists.  &  “In the midst of hard times, you have to say, ‘I know this will not last forever.’ No matter how bad it gets, I’m always grateful to know that I don’t have to stay with the negative. I don’t have to continue in this climate of cynicism. I may not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I know there is one,”

“It’s [old age] not a surprise, we knew it was coming – make the most of it. So
you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a
little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain,
gratitude should be the name of the game.”
Betty
White

Phillips Brooks
Stand up, on this Thanksgiving Day, stand upon your feet.  Believe in man.  Soberly and with clear eyes, believe in your own time and place.  There is not, and there never has been a better time, or a better place to live in.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon
You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.

What is a greater priority in your life: happiness or success?

While it is possible to attain both, we often sacrifice one for the other when making major life decisions such as what career to pursue, whether to move to the suburbs or to the country, to afford a bigger house, or work part-time and be a stay at home Mom/ Dad, even if it means getting less work done.

People appear to be working more than ever now that we are all armed with cellphones and can be reached at all hours of the day.  When we are receiving business calls beyond our work hours the line between work and personal life can become blurred.  Some of us are becoming overloaded and reassessing our lives in search of more quality time for ourselves and with our families.

   Does Increased Income Improve Happiness?

Research that examines the correlation between income and happiness has found that increased income has a very small correlation with happiness for most people.  The exception is  people who live in poverty conditions where more money provide basic necessities like food, shelter, and transportation.  Once people reach the middle class stage however, additional income tends to have little effect on one’s happiness.

While winning the lottery may provide an immediate boost in happiness, studies suggest that  lottery winners return to a level close to their baseline happiness in about one year.  One can find that too much money comes with additional stressors while others have been broke within 6 months of winning the lottery as well.  We’ve all heard stories of the miserable millionaire or the unhappy but successful professional.  This finding suggests that it can be a big mistake to pursue a career primarily to gain a higher salary over a career that you intrinsically enjoy.  It appears that the level of job satisfaction often out weighs the higher salary.

The science of happiness, which is known as positive psychology, basically studies human behavior and positive emotions with the aim of determining what factors can result in an increased level of happiness. Conclusions from this research can provide interesting insights into how we can maximize our happiness.

Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi coined the name “flow” for the idea of engaging so deeply in an activity that you lose track of time.   The Happiness Hypothesis describes flow as the “state of total immersion in a task that is challenging yet closely matched to one’s abilities.   It is what some people  refer to “as being in the zone’”.  Finding activities which lead to a state of flow for you, such as playing a sport or writing a blog/book, and allocating more time to these activities can lead to a more enjoyable career and life.

As one gets older, people tend to evaluate the time they spend at work versus the time they would like to use to enjoy life, perhaps opting to travel or seeing the grandchildren more often.  The passage of time influences our decisions and what may make us happy today may not be as important later in life.

In, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, In 1960, Jung was interviewed by journalist Gordon Young, who asked, “What do you consider to be more or less basic factors making for happiness in the human mind?” Jung answered:

“1. Good physical and mental health.

2. Good personal and intimate relationships, such as those of marriage, the family, and friendships.

3. The faculty for perceiving beauty in art and nature.

4. Reasonable standards of living and satisfactory work.

5. A philosophic or religious point of view capable of coping successfully with the vicissitudes of life.”

The more consciously aware I am of my happiness, the happier I will become. These five factors Jung outlined above can strengthen those elements of my life, I make myself happier.   Jung also noted that there is no guarantee in maintaining happiness, I think it is always worth my best shot!

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” –Carl Jung

Happiness research may not provide the secret to achieving happiness but it can suggest ways in which we can potentially increase it.  The conclusions are often based on the “average person” so these ideas may not work for everyone.   However understanding the findings from happiness research and experimenting in your own life can help you determine what will ultimately lead to “the good life” for you.

I’m most happy when I’m doing something creative, such as writing, singing or even dancing – I don’t have any worries, I forget the planet.

 

The Inner Shift to Enlightenment

 

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. Buddha

 

Sometimes this inner shift comes with age but always through the attainment of knowledge.  One enters a period of enlightenment where the material world is no longer your focus.  An inner shift is when you realize that true abundance is much more about “being” than it is about “having,” “going,” “doing” and “getting.”   It is here, you discover to your great delight that your unconditioned self is made of everything you are trying to find in the world. Yes, you truly have it all.  Joy is your spiritual DNA.  Love is your original energy and your true nature is already free. Your true nature begins to materialize, you naturally experience a life that is rich in every way.

 

Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Morihei Ueshiba

Though you may travel the world to find the beautiful, you must have it within you or you will find it not. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Encounter with the Crone

It was the encounter with the crone
in which she told me “dear child when you cry
God cries with you.”
I wiped away my tears and wanted to yell at her
I am not a child ! I wanted her to see I am a grown woman.
but in her world I am merely a babe.
 
“I know of your sadness and those who have brought you to this place.”
She began with:
“He who sits on the throne or ivory perch
fuming and steaming in envy
and judges others for what they have
Would be better served to make that dream their own.
Jealousy and envy are bitter emotions
Vile words spill out about others who have achieved success honestly and legitimately
they flounder through life as many things and promise many things
A vermin like existence but then again a worm has a purpose, have they not?
She shook her head and lowered it to look down at the rocks below.
There is no love to be found in a darkened soul
All that bitterness will never lead to any good other than
solitude
They masquerade as the kind of heart
but rarely do they do for another
Its shady deals and scams to keep the blackened pot all shiny and gold
plated. Chasing the money, pretending they are wealthy only to lure another victim.
Abusing others is a game.”
“Ah such is the life of a snake oil salesman!”  she sighed in disgust
“Charlatans of money are charlatans of heart!
stealing love and weakening the good ones that remain.”
“Their mirror and their hearts serve to tell them who they are everyday
yet they remain in a state of lies and jealous rages.
time ravages ones soul
as the heart gets darker the distance between want and need merge into
a torturous loneliness
many a warrior could survive
but the ones who want all
are ill equipped to make it alone
for they have never loved themselves or anyone else enough
to brave the storm.”
“Those who wish to partake in the sport of causing misery to others
shall find that this misery rears its ugly head
Karma, my child! You have no need to fear it …
I was not sent to judge but merely advise.”
“There is a glow around you that shall protect you if you only choose it.
Don’t waste your life like mine
Radiate your light, it is strong enough
You are of knowledge and truth and both shall always set you free~
You will get hurt, you will feel real pain that is the way we are made.”
and with the mid summer breeze.. the crone was gone…
 

Modify Your Attitude to Gratitude

Everyday presents us with situations that can aggravate us or we can choose to walk away,  One of the hardest challenges I face is dealing with my Fibromyalgia.  Things that I took for granted such as getting dental work done or blood tests never use to bother me.  I generally walk away feeling pretty good but this is no longer the case.  I came home with two bruised arms and felt dizzy, nauseated and drained.  The tech was unable to draw blood on the left arm as the veins collapsed so she tried again with the right arm.  By this point I was feeling ill and having to fast for 12 hours certainly did not help.  I began to feel faint which was something i did not anticipate.  I chose to think about the blessings in my life during this period of discomfort,asking God to just let me get through this and go home as soon as I could.  My thoughts turned to what awaited me at home, like my dog Molly who will shower me with hugs and kisses, my nice comfortable bed i can lay down in when I get home, the meal in the crockpot that I am lucky to eat while many are starving in the world.  The car I am priviledged to drive, the fact that I live in a peaceful country,and the best part was going to see my Mom after my tests where she pampered me and made me feel better.  And even better I am living my dream and I am not going to let some blood test, bruise or discomfort keep me from my dreams.

Attitude is everything, attitude can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Friday…

I could have got upset about it but that would only make matters worse.