Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Can Natural Pain Management Techniques Really Work?

As anyone who has ever suffered acute or chronic pain is all too well aware, when you are in pain, you need to do something about managing it. And whilst we can all probably live with low-level pain even if it is constant, it is natural that your need to deal with pain increases the worse it gets.

There is no doubt whatsoever that in the West, when pain strikes, our first thought or reaction is to scamper off to the medicine cabinet to see whether we have any aspirins or paracetamol to address the problem with. After all, using analgesic drugs is convenient and quick for most of us when we have a headache or backache and want to do is get rid of it as effectively as possible.

However, as you now understand, analgesic drugs have the potential to cause adverse side effects, some of which might be mild but many are obviously not. In effect, every time you pop an aspirin or a paracetamol into your mouth, you are taking a risk and whilst there is no point in pretending that it is a major risk, it is nevertheless a chance that you are taking.

Rather than popping a pill when you’re suffering a short-term pain, try some of the herbs detailed in the last chapter or do something like going out for a long walk in the fresh air. Whilst this is not a particularly revolutionary painkilling theory, it is a fact that a long walk will often clear a tense headache, whilst muscle pain can often be relieved by getting those muscles moving once again.

Of course, if you suffer from chronic pain, then the solution that you are seeking is far more long term and permanent as well.

Whatever kind of pain you suffer from, it is possible to bring that pain under control by applying the natural pain management techniques.

By doing so, you may be able to reduce or even stop taking potentially harmful analgesic drugs, which in itself will bring significant health benefits and lifestyle improvements.

It never really makes sense to take potentially harmful chemicals when perfectly valid natural alternatives exist. As you have read, there are quite a few effective natural pain management techniques, so it clearly makes sense to start using them sooner rather than later.

External Resources to Read;

Natural Pain Management
Herbs for Pain Relief
Pain Management

How To Finding a Suitable Hypnotist or Hypnotherapist?

Before you do this, however, there are a couple of things you should do.

Firstly, you should talk to your regular doctor or medical practitioner, the person who is presently charged with keeping your pain under control. Understand that when you do so, they may not approve of what you are thinking of doing, especially as by seeking the help of a hypnotist, you are to a certain extent rebuffing their assistance.
Trust me, it is possible that your doctor will react in this way – if they have been treating even sometime, you probably know them better than most, so you may have an idea of how they are likely to react already, but it could happen.

But the fact is, you are not there to ask for their approval or recommendation. What you need to know is whether subjecting yourself to hypnotism poses any real physical health risks, whether for example a pre-existing medical condition could be exacerbated by the experience.

In effect, what you are looking for is the medical all-clear so if your doctor does not approve of the idea of you seeking hypnotism for any reasons other than those which are strictly medical, it is your decision whether you choose to listen to them.

Secondly (and assuming that you decide to go ahead with trying hypnotism), you need to find a hypnotist who is capable of treating the problem that you are going to present to them. Whilst most professional hypnotists or hypnotherapists are going to be able to deal with more ‘run of the mill’ demands such as people who want to stop smoking andso on, not every hypnotist is going to be capable of or comfortable with the idea of dealing with chronic pain.

Consequently, you may need to contact a few appropriately qualified professionals to see whether they can help you. Pay them a visit to see whether you can get along with them, whether they are convincing when they suggest that they can help you and so on.

In short, you need to feel 100% comfortable with the hypnotist or hypnotherapist you are planning to work with because if you are not, there is an immediate element of strain or stress introduced into the relationship which is not going to help you to achieve the results that you’re looking for.

The second alternative is to learn self-hypnosis. And if that sounds crazy, prepare to think again!

What kind of Pain Do You Have?

One important consideration that your doctor will take into account before they prescribe pharmaceutical analgesics is the type of pain that you are suffering from.

They will take into account whether it is a chronic or acute pain and whether there is any underlying condition or situation that is causing the pain before deciding upon what medicine to give you. A similar situation will apply if you are buying over-the-counter painkillers well, because whilst paracetamol or Tylenol might be very effective for dealing with fever and the pain from and associated with a headache, aspirin will be far less effective for dealing with a fever problem.

Similar considerations apply when you are looking at natural pain management solutions as well because some solutions will work better in some pain management situations than they will in others. Furthermore, if you have a specific medical condition or situation that is causing pain, some natural pain management solutions are likely to be more appropriate than others.

As an example, the painkilling approach that you use to get rid of a headache or backache is likely to be significantly different to the approach that you adopt if you are trying to combat the pain caused by cancer or it’s treatment or the various aches and pains associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

Hence, many of the solutions that are going to be explained are likely to be more effective in certain circumstances or situations than in others.

You need to know what kind of pain it is that you need to combat before deciding upon the best way of using completely natural pain management strategies, tactics and ideas to minimize the adverse effects of your problems.

Guide to Ibuprofen and Naproxen

Ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin etc) and Naproxen (Aleve) are both NSAID’s like aspirin. They therefore share many of the potential side effects that have already been highlighted as been endemic to aspirin. For instance, aspirin allergy, upset stomach and a higher risk of asthma attacks can be equally ascribed to both of these medicines as they can to aspirin.

Ibuprofen however carries additional risks as it is believed to increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) if taken in high dosages and you can also cause or exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis due to its capability of starting gastrointestinal bleeding.

With Naproxen, some of the most widely reported side-effects include constipation or diarrhea, drowsiness, upset stomach, stuffy nose and heartburn.

However, whilst the NSAID’s already detailed are likely to carry a slight increase in risk levels for heart attacks and strokes, the risk associated with Naproxen might be considerably more serious. Indeed, the National Institute of Health terminated a trial into the effects of Naproxen as a drug for reducing the severity of Alzheimer’s disease (in 2006) because of the suspicion that the drug significantly increased the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Since that time, further analysis suggests that at normal dosages, the increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke is fairly low although as you will see in the next section, this is certainly not true of all NSAID’s.

Facts About Aspirin

Aspirin is still one of the most widely used analgesic painkillers and as you can buy aspirin in almost any convenience store, it is a medicine that thousands of people all over the world use whenever they have a minor pain such as a headache or some other similar condition.

Technically speaking, aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (an NSAID) and was the first drug of its type to be discovered and isolated. For the vast majority of people, aspirin is a relatively safe medicine to take, although as previously suggested, it is a medicine to be avoided for people who are already taking other medicines with which it might interact.

In addition however, it is estimated that approximately 1% of people suffer from an aspirin allergy which is most commonly seen on the skin in the form of hives, rashes, and swellings. An aspirin allergy can bring on asthma attacks in people who already have a susceptibility to asthma, with an estimated 10% of asthma sufferers likely to suffer this form of allergic reaction to aspirin. This can extend as far as developing into anaphylaxis (a severe life-threatening allergic reaction) in a worst-case scenario.

Aspirin can also cause upset stomachs and diarrhea, as well as bleeding (both internal and external) and bruising as a result of its anticoagulant capabilities.

In a very small number of cases, aspirin can lead to Reye’s Syndrome which is a potentially fatal condition characterized by damage to many internal organs, especially the liver and the brain. Given the seriousness of this particular condition, early diagnosis of Reye’s Syndrome is absolutely essential because otherwise brain damage or death could be the result.

Reye’s syndrome passes through five distinct stages with the first being characterized by heavy vomiting that is not reversed by eating, general lethargy, nightmares and all-round confusion. If anyone who is taking aspirin exhibits any of these symptoms, it is absolutely critical to get them to a doctor or emergency hospital as quickly as possible.

What Should You Know about Paracetomol

Paracetomol (and Tylenol) (acetaminophen) is widely used and generally available analgesic as well as being effective for reducing fever as well. For this reason, it is widely used as a treatment for headaches, fever and other minor aches and pains.

Paracetamol is technically known as an aniline analgesic and is the only one still widely used for the treatment of pain, because all other similar analgesics were withdrawn as they were believed to exhibit carcinogenic qualities (which so far, paracetamol does not). However, the fact that it is made from coal tar may give you a reason to question this as carbon is often believed to have carcinogenic qualities as well.

In normal doses, one of the advantages of paracetamol is that it does not irritate the stomach lining or affect blood coagulation in the same way that NSAID’s like aspirin do.

However, higher than recommended usage has been seen to have a potential connection with gastrointestinal bleeding and very high dosages have the capacity to cause liver damage, which in the most severe cases can be fatal. Indeed, paracetamol or tylenol poisoning is the number one cause of acute liver failure in most Western countries and the way that most people choose to commit suicide in these countries as well.

Furthermore, a massive study conducted in 31 countries and involving over 200,000 children in 2008 and reported in the leading medical journal ‘The Lancet’ found that the use of paracetamol in the first year of life made children far more likely to develop asthmatic symptoms at around age six or seven. In addition, children who took paracetamol during the first year of life and also children who took the drug at ages 6-7 demonstrated a far higher likelihood of developing eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis later too.

What is pain?

The word pain can be used in many different ways, so it is probably worth defining exactly we mean by the word pain in the context of this article.

Throughout this article, I am dealing with physical pain as opposed to the kind of general life-encompassing suffering that can make every day a misery. The type of pain we are talking about here does not for example include the kind of pain that you might suffer if you have no money or are homeless, emotional desperation brought on by family bereavement and so on.

As we have all felt physical pain from time to time, we all know what it is but finding an accurate definition is actually far harder than it might at first appear like it should be.

For example, whilst the International Association for the Study of Pain defines it as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage’, it is important to understand that pain is actually highly subjective.

What one person might consider an agonizing pain could be nothing more than a minor irritant to someone else, and people who suffer from chronic pain every day gradually forget about it to some degree even though the pain does not go away.

For this reason, it is sometimes suggested that the definition provided by a noted pain control expert Margo McCaffrey in 1968 might be viewed as more accurate. She said that ‘pain is whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever he says it does’.

What is certainly indisputable is the fact that almost half of visits to doctors and medical practitioners in the USA every year are as a result of a pain problem that the patient wants solving.

When this happens, your doctor will usually do two things.

Firstly, they will try to characterize the pain itself using various different criteria or descriptions such as intensity, type of pain (throbbing, dull, burning etc), reason for the pain and bodily location.

After asking these questions, if there is no clear reason for the pain, they will examine you to find out why you are suffering the way you are as there is clearly some underlying reason for your pain of which you are not fully aware.

Generally speaking, pain will go away with simple treatments such as rest and of course through the use of painkilling analgesic medicines. However, we have already seen that many people suffer chronic pain, a pain that becomes a medical condition in itself and does not go away of its own accord or as a result of simple treatments.

Pain is an essential part of the body’s defense mechanism, a natural reflex reaction telling you to back off from something that has the potential to cause damage to you. Furthermore, it also help you to change your behavior so that whatever it was that caused you pain is not repeated, thereby protecting against further physical harm or damage.

Pain is a conscious sensation – sometimes we are too conscious of it, and it can strike anytime, anywhere, either as a result of a traumatic accident or because of the sudden or gradual onset of an unexpected medical problem.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Natural Pain Management Tips

Pain is a fact of life that many thousands of people all over the world live with every day of their lives. For many who are in chronic (long-term) pain, this means that it is something they have to live with every waking moment of every day, which is likely to make life very miserable indeed.

The fact is that all of us, probably every single individual on the face of planet earth is either already familiar with pain or will have episodes of pain at some point in our lives yet to materialize. Does this therefore mean that we have to accept pain as an inevitable fact of life?

The unfortunate answer to the question is probably yes because unless you live in a cotton-wool lined cocoon for every moment of every day, it is almost impossible to avoid the kind of accidents that inevitably cause pain and discomfort. However, in a situation like this, the pain is usually temporary and no matter how acute it might be at the time, it passes fairly quickly.

If you trap your finger in the door or smack yourself on the back of the hand with a hammer, yes, it hurts like the devil and the pain will be excruciatingly intense, of that there is no doubt. If you fall off your bike and crack your knee off the concrete, it hurts and even getting an unintentional kick or smack playing sports does not hurt any less because your opponent didn’t mean to cause you pain.

However, by definition, acute pain of this type usually passes and whilst trapping your finger in the door or falling off your bike can leave an injury that hurts for a few days, it is nevertheless still a relatively temporary pain situation that you are in. But these are also times when pain relief is something that you will probably seek, because the basic truth is that mankind in general is not very good at dealing with pain without some kind of external intervention.

If you have a finger or knee that is sore for several days, imagine how much worse it must be if you had to live with constant chronic pain, pain that nags at you each and every day of your life. If you are one of the fortunate ones who has never had to put up with long term pain, it is probably hard to imagine a situation where pain is a constant in your life but there are thousands of people for whom this represents their everyday reality.

Of course, over the course of the past 112 years since Felix Hoffman managed to produce a stable form of acetylsalicylic acid, better known as aspirin, man has developed many chemical-based painkillers that are used by millions all over the world each and every day.

Many of these drugs are pretty effective as painkillers but this does not change the fact that, as with all chemical-based pharmaceuticals, there are potential side effects attached to many of these drugs.

There are also quite significant numbers of people who cannot take these drugs too, people who are either allergic to them or are taking other medicines which prohibit them from taking particular types of painkillers. For example, for thousands of people all over the world who take a daily anticoagulant tablet like warfarin sodium or heparin, aspirin is a definite no-go as it too has the ability to thin the blood.

Thus, whilst not denying the effectiveness of painkilling drugs, there are a perhaps surprisingly large number of people who cannot use chemical-based painkillers. In addition, there are many thousands of people who do not want to use chemical-based analgesics (painkiller) because they understand that medical science is not perfect, and that whilst the majority of side effects of most commonly used painkillers are known, there may well be side effects that have not yet been discovered.

There are therefore a lot of people who are looking for natural ways of dealing with pain for one reason or another.

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