What is Chronic Pain?
“Chronic pain is one of the most underestimated health care problems in the world today, causing major consequences for the quality of life of the sufferer and a major burden on the health care system in the Western world," said Professor Harald Breivik, former President of EFIC.
According to a recent market research almost 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain. In contrast to acute pain, chronic pain persists more than six month or lasts even longer. It can be mild or torturous, periodical or continuous, merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating.
People suffering from chronic pain are less able to exercise properly, to sleep normally or to master their daily life successfully. The Voices of Chronic Pain SurveyThe Voices of Chronic Pain Survey reports that almost two-thirds of the chronic pain sufferers complain about an overall decrease in enjoyment of life and more than three-fourths state an enormous decline in their concentration and energy level.
What causes Chronic Pain?
All of us have already experienced the feeling of acute pain at least once in their life time. It is a normal sensation emerging in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury. It should raise your attention and the need to take care of yourself. Chronic pain behaves differently. Pain signals remain active and keep firing in the nervous system for months or even years.
○ The most common source of pain stems from an initial trauma (e.g. car accident)
○ Back or sports injury
○ Serious infection
○ Ongoing cause of pain (migraines, diabetes, arthritis, or cancer)
○ Generalized nerve or muscle pain can turn in to a chronic condition
Did you know that...?
○ one in three chronic pain sufferers are unable or less able to maintain an independent lifestyle due to their pain
○ according to a survey of the National Institute of Health low back pain is the most common type of pain (27%), followed by severe headache or migraine pain (15%), neck pain (15%) and facial ache or pain (4% )
○ 60% of chronic pain patients say they experience breakthrough pain one or more times daily
○ pain is a significant public health problem that costs society at least $560-$635 billion annually
○ the effect of pain means that one in four patients report that relationships with family and friends are strained or broken
What are the symptoms of Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is not a single symptom that exists on its own. It is accompanied by other physical and emotional health conditions. Chronic pain itself leaves you with a feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness or stiffness and affects specific parts of your body: headaches, backaches, neck or pelvic pain, joint pain, sinus pain, tendinitis pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain, carpal tunnel syndrome pain.
The pain can also result in an emotional and mental burden. Negative emotions are closely related to the development of pain and may decrease the body’s production of natural painkillers. Fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, weakened immune system, withdrawal from activities, increased need to rest, mood changes, anxiety, depression, stress and disability and reduced flexibility in movements are associated with pain. All these symptoms can lead to despair and may worsen the individual’s ability to manage the pain.
What kind of benefits brings the holistic approach along?
Researchers from the Center for Health Research in Portland, USA, proved recently that the commonly used pain medication has high potential to cause toxicity, gastrointestinal bleeding and renal failure. Therefore they highly recommend treating chronic pain with alternative medicine like TCM:
○ You don’t run the risk to become addicted to pain killers
○ You don’t run the risk to abuse harmful medication
○ TCM addresses psychological as well as physical aspects of your health condition due to the mind-body links associated with chronic pain
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese practice that includes the insertion of hair-thin needles into the skin. Specific acupuncture points are stimulated in order to correct imbalances in the flow of energy in the body. In 2012 an international team of experts conducted a study involving almost 18,000 patients and proved that acupuncture does provide real relief from common forms of pain by about 50%. It further suggests that the traditional Chinese practice may help with other chronic pain conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia and muscle pain.
Acupuncture can help with the following:
○ Reduces inflammation
○ Improves muscle stiffness and joint mobility
○ Changes the brain’s processing of pain with the release of endorphins
Massage Therapy is a whole-body approach that goes deep into the center of where you actually feel the pain. It does not only ease the pain, but also improves the overall wellbeing as cortisol, the body’s natural response to pain, is reduced through massage. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) also confirmed the tremendous therapeutic benefits for many acute and chronic conditions in their 18th annual consumer survey. 77 percent of U.S. citizens surveyed claim their primary reason for receiving a massage in the previous 12 month was medical or stress related. Medical reasons subsume pain relief, soreness, stiffness or spasms, injury recovery, migraines, prevention, and general well-being. 92 percent of consumers surveyed believe that massage can be effective in reducing pain.
Advance your pain management program with diverse offers from Balance Health including Relaxation-, Sports- or Remedial Massage.
○ Increases blood circulation and lymph flow
○ Reduces muscle tension
○ Improves flexibility and relieves pain
Shiatsu is a form of traditional Japanese bodywork that aims to release tensions from body and mind. It stimulates the body’s natural healing ability by applying gentle pressure to specific points across the body.
According to a research from the University of Alberta, Shiatsu may help chronic pain patients who suffer from insomnia. Persons living with pain commonly face difficulties with falling and staying asleep. Dr. Cary Brown, a researcher in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta explains it as follows: “If you’re not getting enough sleep, your sensitivity to pain is going to rise. And if you’re having pain, your ability to sleep is going to go down. Sleep can be somewhat of a vicious cycle for those with chronic pain”.
Shiatsu is generally also helpful with:
○ Neck, shoulder and back pain
○ Reduced mobility and joint pain
○ Headaches and migraines
The founder of Osteopathy Andrew Taylor Still described the approach of Osteopathy with the following maxim: ”Find it, fix it and leave it alone”.
The therapy is basically concerned with the manual treatment of joints and soft tissue using gentle muscle relaxation and joint articulation techniques, technically referred to as strain and counter-strain. One key tool in the osteopath’s arsenal is osteopathic manipulative treatment, which covers a wide range of hands-on, body manipulation.
○ Gives guidance on simple self-help methods to use at home
○ Helps a wide range of conditions, including repetitive strain injury, postural imbalances, arthritis and sports injuries
○ Improves mobility of the spine, which in turn can makes the back or neck feel much comfortable
The Yuen Method
The Yuen Method is an energetic healing technique that is effective in combating energetic blockages in the body that might be causing pain. Pain is considered as a symptom of a blockage within the flow of energy. Therefore, it explores the imbalances which are only the origin of pain. Mainly stress and the imbalance of your mind-set will be treated with the Yuen Method. This complementary profound health technique can greatly increase your health condition. This non-invasive method provides a systematic process enabling the practitioner and you to identify the deeper core issue(s) that are related to the problems you may be experiencing in life.
○ Helps with physical pain
○ Discover your weaknesses and simply delete them
○ Solve your blockades no matter in which area of your life
Body Talk treatments work with Chronic pain by addressing “the whole patient”. This entails:
- The Symptoms - the physical, perpetual feeling of pain
- The Emotional State - the compromised emotional state of the patient, who is more likely to also suffer from depression and anxiety from this condition further exacerbating this disorder
- The Belief Systems and Expectations Surrounding Pain - as the perception of pain is an intensely personal experience and varies drastically from person to person, addressing the patient’s belief systems has potential to offer great relief
- The Social Effects of Chronic Pain - addressing the psychological effects of feeling like a burden on others due to the chronic pain, or contrastingly, having to take care of a loved one who is experiencing or limited by their chronic pain
BodyTalk is a complimentary, noninvasive healthcare modality. As it treats the emotional and psychological aspects of chronic pain while concurrently attending to the physical distress, BodyTalk is the perfect tool to fight off all the effects of chronic pain head on.
Our practitioner Angie Tourani is Hong Kong’s only Advanced Certified BodyTalk Practitioner and Instructor. She specializes in working with emotional issues, anxiety, depression, insomnia, immune system weaknesses, and sensory integration disorder with both adults and children.
How can I learn to manage Chronic Pain?
When you are overwhelmed by stress, it makes your pain even worse. Learning to relax is the very first goal for chronic pain patients. "If you're upset about something, your pain will go up several points on the pain scale," explains Rollin M. Gallagher, MD, MPH, director of pain management at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. "Stress control techniques are very helpful for all types of pain.”
Relaxation techniques, deep breathing or meditation allow your mind to help your body by its own efforts. If you want to learn more about it, then join one of the Stress Reduction or Relaxation Technique Workshops at Balance Health!
“Pain relief should be a human right, whether people are suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS or any other painful condition!"
– Professor Sir Michael Bond, M.D., President of IASP
Do It Yourself - How can I treat my neck pain on my own?The American Osteopathic Association recommends:
○ Stretch your neck out by gently tilting your head from left to right and hold for 20 seconds on each side
○ Stand and sit up straight
○ Apply heat or cold
○ Don’t tuck your phone between your neck and shoulder
○ Don’t give up on finding relief
Give Alternative & Holistic Medicine a chance and contact
Balance Health now!