Winning the “War Against Pain”

Understanding Pain…

To achieve meaningful results in painful conditions, we first need to understand the language of pain.  Essentially, pain is felt in the brain.  In uncomplicated pain, a stimulus like excessive pressure, tissue damage or inflammation activates nerve receptors for pain.  An electrical impulse is sent through our nerves to the spinal cord and brain, where a message is processed and the sensation of pain is generated.

The pain serves a protective purpose.  For example, withdrawal of the body part from the dangerous environment, muscle responses which “guard” the injured area from further strain, or “sickness behaviour”, in which the individual feels ill and wants to rest, to accelerate healing.  When the local problem is resolved, nerve receptors for pain are no longer activated, and pain disappears.

However, pain does not always resolve quickly.  In fact, clients with chronic pain make up 17% of visits to general practice with arthritis, back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions being the overall leading causes.  Irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia (or indigestion) and depression are some of the other faces of pain and fatigue syndromes.  For persons who suffer from these conditions, chronic pain rules their lives, and they are frequent seekers of natural alternatives.

Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.

“Pain relief: a stylish addition to every woman’s handbag.” This quote from an ad for a carry pack of paracetamol highlights just how “normal” the daily consumption of pain relief medication has become.  In fact, pain relievers are the most commonly used medication in Australia, with one in four people having recently used some form of analgesic.

In this “war against pain”, however, pain seems to be winning.  Perhaps due to many of the health challenges facing western society, such as increased stress, poor diet, and environmental toxicity, the prevalence of painful disorders appears to be increasing. The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014-15 National Health Survey show that approximately 3.7 million Australians (16% of the population) have back problems.  It is estimated that 70-90% of people may suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their lives.

Back problems cover a range of conditions relating to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back.  These conditions may affect the neck (cervical spine), upper back (thoracic spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) as well as the sacrum and tailbone (coccyx).

Among others, back problems may include:

  • Pain in one or more areas of the back caused by a range of injuries and conditions.
  • Pain such as tingling, numbness and/or weakness in the legs that starts from the lower back.
  • Narrowing in the canal of the spine through which the spinal cord passes.
  • Degeneration of the spine caused by wear and tear on the joints.
  • Pressure on a segment of the spinal nerve attached to the spinal cord.
  • Neck pain or stiffness caused by disc degeneration.

There are many factors to be considered in relation to back pain.  Pain may be related to issues associated with posture, injuries, diseases such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, disc disease; and some genetic conditions, to name a few.  Other factors such as age, physical fitness, smoking, obesity, occupational & non-occupational hazards, may all increase the risk of developing back conditions.

Inflammation is one of the main players in painful disorders.  The inflammatory response is a powerful alarm signal for the body – setting off a cascade of reactions which generate the production of inflammatory chemicals en masse.   Damaged tissue is destroyed, healing is activated, and pain is an unavoidable side effect.  A wide range of inflammatory chemicals may directly activate pain-sensing nerve fibres.

Due to its natural self-amplifying nature, it is easy for inflammation to rage out of control, generating chronic pain.  Safe alternatives of additions to medical pain management strategies are sorely needed.  Medications used for pain relief cause a disproportionate amount of side effects.  Supplementation with natural anti-inflammatories &/or herbal remedies may be an important strategy in pain management.

What other alternative therapies may help relieve pain??

Many people turn to massage not just for general physical relaxation, or to release the muscle tension after a “workout”, but also for its relevance to stress management, as an aide to comfort people in ill-health, and to nurture and replenish them in recovery.

Remedial massage is the manipulation of the soft tissues for therapeutic purposes.  Remedial massage is beneficial to alleviate discomfort in the body’s musculo-skeletal system and enhance the function of joints and muscles.  It is also part of an integrated approach to activate the body’s healing response, stimulate drainage, increase circulation and general body tone, and reduce tension and stress.  Many people look for remedial massage during times of mental and physical fatigue, along with neck/shoulder discomfort, lower back pain and tension, headaches, sore joints, and congested legs.  It is beneficial for “all over body discomfort” as well as for specific troublesome joints or areas of the body.

 

Bowen Therapy is a gentle form of body work in which the Practitioner uses very subtle non-invasive moves over the muscles and connective tissue.  Results may be achieved from one session, however, for some conditions, a few sessions may be needed to achieve a full resolution of the presenting condition/s.  There are frequent, but very essential pauses throughout the session that allows the body time to respond and begin the healing process. 

A practitioner using Bowen Technique addresses not only the musculo-skeletal framework, but also the fascia, nerves and internal organs.  The rationale of treatment is to assess an integrated response to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage, and aid in both assimilation of nutrients and elimination.  As the session may initiate a cascade of beneficial changes that may continue for several days, it is recommended to avoid other manipulative therapies during this time as it may interrupt the process and undermine the overall effectiveness of the Bowen therapy.

 

If you suffer from pain, whether it be musculo-skeletal, irritable bowel or nerve &/or stress related, please call us on 4153 4112 to make an appointment with one of our Practitioners.  They will perform a comprehensive individual assessment to find a natural solution to relieve your pain.

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.