During the time I’ve lived with chronic pain, I’ve tried many holistic therapies for pain relief. By far the most effective has been adjusting the foods I choose, which is why I wrote Kick Pain in the Kitchen. However, so many other types of treatment have helped me find pain relief.
I plan to discuss these in more detail in the future, but here are a few options I’ve found helpful. Not all of them have been part of my treatment plans at all times. I tend to mix and match depending on time, finances, and the particular practitioners I meet.
Chiropractic – I first found chiropractic care during some intense back pain when I was in my late 20s. Not only did I find relief through chiropractic adjustments, but also I began to learn about my own body mechanics. I was working an office job and spent hours each day with my knee bent and my foot up underneath my hip. Since I was sitting crooked on top of my foot, it’s no wonder my back hurt! But no one suggested I stop this until I began to see a chiropractor.
Since then I’ve been the patient of several other chiropractors, each with their own style and expertise. If you’re considering chiropractic for pain relief, ask your friends, family, health care team, and coworkers who they see and why they like them. Spend at least a few weeks asking around, and hopefully you’ll hear the same name more than once. Then schedule an introductory appointment with the most-recommended chiropractor. You’ll want to come armed with some questions like:
- What is the typical treatment plan for the pain I’m experiencing?
- What types of manual adjustments do you perform?
- Do you have massage therapy or nutrition services available as well? Is it required?
- Do you accept and bill health insurance for patients?
Massage therapy – During my early 30s I had another episode of intense back pain. This time, my doctor sent me to an orthopedic surgeon who determined nothing was structurally wrong with my spine. The two doctors recommended physical therapy. I found the sessions and prescribed exercises to be helpful but not quite enough to relieve my pain. I was still struggling to walk through the grocery store. So my family doctor wrote the name and number of her massage therapist on a prescription pad. She told me to call the therapist and schedule a few massages, then let her know how I was doing. I experienced so much relief after just the first massage! By the third massage, my pain was completely gone.
My back pain was a good example of muscular tension causing pain. The good news is that muscle and other soft tissue can be treated very effectively with therapeutic massage.
Acupuncture – Sometimes I try something just because I meet a respected practitioner, and that’s how I happened into acupuncture. One of my fellow students at massage therapy school was married to an acupuncturist. I wasn’t really looking for any pain relief, but I had a lot of stress in my life. Juggling a full-time job, part-time school, and part-time new business was a struggle. And that didn’t even count the time I spent with family. I was bug-eyed with stress!
Acupuncture is a combination of physical work (the needles) with energy connections. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, energy is called qi (say “chee”). And the needles are placed in specific points designed to stimulate qi and allow the body to find relief.
“Acupuncture therapy,” says University of California, San Diego’s Center for Integrative Medicine, “can release blocked qi in the body and stimulate function, evoking the body’s natural healing response through various physiological systems.”
Since my first experience with acupuncture in 2003, I’ve been a regular patient. In recent years, I’ve begun to work with a different acupuncturist. Together, she and I integrate stress relief with many other goals including pain relief. It always seems to bring me quiet calm and focus so I can take better care of myself.
Next time we’ll discuss these holistic pain relief therapies:
- Reiki and energy work
- Magnetic therapy
- Infrared mats / sauna
Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!