Natural Pain Relief and Pain Management via Chiropractic and Massage Therapy
What is natural pain relief ? Of all the pain relief methods, Chiropractic is the most widely known form of licensed alternative medicine.
Short History of Chiropractic
The word “chiropractic” is derived from Greek words meaning “done by hand.” This translates in Chiropractic terms to the manipulation of the spine and joints to help relieve pain and stiffness. This in turn contributes to improving the function of the associated nerves, joints and muscles.
Originally Dr. Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer, founded Chiropractic in 1895 after tracing nearly all disease to pinched nerves which were caused by misalignments of the vertebrae. Chiropractors call vertebrae which don’t move properly “subluxations.” Subluxations can cause inflammation and ultimately pain in nerves, muscles and joints. By manually adjusting bones, and tissues, chiropractors correct these misalignment restoring the nervous system to its optimal level.
Some chiropractors closely follow D.D.Palmer’s teachings and focus strictly on spinal adjustments. Other chiropractors provide pain relief management by combining adjustments with massage, rehabilitative exercises, nutritional counseling, heat and ice therapies.
Chiropractic treatments begin with a medical case history, including orthopedic and neurological evaluation and might conclude with adjustments to help realign the spine or adjustment in muscle and tendon tissues.
Chiropractors are licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Natural Pain Relief through Massage
Professional Massage Therapists are trained in anatomy, physiology and techniques that stimulate blood flow, oxygen intake, nutrient absorption and the elimination of metabolic wastes. Research has demonstrated that Massage Therapy boosts the immune system and level of endorphins (natural pain killers). What’s more, pain and stress-related conditions such as depression, anxiety and tension have been shown to decrease as a result Massage Therapy.
Actually, since most diseases are associated with stress, and massage reduces stress, this therapy assists in healing most conditions. The origin of Massage Therapy can be traced back over 3000 years to ancient Chinese and Indian folk medicine. Later, Greek and Roman physicians brought massage to the West. Massage Therapy treatments begin with a medical case history and an examination of your pain’s location.
Next, the Massage Therapist performs manipulations designed to stretch and loosen specific connective tissues, reduce pain and improve structural alignment. In addition to manual manipulation, a Massage Therapist may also use ultrasound, electrical, heat, and cold pain relief.
What Does Chiropractic for Back Pain Involve ?
A chiropractor first takes a medical history, performs a physical examination, and may use lab tests or diagnostic imaging to determine if treatment is appropriate for your back pain. The treatment plan may involve one or more manual adjustments in which the doctor manipulates the joints,using a controlled, sudden force to improve range and quality of motion. Many chiropractors also incorporate nutritional counseling and exercise/rehabilitation into the treatment plan. The goals of chiropractic care include the restoration of function and prevention of injury in addition to back pain relief.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of Chiropractic Care ?
Spinal manipulation and chiropractic care is generally considered a safe, effective treatment for acute low back pain, the type of sudden injury that results from moving furniture or getting tackled. Acute back pain, which is more common than chronic pain, lasts no more than six weeks and typically gets better on its own.
Research has also shown chiropractic to be helpful in treating neck pain and headaches. In addition, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia may respond to the moderate pressure used both by chiropractors and practitioners of deep tissue massage.
Studies have not confirmed the effectiveness of prolotherapy or sclerotherapy for pain relief, used by some chiropractors, osteopaths, and medical doctors, to treat chronic back pain, the type of pain that may come on suddenly or gradually and lasts more than three months. The therapy involves injections such as sugar water or anesthetic in hopes of strengthening the ligaments in the back.
People who have osteoporosis, spinal cord compression, or inflammatory arthritis, or who take blood-thinning medications should not undergo spinal manipulation. In addition, patients with a history of cancer should first obtain clearance from their medical doctor before undergoing spinal manipulation.
All treatment is based on an accurate diagnosis of your back pain. The chiropractor should be well informed regarding your medical history, including ongoing medical conditions, current medications, traumatic/surgical history, and lifestyle factors.
Natural Pain Relief through Nutrition
There has been much interest over the last twenty years or so in pain management and health restoration through the use of vitamin supplementation and herbal remedies. These alternatives may be used because as natural pain relief methodology there is less side effects than with traditional medication.
Over the counter remedies like aspirin and ibuprofen work by blocking the enzymes that trigger both pain and swelling, whereas herbal medicines and vitamins may be rooting out and dealing with the causes of the pain, and work toward a healing process.
Here’s a rundown of the chronic pain supplements that our experts thought were most important. Natural alternatives to NSAIDs include turmeric, green tea, ginger, rosemary, cat’s claw, devil’s claw, and willow bark. (Aspirin is made from willow bark.)
A surprising natural pain relief alternative is fish oil. “Fish oil is the clean-up hitter of supplements,” says David P. Rakel, MD, founder and director of the University of Wisconsin’s Integrative Medicine Program in Madison. There’s strong evidence that it helps with many conditions, ranging from cardiovascular problems to depression to asthma.
A new movie detailing the evolution of our species (“Origins”) claims that living close to the ocean and eating fish is the main reason our brains evolved as rapidly and effectively as it has. Fish oils are essential to our well being.
Fish oil can also ease the inflammation and pain caused by many chronic conditions. The dose used in the most convincing research is 2 to 4 grams of DHA + EPA daily (read labels carefully!). Although beneficial omega-3 fatty acids are available from other sources, experts say that fish oil has the best evidence of effectiveness.
Some doctors recommend omega-3s to everybody, including those with chronic pain. They says that it helps with headaches, back pain, some nerve pain, and autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. The pain relief you get from fish oil alone may not be as great as one would like, but one can boost the painkilling effects of fish oil by combining it with other pain supplements like turmeric or ginger. By testing combinations one can work out what works best for you.
A number of studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with increased levels of chronic pain.