Managing Pain With Alternative Therapies

It is estimated that more than twenty percent of adults in the United States live with chronic pain. If you experience chronic pain in recovery, you may need alternatives to prescriptions and traditional medical interventions to manage your pain. How do you know which option is right for you? There are an overwhelming number of options out there, so it can be helpful to be aware of these options.

Know Your Body, Know Yourself

You may well be aware that only you can inhabit the physical space of your body. You feel everything uniquely, experience different kinds of pain, and have a specific pain tolerance threshold. Recovery adds another dimension to the pain management process. It is important to be able to identify and describe the way you feel.

Whether you are feeling emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual pain, each experience you have is unique. The way you manage that pain must also be unique. Physical pain sometimes requires physical effort to resolve, and there are pain management strategies that do not involve prescription medications, which can be a danger to your sobriety. You know your body better than anyone, so you are the person best able to choose an alternative pain management path.

Acute Versus Chronic Pain

Knowing the kind of pain you are experiencing is crucial in determining how to manage it best. Not all pain is the same, so not all treatments should be the same. Pain can come in two general forms: acute and chronic.

Acute pain is what you may feel as the result of an injury, surgery, or other identifiable cause. Falling and scraping a knee is acute pain because the scrape will heal, and the pain will go away relatively quickly on its own. Acute pain rarely needs to be managed with prescription medication. A few aspirin or some ice may be all that is needed. 

Chronic pain is pain that lasts for longer than three months. While it may have a known cause like a disease or injury, the cause of chronic pain may also be unknown. When pain resists relief efforts, it can take a mental toll. This kind of pain can feel more serious and does not go away with time or “over-the-counter” pain management techniques. 

Finding Whole Body Wellness

As the saying goes, your body is a temple. If your body is like a grand building, it stands to reason that it requires a significant amount of upkeep. Buildings that stand the test of time need constant care, and your body does too.

When a wall in a building cracks or a pipe breaks, it must be repaired. Covering up a crack with a large picture frame or shutting off the water to a pipe will not fix the problem. The pipe must be repaired or replaced, and the wall must be filled with sealer and fixed or the drywall replaced. If not, the problems become less easily fixable.

Just like the building, your body needs to be fixed. Prescription drugs for pain management are a temporary solution. They do not fix the problem; they just hide it. Relieving pain requires fixing the root of the problem, often with targeted treatments like physical therapy, yoga, or meditation to bring your body and mind back to wellness.  

The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Pain Management

Physical therapists are trained to assess patients, curate a treatment plan, and facilitate rehabilitation. The goal is to improve strength, correct disabilities, increase mobility, and relieve pain. Using exercise and movement management, physical therapy targets the affected areas with specialized treatments. Physical therapists guide you through specialized movements designed for pain cessation and to aid in recovery from surgeries and injuries.

Physical therapy is one of the most effective remedies for chronic pain. Studies have shown that patients suffering from chronic pain saw more relief from their pain compared to study participants who did not receive physical therapy. Even a year after receiving physical therapy, patients who received the treatment reported continued relief from their chronic pain.

Yoga and Pain Relief

Yoga uses stretching and breathing exercises that can enhance mobility, decrease stress, and improve muscle movement. Yoga may also help you get more in tune with your body to discover what feels good and what brings relief.

By design, yoga can be a very effective tool in pain management. Because the stretching exercises can relieve muscle tension, many pain conditions and injuries involving the muscle structures can be relieved as a result of the practice. 

The Healing Power of Mindfulness and Meditation

While there have been few studies involving mindfulness and meditation in pain relief, it is widely known that these practices can help relieve stress, anxieties, feelings of sadness, loneliness, and depression. Mental struggles like these can increase tension and inflammation, which can cause or worsen pain. Like yoga, meditation can help relax the muscles which can have positive effects on muscle injuries and stressors.

Choosing a non-medication alternative for pain management can greatly improve your life. Knowing yourself better can have long-lasting and far-reaching benefits in your life that extend well beyond pain relief, improving your overall mind and body wellness.

Experiencing pain from injury or disease can be hard, especially if you are in recovery. Physical therapy can offer you a treatment plan designed by medical professionals to target your pain without prescription drugs. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness techniques are more ways for you to learn more about your body and improve your strength and agility, and to repair the causes of your pain. As a person in recovery, you already know that healing is more than just physical. Whole-body healing is a part of your emotional and spiritual journey, and you have already come so far. Now is the time to work toward total wellness of the body and mind. The caring professionals at NorthStar Transitions are here to help you and answer your questions about pain management solutions without prescriptions. Give us a call at (303) 558-6400 to find out more. 

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