My Approach to Chronic Pain Treatment
My different approach to chronic pain
I think the important fact that we are a brain, a mind and a body is often overlooked, possibly never taken into consideration when treating chronic pain. Generally, mind and body medicine means, that yes, I have a massage for my physical body and at the same time I go to a counsellor for my mind. With this philosophy we are still very much in the area of specialising and dividing the body of into separate pieces when it comes to our health and wellness.
Mind and Body Solutions for chronic pain
Whereas at Natural Pain Solutions our ethos or our belief system is throughout your time with us you will get treatment that will consider you as a whole person, a whole being whether we are treating your feet, your painful shoulders, or your head, all your thoughts and your feelings are integrated. Our premise is successful treatment for chronic pain in our view needs to integrate the whole person.
15 years experience of treating chronic pain
Clients will often discover Natural Pain Solutions after many of the medical options have shown little or no improvement in neither chronic pain levels nor the ability to return to a happy, energised and successful pain-free existence.
I believe a more integrative or generalist approach that I've developed and used over the past 15 years is a positive alternative for the relief and treatment of chronic pain.
Integrative approach to your pain
At natural pain solutions our integrative or generalist approach may include your pain story-really take a full history and time to explore the reasons why, the what, and how you have chronic pain.
Together you and I set some aims, directions that you'd like to achieve and make plans to return to normal life, including planning a pain-less future.
The use of a wide range of modalities that I practice as a natural pain therapies.
Extensive education and on-going training
Therapies I use include the integration of Educational Kinesiology, Naturopathy, Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, Brain Gym and Rhythmic Movement Training. In addition to these my integrative or generalist approach has developed over the past 15 years of listening and interaction with clients. Added to this my own pain experiences, and the effect on my life and my family. Plus, continuous study and training in a range of modalities including Pain Management courses at Edinburgh and Otago Universities.
We need a bridge between medical and natural medicine
Sometimes, the medical model nor the purely natural medicine model is not exactly correct. I believe we should be advocating a bridge between these two philosophies. I hope I’ve found my place somewhere in the middle. I am many things. I am a naturopath, a kinesiologist; I am a yoga teacher. I teach breath meditation and mindfulness.
Experience in online delivery of natural therapy
Because of my experience my background I have developed variety. In 2018, I created a 12-week online course comprised of mindfulness and medication techniques, positive thinking and body awareness, after running a pilot course with 14 people utilising email for communication. It used the delivery of supportive videos, audios together with training and education information. These variety of resources will be used in my chronic pain treatments.
Treating compensations not the cause of your pain
Over the past 15 years I’ve not stayed with one way of working, as each client who works with me teaches me something about their pain journey with medical chronic pain specialists in addition to physiotherapists, chiropractors. At times clients have used natural remedies or natural remedies such as massage or they tried herbal medicines. All of these treatments and experiences have to some extent brought you to my webpage as you are still looking for a way to reduce your pain.
Pain treatment viewed through a "Wide Angle Lens"
What I offer you is very much a generalist point of view. Yes, I have for many years specialised in treating chronic pain but my viewpoint, my lens is very wide from the natural therapies mentioned above to doing online study at Edinburgh University, and presently at Otago University studying pain management. This study of the medical methodology and philosophy helps me understand the pain journey that clients or patients have in the proceeding months or years before I meet them.
Introducing - CARE for those with chronic pain
I'd like to give you some background information before I fully explain my care principles.
Chronic pain is unlike other types of illness or disease such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome or diabetes that are present in our bodies. We have been diagnosed, measurements and blood tests have been taken, however often symptoms don't impact us every day, don't generally cause us to lose our jobs or have difficulty carrying out our daily employment or challenges looking after our family.
Therefore, we can be more accepting of high blood pressure and diabetes with many of us happy to take medication to "manage the disease". Although, if we wanted real change we could fully alter our behaviour, what we eat or perhaps exercised and moved a bit more.
As I said above, pain, persistent pain is different,
we feel pain,
we're tired, achy and frustrated after a day at work,
perhaps we can't sleep because we are in so much pain,
and then even if we do sleep as soon as we open our eyes we meet that pain again.
The pain even though we are given tools and advice on how to manage that pain,
just take a pill,
have an injection,
or even an operation,
replace parts of our body,
Nothing can guarantee that we will no longer feel pain.
Therefore returning to my philosophy of empowering people to use self-help techniques and practice self-care for themselves, I decided I needed to give you an explanation, or more fully explain my philosophy.
C - for Creative.
Creativity is important in pain management. Creativity is about thinking things out, finding new ideas and ways of doing things, which generally result from thinking, trying things out and most importantly - having a go!
The important part about creativity and creating your own ideas is generally you're not told exactly what to do. You may be given some guidance; you may have a very creative intuitive pain clinician. The person helping to manage your pain may be very creative with their ideas and have the ability to change and alter their protocols so they fit with you and are of benefit. Providing pain relief or at the very least distraction from your pain.
Think about how creative you can be. Remember, unlike the cardiovascular disease or diabetes I mentioned above its your pain, and you're in charge of how you react to that pain. One reaction may be to increase medication. As with high blood pressure the doctor may give you one, two or even three different medications simultaneously, until they're able to get your blood pressure within normal range. Then you can keep taking the pills to keep your blood pressure in what has been designated a normal range for healthy blood pressure. But as many people find, and all pain specialists realise, medication is no longer the panacea answer to stop pain.
I hope you'll enjoy some of my different and creative ideas I offer when we get together or creative ideas you can use at home. Even though they may seem usual - or shall I say creative - like contralateral, passive or active movements done on a massage table or lying on the floor, or on a firm bed.
A - for Action.
Following on from the creativity above, you may think, develop ideas and distractions, and activities that really make you feel good. You may have found some practitioners that will listen to you talk, giving you the opportunity to discuss your creative ideas and help you put these into action.
Now the very important thing about action, as I regularly tell my clients, is that everybody is different. One particular remedy or technique may virtually eliminate someone's pain. When you hear this it gives you great hope that, "hey, I can get rid of my pain". However, you try this marvellous, promising technique and don't notice any change. Hummmm, not fair?
At the same time, if we consider the notion of creativity perhaps you need to think or consider what you are hoping for, was it realistic or do you need to make some changes and create an idea, or a methodology that is unique to you.
For example, you have an aching, painful back there are actions you can take, we might reach for a pain-killer, though they often don't work, have unwanted side-effects and I now find more clients prefer not to take medication. But there is another option, take action by doing some self-care for your back.
R - for Responsibility.
This is another point where pain is different from the majority of illnesses and diseases and one of the important aspects, or the most important aspect here at Natural Pain Solutions is you.
It is your pain.
It is your choices.
It is your plans.
It is your wishes and goals.
Self-responsibility is intrinsic, that is part of the articles, the techniques, the ideas and I hope my own creativity within Natural Pain Solutions. Your co-operation and the energy that you bring to make changes is the key to the future.
To enable self-responsibility what I suggest you do is to ask questions about pain treatments
Medication for pain relief.
How long will it take to work?
Will it make any difference?
Will it reduce my pain?
And most important of all,
What are the side effects?
Both short-term and in the long term.
Injections for pain relief. (this includes such things as dry needling, acupuncture etc)
Needless to say we need the same questions as above.
Perhaps you also need to know,
Will treatment be painful?
How long will it last?
Will I need some more injections?
Surgery for pain relief.
Surgery is often offered when nothing else has worked, by that I mean nothing else has provided complete pain relief. But as surgery is a one-way door it is more important than ever to ask the questions we asked for pain medication and for pain relief injections.
It has to be remembered that this final option can change your physical body so you come out of the operation different from how you went into the operation.
"The very best advice is to ask questions, more questions and then think about being creative and taking action and responsibility to ask more questions and ensure that you get an explanation that you can understand."
E - for Experiential
After saying above make sure you understand the technical jargon, I introduce the word experiential? What I mean by this is experiential learning.
As we have experiences
Whatever we do.
Whatever we say.
Whatever we hear.
Whatever we feel.
Whatever we think.
We may have reasons why we have developed pain that cannot be stopped. Considering our experiences, learning from them - such as seeing our parents living with chronic pain.
Fear and anxiety about the pain we experience on a daily basis can create a vicious circle. The more anxious we become worrying about our future the worse our pain becomes and its impact increases.
We are different from before we had that experience.
We have learnt something new.
Therefore the final part of my CARE package, or philosophy is that whatever you experience as you go through your pain journey it's wise to notice what's happening in both, what is done to you and also what you can do for yourself.
Your pain journey or your experience with pain is just that - it's yours. As with any journey you can decide what you want to do and the direction you want to take. Communicating with others about your experience is important, that is how practitioners, doctors and clinicians learn more about chronic pain and can inform the next patient or client they support.
Finally, I like to think some of the words above have given you cause for thought and at the same time I hope you find the information on my website Natural Pain Solutions both informative and useful.
It must also be remembered that I do not diagnose your pain issues and it’s important to have fully explored diagnosis, medical tests due to the importance of a diagnosis or a full medical exploration to rule out any serious pathology.