Over 100 million people in the USA suffer from pain daily. Research by Pfizer Australia reveals the alarming extent of chronic pain in modern society. Overall, 29% of Australians say they experience chronic pain. Women (31%) are more likely to experience chronic pain than men (26%).
What is Chronic Pain?
According to Coralie Wales, President of Chronic Pain Australia, “Chronic Pain is defined as pain that extends beyond the expected healing time of an injury, or can accompany chronic illnesses such as arthritis or lupus.” The word “chronic” relates to duration rather than the quality of the experience. Chronic pain is regarded as long term pain rather than the extreme pain associated with an acute injury which is generally short term.
Among those Australians who experience chronic pain, only 16% are satisfied with how their pain is being managed. Conventional treatment can cause serious side effects such as intestinal bleeding, heart disease, liver and kidney failure, addiction or dependence and cancer.
I suffer from arthritis and chronic pain in the upper back and neck. Some days I’m able to function normally with low level pain and other days I cannot focus or be enthusiastic about anything due to the severity of the pain. My goal is to manage the pain holistically as best I can and I’ve been actively researching and experimenting with alternative therapies now for many years.
Every person has a different issue or pain related cause, therefore, what works for one may not work for another. The suggestions, herbs and methods below are all safe and worth trying. Some or all may make a minimal difference, whereas others may make a dramatic difference. Try these suggestions for at least 2 months and decide for yourself what works and what doesn’t. Pain is a tough one, especially when related to arthritis and there maybe no magic bullets or cures that work for everyone. For me, even noticeable improvements are a plus.
Here are my suggestions that I live by for minimizing pain.
Food plays a significant roll in the inflammatory responses in the body. Inflammation is generally the cause of most chronic pain.
- Drink lots of alkaline and/or filtered water.
- Eat alkaline foods and avoid acidic foods as much as possible (google alkaline/acid foods).
- Best anti-inflammatory food and proteins for vegetarians: nuts, sesame & hemp seeds, lentils, quinoa, beans, spinach, kale, pumpkin/squash, blue berries. The darker the food…the higher antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
- Eat all organic fruit and veggies and grow whatever you can. I love kale and find it one of the most wholesome vegetables and easy to grow. I recommend growing Cos lettuce as it is more nutritious than other types and does not go to seed quickly. Eat lots of raw food…heaps of salads especially in the summer.
- Juicing: #1 alkalizer…celery along with carrot, beets, ginger, cherry. Take juice of a half a lemon in warm water before each meal and before bed (alkalizing). Some believe juicing and raw food is the answer to all health issues.
- I make a protein, green smoothie most mornings and this is packed with goodies like super greens, berries for immune, banana, other in-season fruits, spirulina, chia seeds and hemp protein and oil.
- Avoid all processed foods.
- Eat organic meat and chicken wherever possible and fresh (mercury free) fish. Wild caught salmon is ideal.
- AVOID all sugar and food containing sugar. Minimize honey, agave and sugarary fruits.
- Avoid salt and preservatives.
- Avoid wheat, gluten and soy…especially GMO.
- Avoid dairy (eggs are OK and occasionally I eat some sheep yogurt and sheep hard cheese).
- Limit alcohol and avoid tobacco.
- Avoid all refined, hydrogenated vegetable oils. Use rice bran oil, grape seed oil or coconut oil for cooking and olive oil for salads, etc.
- Coconut yogurt and icecream is great if it doesn’t have sugar.
Supplements and Herbs
- MSM, Glucosamine, Chondroitin capsules (fairly high doses 2X a day)
- Higher than normal dosages of Fish or Krill oil
- Evening Primrose oil caps
- Green Tea
- Alfafa Tea
- Tulsi Tea
- Turmeric (#1 wonder herb) (I take Turmeric daily and add to food)
- Boswellia serrate (Ayurvedic herb)
- Bay Laurel oil
- White Willow (natural aspirin)
- Ginger (lots)
- Devil’s Claw
- Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma)…a strong adaptogenic herb that strengthens the immune system and normalises body functions). Reishi can be simmered for about 20 minutes and made into a tea or add powdered Reishi to smoothies.
- Pomegranate and cherry juice
I make an immune tea every night for my family. It contains fresh, easy to grow herbs out of my garden: tulsi (Holy Basil), peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, nettle and I add a teaspoon of Healing Concepts Immuni-Tea with Elderberry, Astragalus, Echinacea, Ginseng and Withania. It’s a very powerful brew for the body and immune. It is important to have a strong immune system to manage pain…and we all look forward to it and love it.
I’ve found some Chinese herbal patches called “Extra Strength Power Patches” or Die Da Feng Shi Gao Plaster. I swear by these to relieve…often eliminate pain in a specific area. When I can’t walk because of arthritis foot pain, I stick on one of these patches and instantly I’m walking again. And…they are not expensive.
Research has found that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for arthritis and chronic pain. Here are my recommendations:
- Yoga: Stretch and relax the body with yoga. I do at least half an hour each morning. These are specific movements for the joints. I’m a qualified yoga teacher in the Satyananda tradition and I’d be happy to email the joint postures to you. See my contact details below.
- Pilates: Strengthens the core muscles. Not long ago, walking any distance was a major issue for me until I started Pilates. I’ve been doing it for over a year now and I can now walk 2-4 km. This has changed my life!
- Walking: I bought a dog so that I would “have” to walk daily. It has worked! Walking is wonderful for pain.
- Swimming or Aqua Aerobics: The water buoyancy allows you to perform exercises you may find a lot more difficult and painful to do in a gym and the resistance it provides makes it easier to tone muscles. Swimming and Aqua aerobics has the advantage of providing cardiovascular workout similar to the gym while improving muscle tone.
- Stationary Bike: If too much physical exercise is a problem, try a stationary exercise bike and peddle for at least 20 minutes 3-5 times a week. This exercise is also cardiovascular. I rented a stationary bike from my local Chemist for $30 a month.
Physical Manipulation & Therapy
- Massage: I personally recommend a massage either weekly or bi-weekly.
- Osteopath, Physiotherapy, Bowen, etc.: Occasionally I’m in more pain than usual and I go to my trusty Osteopath or Physio for some external relief.
- Acupuncture: Recommended to keep the energy flowing in the body. I’ve found this generally works really well for pain.
- Naturopath or Herbalist: I recommend talking to a Naturopath or Herbalist to make sure the herbs above are right for you. Herbs can be strong medicine and some may interact negatively especially if you are taking any other medications.
For more information on many of the herbs mentioned check out my book/card set, Nature’s Creation – Knowledge & Guidance through Healing Plants on www.naturescreation.biz. The book is available now in ebook form through Amazon https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00HARXTN6. Email: email@example.com