Are you in pain?
And I don’t just mean the pain after banging your shin on the corner of the coffee table or thumping your head on the cupboard door or after exerting yourself at the gym.
I’m talking about chronic pain.
If you’ve been dealing with chronic pain, it may be difficult for you to live your day-to-day life.
But there are naturopathic solutions available.
Contact us at the Mindful Healing Clinic to find out more.
But first, let’s talk about what chronic pain is.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is any type of pain that consistently affects your body for an extended period of time.
The vaguest definition is any pain that exists longer than the expected healing period.
Opinions differ on the length of time required to consider a pain chronic.
Some believe 3-6 months is the marker, with shorter but persistent pain being considered acute.
Others qualify anything less than 12 months of consistent pain as subacute pain and only after the 1-year mark is it deemed chronic.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
There are a number of different causes of chronic pain and they can vary widely.
Some of them include:
• Nerve damage
• Muscle or joint damage (musculoskeletal pain)
• Certain types of arthritis
• Cancer pain
• Post traumatic injury
These are just some of the ways chronic pain can begin.
Symptoms Of Chronic Pain
There are so many different causes and origins of chronic pain that symptoms can vary widely.
It is often divided into two categories of pain called nociceptive and neuropathic.
Nociceptive Chronic Pain
Nociceptive pain is a side effect of inflamed or damaged tissue that reacts with pain sensors called nociceptors.
There are two sides to this categorization, the first being superficial which is an activation of nociceptors in the skin or external tissues.
The second is deep somatic pain which exists in internal parts of our body and flares up when nociceptors are activated in our ligaments, tendons, bones, muscles, etc.
A further distinction of the deep somatic category is visceral pain, which happens within your organs (viscera).
Nociceptor pain is often distinguished as a dull throbbing and difficulty locating the origin point due to pain in the surrounding areas.
Neuropathic Chronic Pain
Neuropathic pain is also split into specific distinctions.
The first is central pain, meaning it originates in the brain or spinal cord.
The next is peripheral pain, which exists in further parts or our nervous system.
This pain is commonly categorized by sensations of burning, tingling, stabbing, or pins and needles.
Natural Solutions For Chronic Pain
There are many natural solutions that can be recommended by The Mindful Healing Clinic.
Here we will list just a few options to begin your search for solutions to chronic pain.
Acupuncture is a type of treatment that involves triggering certain points in the body using small needles.
It originated in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is now becoming a widespread accompaniment to western treatments.
It has been known to work for fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and back & sports injuries.
Acupuncture may be useful for a number of other conditions as well.
For more on acupuncture, read our previous article on the subject.
2. Capsaicin Topical Cream
Capsaicin is the substance within chili peppers that gives them their fiery sensation.
You might not think putting spicy stuff right onto your skin sounds like the best idea, but believe it or not it can help relieve chronic pain.
It comes in cream, gel, or patch form, and applying it directly to the spot where it hurts causes a soothing sensation.
This can be particularly helpful with back pain or pain caused by arthritis.
Be careful, though! Just like adding chili peppers to your meal, moderation is key.
Too much capsaicin can irritate your skin.
Capsaicin has other uses too, including as a supplement to help with diarrhea and intestinal cramps.
But that’s a subject for another article.
3. A Yoga Practice
Yoga is a form of exercise that stretches the muscles in the body with particular moves, an emphasis on focused breathing, and an awareness of the connection between mind and body.
There’s evidence that regular exercise helps with chronic pain, but if you’re in pain you may feel like avoiding physical exertion is best for you.
This is why yoga is so helpful – it’s one of the gentlest ways to exercise, helping you stretch your limbs and ligaments without pushing yourself harder than you’re comfortable with.
Sufferers of chronic pain often experienced heightened depression, anxiety, and impaired cognitive function as well.
Yoga has been shown to improve all three of these side effects.
A 2013 study by Cramer et. al found that patients who were given a yoga routine experienced a significant reduction in the intensity of their neck pain.
So if you’re experiencing chronic pain, yoga may be the way to go.
There are many different variations of meditation such as guided imagery, attempting to achieve mental clarity and emotional calm, using aides like prayer beads, or different types of religious and spiritual practices.
Like yoga, the exploration of the connection between mind and body has been shown to improve things that stem from chronic pain like depression, anxiety, and cognitive function.
It has been said to assist with conditions like headaches, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia.
5. Eat Turmeric
Turmeric is a root that is part of the ginger family.
You’ll find it used commonly in Indian cooking – it’s what gives curry its yellow colour.
It’s also what gives mustard its yellow colour.
In fact, it gives just about everything it touches – your clothes, your hands, your cooking utensils – a yellow colour, so be mindful of that.
Anyway, you can find turmeric in natural root form (which looks a lot like ginger), powered spice form, as a supplement, or even a tea.
What gives turmeric its real potency though, from a health perspective, is its anti-inflammatory properties.
This is thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin.
Turmeric – and curcumin supplements – have been shown to help with a wide range of different health conditions, including depression, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and – you guessed it – chronic pain, particularly from arthritis.
We’ve written an article in the past about turmeric, too. Read that one for more information.
Contact The Mindful Healing Clinic
If you’re living with chronic pain, you don’t have to suffer through it alone.
There are treatment options available.
Contact me, Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, here at the Mindful Healing Clinic, and let’s talk.
If you’re new to naturopathic medicine, I offer FREE 15-minute introductory health consultations to all first-time patients.
During that session, you’ll get a chance to sit down with me and talk about your health concerns.
I’ll answer all your questions about your health, and about naturopathic medicine in general, and you’ll walk away with a better understanding of how you may deal with your chronic pain.
Contact the Mindful Healing Clinic to book your FREE 15-minute health consultation today.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.