Chronic pain does not have to keep you back from staying active, working towards your health goals, or simply enjoying life. These 7 noninvasive treatment options will help you reduce swelling and discomfort while improving your body's alignment for better control over inflammation.
1) Hot/Cold Compress
One of the top "Go-To" pain relievers for athletes when it comes to sore muscles is a basic ice pack that numbs the pain and provides quick relief. The problem? Ice melts and cannot be used repeatedly. Luckily, with some help from a few portable cold packs that can be thrown into any cooler for quick use anytime anywhere, that problem is solved. Easy to apply and noninvasive, these packs are essential for anyone combatting chronic pain.
As an added benefit, the hot/cold compress can also be heated in the microwave for a relaxing warming effect that releases tension, increases blood flow, and promotes faster healing. Apply a hot compress to feel warm soothing relief as tissues like muscles and ligaments are softened and key nutrients are carried in the increased blood supply to the affected area to aid in the healing process.
2) TENS Machine
A TENS machine provides a mild and noninvasive electrical current that temporarily overrides your body's natural response to pain. In other words, the electrical signals your nerves send to your brain and spinal cord are disrupted resulting in immediate relief. The goal of using a TENS device is to allow your body the opportunity to release tension thereby kick-starting the healing process without the use of pharmaceuticals.
A word of caution - ask your physician before using the device close to an open wound, infection, or lesion. Furthermore, this device should not be used to relieve pain on the head, throat, backbone, or chest. Before beginning a new treatment involving electrical pulses that may interfere with your body's natural response to pain, it is important to contact your primary care physician for any warnings or suggestions related to your medical care and pain management plan.
3) Musculoskeletal System Care
Did you know a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) can help your bones align, your muscles relax, and your tension melt away? Chronic pain is another great reason to seek out a DO to serve as your primary care physician. In addition to treating your body as a whole to find the source of your pain as opposed to treating the symptoms, your DO will factor in the impact of your lifestyle and environment on your health as well as injuries and your medical history. Then, your DO will discuss the most effective treatment options available, which will include natural and noninvasive pain management solutions whenever possible.
In addition to musculoskeletal system care techniques for alignment and overall health, the art of massage is a popular pain relief solution that can incorporate a wide range of techniques. Considered to be one of the most powerful and effective tension reducers, massage can release buildup in the muscles and produce endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, which work together naturally to produce a happier healthier you.
For best results, ask your DO about coupling your musculoskeletal system care plan and physical therapy or some light weight training with your massage treatment plan. Also, plan on scheduling two to three appointments per week within the first few months of trying this form of therapy. Eventually, you should notice less pain and soreness that require fewer treatments as your body learns to adjust to this healthier and more relaxed state.
5) Acupuncture and Acupressure
If it's a targeted location in your body that is causing your chronic pain, acupuncture or acupressure may be something to explore when forming a treatment plan. Acupressure is the art of applying pressure at specific points throughout the body in order to release the tension and increase the blood flow in a more directed manner than massage. Similar to acupressure, acupuncture targets direct points in the body. However, needles are used in place of fingers. These small super thin needles are inserted into the body's different systems or connective tissue to initiate or enhance the body's natural healing response while endorphins provide comfort.
6) Dry Needling
Similar to acupuncture, dry needling uses small needles that are designed for insertion into a particular area of the body where there is tension or concentrated pain. That said, there are some differences. Acupuncture consists of placing needles in very precise pressure point locations in an effort to increase blood flow and reset the body's system. Dry needling is used to release muscular tension and pain.
7) Cryogenic Therapy
If you are not a needle or massage fan and you don't mind the cold, cryogenic therapy is another noninvasive treatment option to discuss with your primary care physician. Cryogenic therapy treatment centers use near-freezing temperatures to numb the pain in either a specific location or throughout the body with a whole-body immersion experience. As with a cold compress, cryogenic therapy treatment centers suggest this form of therapy provides relief from arthritis, muscle soreness, and certain skin conditions.
Therefore, if you are looking for ways to manage your chronic pain while avoiding the use of pharmaceuticals or invasive procedures, a blend of these seven options could be the answer to helping you feel better and stay active. For residents in or near the Lake Wales area, be sure to ask Dr. Navarro at Navarro Medical which pain management route is best for your symptoms, health history, and budgetary concerns by calling (863) 949-6541.