What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is when you feel pain in the body for more than three to six months. It can be anything from Arthritis, Cancer, Nerve pain, Back pain, and Fibromyalgia. These conditions can cause stress and can usually show up in the body as tense muscles, limited ability to move, lack of energy, and decreased appetite. It can also have emotional effects that lead to depression and anxiety, anger, and fear of re-injury or increased pain and injury.
All of these factors contribute to not doing certain things or activities you may have once enjoyed. Feeling pain can cause you to seek medication for relief. If the pain is constant, you may become dependent on drugs to make you feel better. Increased dependency on drugs can lead to addictions. We have seen an Opioid epidemic with increased addictions and deaths from overuse of pain medication.
The bottom line is that medication is only a band-aid for most cases and doesn’t address underlying needs or the root of the issue. So the pain cycle is going to continue. Working with pain is tricky because much of it can be mental and physical. The brain processes pain as a danger to the body. The body will go into fight or flight mode or what’s called the sympathetic nervous system. When the SNS is activated, the body has no way to rest and recover. We can only start to heal when the body can switch to rest and restore mode or the parasympathetic nervous system.
Mind and body modalities such as Yoga have proven to improve symptoms of chronic pain. Tools such as different breathing techniques and meditation help to calm the mind. The postures and movements help the body release tension and increase mobility and strength.
Having the ability to have a better quality of life and getting out of the pain cycle is crucial for anyone who suffers from chronic pain. Holistic remedies are the next big thing in the medical world in the fight against the opioid epidemic.