The Importance of Stress Reduction In Any Pain Management Program
Any effective pain management program will highlight the importance of stress reduction and the inclusion of relaxation techniques. Chronic pain can cause chronic stress and chronic stress can be a major cause of chronic pain. Long-term stress is widely known to cause muscle tension, inflammation and a reduction of natural pain-relieving endorphins. So managing your stress will often help reduce your level of pain.
According to pain management expert Dr. Stanos “The brain is always trying to inhibit pain signals. But if you’re stressed, simply put, the brain’s ability to filter these pain signals is affected in a bad way and pain can be increased.”…”Because pain [is regulated by] the nervous system, the brain is a key player in how we perceive pain,” …
Pain Management With Relaxation Techniques
Muscle relaxation techniques are highly effective at reducing muscle tension and inflammation. These are some of the most important basics I used to teach students in my certificated relaxation therapy training. Relaxation Techniques are very effective at helping reduce the chronic pain and chronic stress cycle. They are also extremely helpful in the treatment of chronic anxiety and as a support aid for depression.
Muscle relaxation techniques are best used when resting or going to sleep, especially at first.
They should be practised at least daily for at least a minimum of 30 days but my recommendation would be more like 60 days.
But if you have chronic long-term pain or a specific long-term health condition you should make muscle relaxation techniques part of your daily routine.
You should aim to do a muscle relaxation technique during the day and at night if possible.
Believe me the reduction in pain can be incredible and even better a dramtic improvement in the quality of your sleep.
Cautions for those with disc problems and spinal injuries:
Muscle relaxation techniques tend to be generally safe.
But for those with serious spinal problems or slipped discs you may not be able to do PMR fully. Autogenic and body scan techniques that don’t involve tightening the muscles are much gentler and safer.
But it isn’t just relaxation techniques you should be including in your life.
Learning how to just be is equally important. Learning how to meditate will help you naturally quieten the mind which relaxes the body and emotions. Relaxing hobbies are also fun and therapeutic and encourage more balance into your weekly routine.
Pain Management Involves Reducing Major Stressors
Part of any pain management course includes things that increase stress resilience and those that reduce pain. If we look at our body’s physiological response to the emotional and mental challenges of life. We see how much our bodies physical reaction and posture holds our emotional pain. In times of trauma or fear we often take on an imprint into our cellular memory. We hold the trauma within the body cells and energetic field. So it is important we face and take action around our life’s stressors.
When we talk about modern day stressors, we are usually talking about chronic stressors.
Not real life physically threatening situations that do require us to “fight or flight”.
Modern day stress tends to be those things that cause us anxiety or worry on a daily or weekly basis. Things like bills, workplace stress, relationships, children… But it is not the actual situation we are stressing about it is our belief or view and attachment to the situation. It is FEAR and resistance.
So what do you believe about that stressor, what is your biggest fears around this situation?
The most effective ways to deal with our biggest stressors is to take action, change your view of your perception of the stressor or learn how to be in the moment and stop ruminating about it. Our view around the stressor and view about the pain can increase or reduce the stress and pain. The reason Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is used at times to help those with long-term stress and chronic pain.
Most chronic stress is caused by worrying about what may or may not happen or going over what has already happened. When you let go of your biggest stressors you help bring your mind, body and emotions back into balance. When it is in balance it can start healing and repairing the body more effectively. Long-term stress causes dis-ease and pain.
Pain Management For Sleep
One of the biggest challenges with chronic pain is getting deep quality sleep. And just like the chronic pain and chronic stress cycle, it can be a vicious cycle. Chronic pain can make it difficult to get good quality sleep. Lack of sleep, fatigue, and exhaustion increases pain. But again like mentioned above muscle relaxation techniques are a key part of sleep programs. It is a key component of my Sleep Therapy Program which includes tools and techniques that will improve sleep and can help reduce pain.
Pain Management With Holistic Aids
We are so lucky today to have access to so many different types of therapeutic approaches, natural alternatives that can help in pain management.
For structural and muscle problems there are osteopaths, physiotherapists, body workers, rolfing…my favorite is Bowen. In many ways, it is extremely gentle but very effective especially for those with complex or more serious conditions.
We also have access to homeopathy, herbalism and essential oils. Lavender is an easily accessible aromatherapy oil that tends to be extremely versatile and safe for most conditions. It is both relaxing and can help reduce inflammation and bruising.
There is also a wide range of herbal tinctures that can help reduce inflammation, I suffer from rare neurological challenges, which include injury and trauma to some nerves. I find lemon balm as a herbal tincture or as a herbal tea useful in nerve pain reduction.
Also ensuring you don’t consume processed foods that increase inflammation such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, and fatty foods
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