From the Naturopathic Perspective
Traditional Chinese acupuncture and medical acupuncture (myofascial trigger point release) are very effective ways of treating chronic pain of various causes including low back pain, sciatica, frozen shoulder, tension headaches, migraines, tight muscles, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and various neuralgias.
Cupping therapy is another popular and effective strategy to eliminate pain from tension and is very helpful for sports injuries that result from chronic repetitive strains.
Chronic pain is something that unfortunately too many people suffer from. We see a lot of patients who are not able to uncover the reason for their pain, already having gone through the conventional medical system and coming away with few options. Oral pain medications are the treatment of choice by traditional medicine, which can leave someone dependent and suffering from not just pain, but the side effects from these drugs, including ulcers and kidney failure in many cases. We work with pharmacies to tailor medications as creams rather than by mouth. Patients love these compounded prescriptions because they can still benefit from the efficacy of the medicine, but not have to deal with unwanted side effects.
We also use injection therapies with natural anti-inflammatories and low dose anaesthetics to help relieve nerves of their constant firing patterns of pain receptors. Sometimes all it takes is re-patterning a nerve so that the body doesn’t perceive the pain.
Medicines like LDN Low Dose Naltrexone are great treatments to allow nerves to get into new habits of not being as sensitive or reactive to triggers that would normally cause pain responses. We use therapies like these and other novel treatments to help stop pain. In our practice we endeavour to find the best treatments for people in pain as well as unrooting the cause.
From the Chiropractic Perspective
Identifying the cause of chronic pain can be difficult, but chiropractic expertise in the assessment and diagnosis of MSK disorders can help pinpoint the origins of pain. Commonly, chronic pain can be caused by underlying conditions, such as spinal stenosis (narrowing in the spinal canal which may result in nerve compression), osteoarthritis (joint pain and inflammation) or inflammatory arthritis. Chiropractors are trained to assess and diagnose MSK conditions and suggest an individualized treatment plan, or referral as appropriate, that may include spinal manipulation or mobilization, traction and Laser therapy to alleviate pain, as well as lifestyle counselling and exercises to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine.
Other common forms of chronic or recurrent pain can manifest in the form of headaches. In fact, headaches can be debilitating and considered chronic if you experience three in a row. Headaches can be caused by numerous factors including nutritional or environmental triggers, referred from the cervical spine or associated musculature, or even stress. Chiropractors, as part of your healthcare team, can assess and help identify potential sources of pain. Depending on the exam findings, chiropractic treatment can address underlying causes such as joint dysfunction and muscular tension.
It is not uncommon for those suffering from a chronic condition to also suffer from other comorbid conditions. The relationship between pain and insomnia, depression or mood disorders is not well understood; however, co-management from a team of healthcare providers may be needed to better address the needs of the patient.
The good news for chronic pain sufferers is that there is care available. Conservative care, including chiropractic, can help to alleviate acute and chronic symptoms as well as correct underlying mechanical dysfunctions and recommend exercises to keep the body moving.
Such interventions are also valuable for other MSK-pain sufferers. A 2012 U.S. study has revealed that patients receiving chiropractic treatment combined with exercise for chronic neck pain were twice as likely to become pain-free than those receiving medication. The study followed 272 neck-pain patients for 12 weeks. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 91 to the spinal manipulation therapy group, 90 to the medication group and 91 to the home exercise group.
The results of the study are encouraging for chronic pain sufferers who prefer not to take medication to manage their pain:
32% of those receiving only chiropractic care became pain-free
30% of those exercising became pain-free
13% of those treated with medication for chronic pain became pain-free
Chiropractic care as part of the healthcare team can play an important role in the assessment and management of chronic pain related to MSK conditions. More and more studies are providing evidence of effective relief of chronic pain through chiropractic treatment.