Feeling ‘well’ is essential to a healthy and happy life and as we strive to improve our own wellbeing, one of the most challenging aspects we come across is managing pain. This is something we face more as we age, but chronic pain affects people of all ages and stages, and to varying degrees, all people. Part of being human is, in fact, dealing with pain and suffering. It must be embraced and accepted so that we can use the tools available to us to alleviate it where possible and harness our body’s innate ability to heal and repair itself. With the myriad of pharmaceutical options for ‘pain relief’ constantly pushed at us via the media and modern medicine, it is tempting to just ‘pop a pill’ and find temporary relief. But this solution is rarely lasting and there is a wide range of additional and alternative techniques we can use to generate ongoing pain relief and improve the body’s overall capacity for dealing with pain and over time, reducing or eliminating it completely.
The science of ‘pain’ is complex and depending on age, body type, medical history and a host of other factors, some of us will live with a high degree of pain whereas others seem to suffer less. The basics of pain, however, are centred around the nervous system – the brain and spinal cord largely determine when, why and how we experience pain. Say if we cut our finger, the peripheral nervous system sends messages via the spinal cord to the brain, to let us know that an injury has occurred. This information is vital, as without it we could end up with all manner of injuries (potentially life-threatening!) and have no appropriate response to cease the injurious activity or address whatever malady has befallen us! We actually need pain to some extent, and its function is essential to our survival. However, the case of a cut finger is what we call ‘acute pain’ which is short-lasting, and most of us looking to find long-term pain relief suffer from what is known as ‘chronic pain’ where the pain continues well after an initial injury, or as the result of disease or illness.
Whilst the experience of pain can make it seem like the body is fragile, it is also remarkably resilient and capable of healing when we apply the right remedies and techniques. Living a pain-free life is not a far-off-fantasy, but an achievable reality. By doing research and speaking to the right people, I am sure great improvements to your wellbeing are just around the corner!
If you have specific questions about any of the information in this piece, I’d love to hear from you!