Nerve pain, also referred to as neuropathic pain, is the body’s response to problems within the central and peripheral nervous system. Imagine the nervous system as a series of electrical connections that allow signals to travel from the brain to the body to tell it to perform its natural functions. If, at any point along the way, these signals are interrupted it can cause pain throughout the body.
There are many different types of nerve pain ranging from fibromyalgia to complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and each individual diagnosis needs to be approached and treated differently. However, there is some wisdom for all patients dealing with the effects of nerve pain to pursue some holistic treatments in conjunction to those recommended by their medical specialists.
Early in October the Inside Holistic Pain blog discussed several natural treatments for nerve pain that can be used by patients suffering from a variety of different conditions. Let’s recap what we discussed this month.
A holistic approach to treating pain involves acknowledging that the entire person, including mind, body, and spirit, needs to be treated as a whole to achieve the best results. Ignoring any of these aspects of our beings can result in an imbalance and longer term discomfort. In October, we discussed these holistic treatments that you can add to your daily routine to help alleviate nerve pain and bring balance and relief to your life.
In our first post for the series this October, we discussed the effects of medication on nerve pain and whether or not it was always the best treatment. Alternatives such as dietary supplements could also provide patients with long-term relief from pain.
- Vitamin D
Adding these as supplements or as part of a healthy diet can help in a variety of ways. Capsaicin, for instance, can be found in hot peppers and the compound can be used directly on the skin to alleviate pain caused by nerve damage. Turmeric, on the other hand, is a popular Indian spice used in curries which can not only has anti-inflammatory properties but is also a delicious addition to your diet.
Supplements do not appear to cause any unnecessary side effects in most patients. However, individuals may need to consider certain allergies or food intolerances before making a decision to add these to their diets. However, making healthier choices with food overall can improve health and wellness long term.
We followed this entry with a discussion of meditation and whether or not the practice could help individuals with chronic nerve pain. In the post we recounted the story of Sarah Kehoe, a young woman dealing with the long-term effects of nerve pain. After beginning a meditation practice Kehoe felt less pain overall but quickly learned that the need to continue the practice was essential. If she became stressed or skipped sessions the pain would seep back into her life. Patients with several forms of nerve pain can benefit from adding meditation into their daily lives.
Meditation is about being mindful. Some people find adding mantras such as “om” to the practice is helpful to stay focused. Otherwise it can be all about sitting comfortably and concentrating on steady, rhythmic breathing to be at peace with oneself. There are really no drawbacks to pursing a meditation practice so adding it to traditional therapies and treatments for nerve pain can be a great benefit.
Sarah Kehoe found that meditation was the best treatment for her pain especially after a failed surgery to correct the problem. Without wanting to pursue a second surgical procedure the benefits of meditation were especially helpful for her to feel whole again.
Another alternative healing method that has proven to be successful among many patients dealing with the effects of nerve pain is acupuncture. This ancient Chinese healing technique is becoming more and more popular in the United States. Trained acupuncturists use fine needles inserted into the skin to promote the movement of the body’s natural energy.
In our October post, we described some studies which demonstrated that acupuncture can be beneficial to individuals with nerve pain. Increasing blood flow to the areas of the body affected by the pain can stimulate healthy tissue to grow.
Acupuncture is also performed in a way that promotes relaxation of the body which can, in turn, help heal and rest painful nerves. There are also additional forms of acupuncture, including a version which uses tiny electrodes to send pulses through the needles into the body. This practice has been known to increase range of motion in patients suffering from chronic pain.
It is believed that because of the complex nature of most nerve pain conditions that the more holistic the approach to treatment the better for the individual patients. Like with meditation, there are few negative effects for pursing acupuncture so with the approval of pain specialists it may be a great option for many people.
Holistic treatments for pain can benefit anyone
Every month at Inside Holistic Pain, not only October, we want to ensure that our patients and readers understand that health and healing is about more than just treating the symptoms of the condition. With nerve pain the symptoms can vary so widely that treatments cannot fall within a one-size-fits-all category. Holistic health approaches, such as meditation, supplements, and acupuncture, can all work with multiple forms of traditional medicine to alleviate more symptoms and bring an overall balance back to an individual’s health profile.
Each month we strive to bring our readers the best information about holistic health practices and how they can help with specific chronic pain conditions. We perform research about the latest information on nerve pain and what practices can provide the best relief to individuals interested in pursuing these forms of treatment to supplement their current regimen. It is important to us that we are able to be a resource for our readers and continue to share the most up-to-date research and information available on holistic health issues.
What are you glad you learned more about in October?
Image by James Dean via Flickr