The holistic approach to treatment of pain arising from an injury focuses on 1) relieving pain and inflammation without harming the body and 2) promoting the body’s healing response so that the area of injury is healed as quickly and completely as possible. Let’s look at these two strategies in detail so that you understand what might be your best approach to healing a chronic pain problem.
1) Relieving pain and inflammation without harming the body.
There are a number of effective ways to relieve pain and inflammation. Some of the treatments used in the clinic that relieve pain are chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, cold laser therapy, massage, ice and hot packs and electrical muscle stimulation. Natural anti-inflammatory herbs can work as well as pain relieving drugs and don’t have the dangerous side effects that many drugs do. Different combinations of herbs can be used to target different types of pain or sources of pain. Pain sources could be from an injury, due to degenerative arthritis in a joint, from an auto-immune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, from a non-inflammatory condition such as fibromyalgia, or due to nerve pain. Each of these will respond better to certain herbs and nutrients.
2) Promoting the body’s healing response.
The same remedies which alleviate pain and inflammation also support the body’s healing response. But in this day and age of stress and fast food, many people benefit from additional strategies to promote the body’s overall healing response. In my 24 years in clinical practice (1986 to present) I have seen a deterioration in people’s healing response–how well their bodies are able to heal injuries. When someone has suffered an injury, as in an automobile accident, the body’s healing response is called into action. When there is a poor healing response the injuries heal slowly and pain is prolonged. When there is an optimal healing response the injuries heal more quickly and the pain disappears more quickly.
The key components of promoting the body’s healing response (circa 2010) are:
1. Optimal nutrition (healthy diet with ideal levels of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, omega-3 fats)
2. Detoxification (tissue cleansing to relieve the toxic burden in our food and environment)
3. Stress management (many people are unaware of their stress and its impact on their health).
4. Healthy sleep (often associated with high levels of stress, less than optimal sleep dramatically cripples the body’s ability to heal itself).