Pain Is An Extremely Common Problem
One in 5 Australians aged 45 and over are living with persistent, ongoing pain. This pain is often disabling and stressful, leading to an inability to work and enjoy life to their potential.
All of us have experienced pain at some point in our lives, it’s a part of being human, living and learning. Only when the severity of pain becomes ongoing or unbearable, it becomes a real problem and we begin to focus more on it. Pain may range from distracting to ongoing and debilitating in nature. No-one likes having pain and the impact can be devastating if not dealt with in an appropriate manner.
How People Respond To Pain Matters!
When it comes to pain, people respond in various ways-some are highly sensitive to the minute details and others are oblivious or ‘push on’ until an event comes along that ‘breaks the camel’s back’. We see people present to our clinic with different behaviours:
Fast Action Takers
People who act quickly when injured or pain develops and reach out to healthcare professionals like us for assistance. This group consists of highly sensitive types and also past clients of ours-they have been down the path of pain before, know how bad it can get and are also keen to get back to their ideal lifestyle ASAP.
Fast action takers:
- Are easier to diagnose and provide a prognosis for recovery
- Respond faster and more positively to treatment
- Require less treatment frequency and duration
- Are far less likely to develop chronic pain with associated healthcare complications
- Get back to their ideal lifestyle with a higher quality of life ASAP
Slow Action Takers
These are the people who hope that the pain will get better on it’s own with a bit of rest and what they have been currently doing. Sometimes these people have been taking action to treat the pain themselves or by seeking help from healthcare professionals but haven’t found the right fit for their situation yet and persist with this non-productive approach even when they aren’t seeing progress.
Unless both the symptoms and underlying factors are addressed appropriately, we know that time and time again, pain gets worse over time.
Slow actions takers typically:
- Present with multiple healthcare complaints which have developed in relation to each other, taking prescribed medication which means that it is more difficult to diagnose exactly what is causing symptoms and clearly advise prognosis
- Take longer to respond to treatment
- Need more treatment frequency and duration to get back on track
- Are much more likely to develop chronic pain and associated healthcare complications
- Reach out for help when they can’t handle the pain anymore-they are debilitated by pain which leads to an inability to work to potential, sleep soundly throughout the night, are constantly tired, emotionally stressed and anxious, typically develop headaches or digestive issues and feel like nothing is getting better.
- Responds better when they start to take action and engage in effective treatments that a healthcare professional can provide.
Both of these groups ultimately want to get back to their former lifestyle-whether it be enjoying working to their full potential, having the headspace to enjoy an active social life or relationship with their wife/husband/family or getting back to their sporting hobbies. Taking appropriate action is essential to resolve pain and get back on track.
Types Of Pain That We Treat
Through in-depth diagnosis of symptoms and underlying causative factors and utilising evidence based treatment methods, we regularly treat a wide range of painful conditions to help people get back on track with their ideal lifestyles.
Some of the types of pain that we treat are:
Impact: may have multiple causes ranging from mild to severe in nature and be debilitating, shooting and burning in nature. May also be associated with pins/needles and numbness or decreased strength in the affected area. If left untreated, may lead to nerve damage including long-term pain and also decrease in the ability to feel and move parts of the body.
Our Approach: identify the cause of nerve compression/damage that is causing nerve pain and address this with combinations of Acupuncture/Electrical Stimulation to relieve pain fast, stimulate the healing process and give appropriate lifestyle advice to ensure that nerve pain doesn’t relapse.
Impact: nagging, aching and throbbing pain that often causes both an inability to open the mouth fully to eat or talk and associated with tension headaches and stress/anxiety. If left untreated, can lead to ongoing debilitation and impact on overall health.
Our Approach: identity whether the pain is due to trauma or internal nervous tension, treat the face/jaw to reduce inflammation and pain with combinations of Acupuncture/manual release techniques. Finally address underlying factors with lifestyle changes or Herbal Medicines to ensure that the pain doesn’t return.
Impact: repetitive and debilitating due to the intensity of pain and associated nausea, light/sound sensitivity, visual disturbance, insomnia and fatigue. If left untreated it will persist and often leads to more frequent and severe migraines.
Our Approach: identify the causative factor(s) and apply treatment of Acupuncture, Cupping Therapy, Deep Tissue Muscle Release Therapy and Herbal Medicine to reduce both the severity and frequency of headache/migraine. In combination with these therapies, lifestyle advice is provided to prevent the relapse of this condition.
Impact: aching, constant pain that typically affects the ability to use the entire arm which has a significant impact on quality of life. If left untreated, it may lead to inflammation of neighbouring tissues and further health issues.
Our Approach: identify the causative factor(s) and apply treatment of Acupuncture, Electrical Stimulation, Cupping Therapy and Deep Tissue Muscle Release Therapy to reduce the severity of shoulder pain and improve range of movement. Once pain is stabilised, specific exercises and lifestyle advice are prescribed to prevent relapse of the condition.
Impact: pain can range from a muscle aching to a shooting, burning or stabbing sensation. In addition, the pain may radiate down the leg or worsen with bending, twisting, lifting, standing or walking. If left untreated may lead to decreased physical capacity, weight gain and further health complaints.
Our Approach: identify the causative factor(s) and apply treatment of Acupuncture, Electrical Stimulation, Cupping Therapy and Deep Tissue Muscle Release Therapy to reduce the severity of back pain and improve physical capacity. Once pain is stabilised, specific exercises and lifestyle advice are prescribed to prevent relapse of the condition.
Impact: due to spinal nerve compression is typically one-sided, involves inflammation, shooting, electric-like pain and often pins and needles and numbness in the affected leg. If left untreated may lead to nerve damage including chronic pain, numbness and decreased physical strength in the affected leg.
Our Approach: identify where the nerve is compressed and apply treatment of Acupuncture, Electrical Stimulation, Cupping Therapy and Deep Tissue Muscle Release Therapy to reduce the compression of the sciatic nerve and return normal nerve function to resolve sciatica symptoms. Once sciatica is stabilised, specific exercises and lifestyle advice are prescribed to prevent relapse of the condition.
Impact: pain may be shooting, aching or burning in nature and affect the inside/outside regions of the hip joint. Due to the location may lead to difficulty getting comfortable sleeping and also decrease physical capacity to sit or stand and walk. If left untreated may lead to altered gait and further back/leg issues.
Our Approach: identify the nature of hip pain and apply treatment of Acupuncture, Electrical Stimulation, Cupping Therapy and Deep Tissue Muscle Release Therapy to reduce inflammation and hip pain to restore physical capacity. Once hip pain is stabilised, specific exercises and lifestyle advice are prescribed to prevent relapse of the condition.
Impact: often involves decreased range of motion, leads to tension headache and an inability to focus on tasks. If left untreated may lead to osteoarthritis, chronic pain and even nerve pain in the arm.
Our Approach: address neck pain with combinations of Acupuncture and deep tissue muscle release techniques to provide fast relief and then address the underlying factors such as posture with lifestyle and exercise advice to ensure that neck pain is dealt with both promptly and in a manner to ensure that it doesn’t come back.
Impact: incredibly common and can range from monthly to constant cramping, aching pain that can be severe and debilitating in nature. Commonly associated with emotional distress, acne, abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, back pain and even medical conditions which may cause infertility.
Our Approach: identify the causative factor(s) of menstrual pain and apply treatment of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine to reduce both the severity and frequency of menstrual pain. In combination with these therapies, lifestyle advice is provided to prevent the relapse of this condition and improve overall quality of life.
Impact: when significant, may be extremely debilitating due to an inability to weight-bear and may be sharp, dull, numbing, tingling, burning, radiating, or aching in nature. If left untreated may lead to poor posture, gait and aggravation of other health issues..
Our Approach: address neck pain with combinations of acupuncture and deep tissue muscle release techniques to provide fast relief and then address the underlying factors such as ankle/foot posture with lifestyle and exercise advice to ensure that pain is dealt with both promptly and in a manner to ensure that it doesn’t come back.
Impact: chronic, continuous burning or throbbing pain, usually in the arm, leg, hand or foot that is typically more severe than what would be expected from the injury that caused it. Often associated with hypersensitivity to touch and cold, changes in skin colour, temperature, joint stiffness, muscular weakness and spasms leading to a decreased physical capacity. If left untreated, complex regional pain syndrome is a significant debilitating health condition leading to permanent nerve damage.
Our Approach: address chronic regional pain syndrome with combinations of Acupuncture, electro-Acupuncture and deep tissue muscle release techniques to provide relief and then address the underlying factors such as overall health and nervous system damage with lifestyle and exercise advice to achieve maximum ongoing pain relief.
Impact: causes pain all over the body, sleep problems, fatigue, hypersensitivity to pain and often emotional distress. Frequently associated with migraine, anxiety/depression, jaw pain, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Our Approach: address fibromyalgia with combinations of Acupuncture, electro-Acupuncture and deep tissue muscle release techniques to provide relief and then address the underlying factors such as overall health and stress syndrome with lifestyle and exercise advice to achieve maximum ongoing pain relief.
Impact: can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life and wellbeing due to acute and chronic pain, decreased physical capacity and associated mental health issues associated with management of the condition. If left untreated, will likely continue and get worse over time leading to increased pain and further reduced physical capacity.
Our Approach: reduce the severity of arthritis pain by reducing inflammation and swelling in the affected joints with combinations of Acupuncture and electro-Acupuncture to provide fast relief and then address the underlying factors such as joint instability with lifestyle and exercise advice to ensure that pain is dealt with both promptly and in a manner to ensure that it doesn’t relapse and further deteriorate over time.
Impact: recurrent, chronic burning pain in the centre of the chest that may be worse at night when trying to sleep leading to insomnia and cause difficulty swallowing, a sensation of a lump in the throat and is also associated with chronic laryngitis, asthma and sinus congestion. If left untreated, it may lead to more significant and permanent gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, gastro-oesophageal ulcers, bleeding and gastro-oesophageal cancer.
Our Approach: identify the causative factor(s) of reflux and apply treatment of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine to reduce both the severity and frequency of reflux pain. In combination with these therapies, lifestyle advice is provided to prevent the relapse of this condition and improve overall quality of life.
Impact: A chronic condition causing cramping abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhoea or constipation, or both which may be after every meal or otherwise aggravated by emotional stressors and lifestyle. If left untreated, it isn’t associated with serious medical complications but significantly impacts quality of life in the form of emotional stressors, decreased physical capacity and social life implications.
Our Approach: Identify the causative factor(s) of irritable bowel syndrome and apply treatment of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine to decrease underlying stress syndrome, improve gastro-intestinal system health and reduce both the severity and frequency of irritable bowel syndrome pain. In combination with these therapies, lifestyle advice is provided to prevent the relapse of this condition and improve overall quality of life.
Impact: Persistent debilitating pain that lasts for more than 3 months after surgery. Differs in location compared to pain prior to surgery and pain is typically stabbing, shooting and electric-like in nature. If not effectively dealt with, may lead to significantly decreased quality of life, decreased physical capacity and cognitive function and opioid overuse/addiction due to the debilitating pain.
Our Approach: Apply treatment of Acupuncture and electro-Acupuncture therapy to reduce the severity of post-surgical pain and improve physical and mental capacity. Once pain is stabilised, specific exercises and lifestyle advice are prescribed to prevent relapse of the condition.
Impact: Pain starts off intermittent and mild and develops gradually with repetitive movements until it becomes unbearable and constant pain which may be aching, stabbing and excruciating in nature. If left untreated, the condition only gets worse and may lead to other health complaints.
Our Approach: Address repetitive strain injury pain with combinations of Acupuncture and deep tissue muscle release techniques to provide fast relief and then address the underlying factors with lifestyle and exercise advice to ensure that pain is dealt with both promptly and in a manner to ensure that it doesn’t relapse.
The Nature Of Pain
Pain can range in nature from what we call acute pain which can indicate that you have been recently injured to chronic pain which is ongoing.
Acute pain starts suddenly and when the injury heals, the pain stops. Pain from an acute injury is due to an increase in pressure from inflammation at the site of the injury which activates pain receptors responsible for the transmission of pain signals to the brain. This inflammation in local tissues leads to swelling that is seen as part of the body’s healing response.
Examples of acute pain are:
- Muscle strains
- Stiff neck from sleeping awkwardly
- Sprained ankle/wrist
- Back pain
Chronic pain continues until after the injury has healed, lasting for weeks, months and even years. In this instance, the pain receptors which were activated by inflammation and raised local pressure from swelling during the acute injury continue to transmit signals to the brain that there is an injury.
Although not completely understood, It is thought that chronic pain is due to nerves that have become damaged and also a failure in the way that the brain ‘maps’ sensory information.
Chronic Pain and Quality Of Life
Chronic pain is inherently debilitating and over time leads to many other health complaints.
For instance, 2/3 of people with chronic pain report problems sleeping. The lack of sleep leads to a heightening of anxiety and reduction in pain thresholds. This reduction in pain threshold results in the chronic pain being felt in a more severe manner than initially leading to even worse sleep quality and the situation develops into a frustrating, self-defeating cycle of pain and insomnia.
According to this systematic review, unrelieved, chronic pain causes significant stress on the body to the point that it can lead to:
- Sleep Disorders
- Weight Gain
- Decreased capacity to exercise and self-manage pain
- An increased likelihood to smoke and drink alcohol
- Increased likelihood to suffer from heart and respiratory disease
- More types of chronic pain
Chronic pain is a financial burden to sufferers through their decreased ability to function for work and to receive medical treatment and an extreme emotional cost to the sufferer and their friends and family.
Examples of chronic pain include:
- Migraines which is the 3rd most common disease in the world
- Fibromyalgia with muscle pain
- Neuropathic Pain
- Post-surgical Pain
- Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
Drugs vs Natural Solutions For Pain Relief
Drugs are often prescribed to assist with pain as a first line treatment option-they are convenient and fast to have an effect. Typically issues develop due to the short-lived effects of pain relief medication if they are effective and the side effects related to them. There are 2 classes of medications commonly prescribed for pain relief-Opioids and NSAIDs(Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories).
Despite this ease of use, only 23% of patients with chronic pain find pain-killer drugs, ‘Opiates’(Morphine, Endone, Tramadol etc) effective at reducing pain.
In a recent review, it was established that opioid medications at recommended doses were not effective for low back pain and with prolonged prescription of opioids, chronic back pain sufferers actually experience more back pain than if they hadn’t been taking opioid medication.
What’s worse, opioid medications are highly addictive leading to opiate abuse and depression which have become a common part of the pain equation and contributing to the epidemic of opioid addiction and deaths due to overdose which is significantly higher than that of heroin!
NSAIDs are the most commonly used medications in the world and commonly prescribed as a first-line treatment for pain. NSAIDs are mostly used for the treatment of patients suffering from pain and inflammatory conditions such as chronic pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, postoperative surgical conditions, menstrual cramps and even used extensively as general pain relieving and reducing fever.
NSAIDs include commonly known medications such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, voltaren and Mobic.
In spite of this vast beneficial effect on pain and reducing fever, NSAIDs are well known for multiple severe side effects including:
- Causing gastrointestinal harm such as indigestion and stomach ulcers
- Cardiovascular disease and increased risk of acute heart attack even in healthy people
- Kidney damage causing sudden kidney failure and even progressive kidney damage
- Impairment of liver function due to toxicity
Natural therapies are highly attractive for the simple reason that they present very few adverse effects and research shows that some natural therapies are more effective than medications when it comes to reducing pain both in the short term and long-term.
With this in mind, consulting with a healthcare professional is always advised to achieve the best results for your situation.
Massage therapy can be used to relieve stress and anxiety, help with pain, relax the muscles and assist with the healing of injuries.
It has been shown that massage therapy reduces cortisol levels (a stress inducing hormone), while increasing other hormones that have a positive effect on pain relief and wellbeing such as endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.
Suction from cupping draws fluid into the treated area. This suction force expands and causes tiny blood vessels (capillaries) under the skin to dilate to improve circulation to the treated area. This has an effect to reduce muscular tension and swelling and inflammation locally by improving blood circulation. Your body treats the cupping area like an injury; It sends more blood cells to the area to stimulate the natural healing process which has an effect to reduce pain.
Acupuncture is well known for its effectiveness in the treatment of pain. Acupuncture has become popular around the world for its unique role in reducing the suffering in patients experiencing pain. There is now lots of thorough evidence supporting Acupuncture’s role in the treatment of specific painful conditions. For instance, in a recent systematic review involving 1077 participants with pain ranging from neck and back pain to carpal tunnel syndrome to painful periods, it was found that Acupuncture was more effective in relieving pain than placebo or painkiller injections.
In the past, there was much speculation about Acupuncture effects being purely placebo. Placebo is always involved either positively or negatively in all interventions. With the amount of research that has been conducted on Acupuncture now though, it is conclusive that there is significant difference between the effects of Acupuncture and placebo for the treatment of acute and chronic pain.
How Acupuncture Works For Pain Relief
For over 60 years, there has been extensive research conducted on how Acupuncture works to relieve pain. There is still much to be learnt about the underlying mechanisms and the human body in general. So far, it is understood that:
- Acupuncture stimulates sensory nerves where the needle is inserted that transmits a signal through to the spinal cord and results in deactivation of the pain centres in the brain.
- Acupuncture activates a number of the body’s own opioids (Endorphins and Enkephalins) and enhances the brain’s sensitivity to opioids in order to have an effect to reduce pain, modulate pain perception, regulate appetite and emotions
- Acupuncture also stimulates release and regulation of other biochemicals, including ATP, GABA and substance P in order to reduce pain and facilitate the healing process.
Have You Had Enough Of Pain?
When pain is severe and/or chronic and unbearable, natural treatments represent an effective and safe alternative with a long track record of successful use. At our clinic, our expert clinicians have extensive qualifications and experience in delivering best-practice, evidence-based treatments to combat pain of various severity and nature.
Once you have booked an appointment and arrived at our clinic, to get started, the process is simple:
- Initially, you will fill out a case history form to detail your broader medical history, current concerns and treatment goals
- Your practitioner will assess your medical history, ask specific questions and undertake clinical assessments where relevant in order to diagnose what is the cause of your current pain.
- Once the cause of the pain is understood, your practitioner will advise what can be achieved in your situation, what types of treatment and therapy you will need and how long it will take to relieve symptoms(pain) and address underlying factors so that you no longer experience this pain.
- Treatment can commence to relieve pain fast and get you started in the right direction.