by Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed.©
Traditional pain management medication often creates an additional burden on the body and may not be an option for some people. It can also be quite costly. Try some of these holistic approaches that are healthy for your body and cost you absolutely nothing. These techniques are helpful for Chronic Pain such as headaches, Migraines, myofacial pain, muscular and connective tissue pain, organ pain and just pain in general.
1. Go Into Your Pain
Allow your pain to consume you and become one with it. Don’t resist it. Just let it exist in its fullest extent. Welcome it and embrace it. When you resist pain it becomes stagnant, if you go into it, it will flow through you. This doesn’t eliminate the pain, but releases the power it has over you and changes it form, therefore allowing you to function within it.
2. Breathe deep into the pain
Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose with your mouth shut. The abdomen should distend on inhale, not your chest, and then exhale very slowly while focusing your mind and your breath into the area of pain. In your minds eye direct your breath into the pain. Visualize the breath flowing into the painful area and melting it away. Do this repeatedly until you feel it begin to release and then move to another pain area and begin again. It may take several breaths to release it. It may also take a lot of practice to train your mind to focus into the pain. I find this exercise more effective when I can close my eyes, but it is also helpful when your driving or in public places by doing the breathing without closing the eyes.
3. Stretch your face and jaw
Open your mouth as wide as it will go and then gently push it to go a little wider. When you feel the muscles in your jaw and head pulling and tingling then relax it. This will probably be excruciating and bring tears in your eyes, but it will release the pain and you will have a lot of relief afterwards. Then pull your lips forward over your teeth and stretch the front face muscles. Experiment a bit, wherever you feel the pain and pull and stretch the jaw in different directions until it hurts so bad you can’t stand it and then relax it. After doing this several times then do the breathing into exercise described above and breath into all the jaw muscles and connective tissue in shoulders and collar bone.
4. Self Massage and apply pressure to trigger points
Gently massage the area with pain. Use your 2nd and 3rd fingers to rub softly in a circular motion. This is also helpful on painful organs. Massage the trigger points on collarbone, back of head or wherever they may be for you. Sometimes it is more effective to use the thumb for deep penetration into areas such as the collarbone. Gently press into the trigger points until again it feels like you will go through the ceiling and bring tears to your eyes and then release pressure. Do this several times to each painful or tender area. Sometimes just laying the hands on the painful area can give it some relief. After applying pressure to painful areas and releasing then do the breathing into technique described above.
5. Take a Hot Shower
Stand in the shower with the water as hot as you can tolerate and let it flow gently over the painful areas. Also shut the bathroom door and all windows so the heat can build up in the room. It is also helpful to apply pressure to trigger points, do gentle massage and do the breathing into exercise while you’re in the shower.
6. Have an Orgasm or Two
An orgasm can bring about incredible relief to a severe headache, generalized muscular pain, and even a migraine. If you have one at the beginning of your migraine it is possible at times to stop it from progressing. Of course when you are in pain you may not feel like having sex, and you certainly don’t want to get into the habit of using sex as a pain reliever, but using it therapeutically now and then is very beneficial. If you can muster up the desire and your partner is willing then the act of sex itself, if you allow yourself to become immersed in it, can provide great relief by drawing your attention away from your pain. When you have an orgasm it has a natural pain killing effect on the body. When sex is not desired and to avoid using sex too often for relief, then masturbation that ends with an orgasm will produce the exact same pain killing effects. For women, getting a clit stimulator, which can bring about orgasm quickly, is very useful. That way you don’t have to spend much time at it. For men, well most men now how to handle themselves to bring about an orgasm in a rather short amount of time. If not feel free to talk to me about this.
If you are capable of walking and if you enjoy it then walking briskly for at least 20 minutes (35 minutes is better) can also have pain-killing effects on the body. If you don’t walk and it is something that is possible for you, then you might consider working on building this habit into your daily routine.
8. Sleep or meditate
This technique is probably most useful with milder forms of pain, although with some practice it can become beneficial to more severe pain. Sometimes the pain may be too great for this technique to work, because you may not be able to achieve a sleep or relaxed state, but even a semi-sleep or semi-meditative state can be useful too. Lie down, close your eyes and do the deep breathing exercise to every part of your body beginning with your head and work down to your toes. Then either try to go to sleep or just meditate. When we sleep the body repairs and heals itself. A short period of sleep can often give miraculous amounts of pain relief. If sleep is not possible then just continue the deep breathing and think relaxing thoughts. Don’t allow yourself to think about what needs to be done, your problems, or anything else. Focus completely on your breathing. Repeating some form of mantra may be helpful to keep the mind focused.
9. Nurture Your Soul
Feeding your soul has a positive effect on your overall well-being. If your overall well-being is feeling better, then the impact of pain will not be as powerful and disruptive. It will make you feel more at peace with yourself and the world. Do daily activities that are food for your soul, such as getting in touch with nature, writing, reading, singing, a hot bath, special time with loved ones or whatever it is that is nourishing for you. The things that make you feel whole, alive and one with the universe (or God) is your soul food.
10. Express Your Pain Verbally
Most of us know that it is beneficial to express our emotional feelings and detrimental to our well being to let them build up. This can also apply to our physical pain. Physical pain and emotional pain are intertwined on a deep level. If we are enduring physical pain you can bet that there is some emotional pain brewing in the back ground and vice-versa. Therefore, expressing your physical pain verbally can provide us with some relief. So let it out. Tell someone understanding and compassionate how awful it is and what it feels like. Vent, vent, vent. If you don’t want to verbalize out loud, then try writing it down on paper without censoring yourself. Sometimes you may need to do all the suggestions above to get relief or you may only need to do one or two. It varies from time to time. The degree of relief that I can achieve with these techniques varies from time to time, but the majority of the time I can get enough relief to function. At times I can do all of the above suggestions and I can completely turn around my pain including a migraine. At other times, I will only cut my pain in half or almost eliminate it and then at other times the relief may be minimal. It depends on factors such as what was the trigger, how long did I wait before doing the technique, what cycle of the month am I in and how intense the trigger was.