The Ultimate in Pain Management?

By: Bel Marra Health | Pain Management | Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 01:58 AM

alternative pain reliefFor some people, overcoming pain may be quite challenging, especially when the current pain relief techniques or medications do not impart any improvement in one’s condition. Pain can also decrease one’s productivity at work or at school, significantly affecting the capacity to concentrate on a particular task. The quality of life may also deteriorate in the presence of pain, when the mere act of sleeping or sitting is coupled with soreness. It is thus essential that an alternative pain relief method be identified to augment the discomfort brought about by a specific disease.

Pain Relief Through Acupressure

Several pain relief techniques have been developed through time, from the simple pain medications to the exercise regimens that allow movement of specific body parts for more flexibility. However, not all pain relief techniques are capable of suppressing the aches associated with certain medical conditions. For example, dysmenorrhea among women is characterized by painful menstruation due to unidentifiable causes in the pelvic region. This extremely uncomfortable fertility disorder generally starts during adolescence and can continue on until 40 years of age. Aside from the pain associated with dysmenorrhea, this occurrence also imprints a fear among these women that childbirth can be even more painful that dysmenorrhea.

Current pain relief techniques for dysmenorrhea include the administration of medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs that decrease the swelling of blood vessels of the reproductive tract. Other pain relief techniques include oral contraceptives that regulate the amount of hormones produced by the body. Although these examples of pain relief techniques are effective, there is also the risk of developing adverse reactions to these medications. It is also possible that the individual may become dependent on the drugs, which in turn may interfere with other medications that may be later prescribed for the individual. In practical terms, the use of drugs as one of the major pain relief techniques for dysmenorrheal may also become quite expensive, especially when alternative pain relief could instead be used for the treatment of pain associated with dysmenorrheal.

Alternative Pain Relief Techniques

A number of alternative pain relief approaches are also recognized for the treatment of dysmenorrhea. The simplest example of alternative pain relief is bed rest, allowing the individual to recuperate from the discomfort of painful menstruation. Another alternative pain relief approach is exercise, which increases blood circulation across the body and improves breathing and production of endorphins that elicit happy emotions. Heating may also serve as an alternative pain relief method for dysmenorrheal, although this technique may not be acceptable to most individuals.

One alternative pain relief that has gained extensive recognition in the Western world is acupressure, which is a modification of acupuncture yet without the use of needles. The pain relief techniques of acupressure involve the application of physical pressure to specific points in the body that are often targeted in acupuncture. These pressure points in acupressure are regarded as sites of energy, or qi, that control the transfer of energy. In Chinese philosophy, blockage of the flow of energy across these points is believed to cause disease and pain in the human body and the application of acupressure thus restores the balance of energy.

According to a recent report, the application of pain relief techniques using acupressure has been shown to decrease the pain among female study participants suffering from dysmenorrhea. The clinical trial involved approximately 50 women ranging from 18 to 30 years of age who were suffering from pain related to dysmenorrhea. The women were randomly assigned to any of two groups, one of which received acupressure as an alternative pain relief treatment on the middle region of the calf, called the Sanyinjiao (SP6) points, whereas the other group received acupressure on the middle-lateral region of the calf, called the DiJi (SP8) point.

Less Fatigue Through Acupressure

The study participants learned the pain relief techniques of acupressure during the study, which involved pressing on specific points of the calf once pain from dysmenorrhea started. Acupressure was administered by pressing with the thumb, moving it in a circular direction for approximately five minutes on each leg. The results of the study showed that this alternative pain relief approach significantly reduced the pain associated with dysmenorrhea, using any of the two pressure points described in their study. In addition, the study participants also showed a decrease in the level of fatigue during each episode of dysmenorrhea through the application of acupressure.

The recognition of alternative pain relief methods such as acupressure may serve as an example of a non-invasive approach in decreasing discomfort associated with specific medical conditions. As the number of side effects to various drug formulations increases, it may thus be helpful for individuals suffering from constant or recurrent pain to consider other pain relief techniques to improve their conditions.


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