An Integrative Approach to Pain: Ease Suffering by Addressing Mind, Body and Spirit + VIDEO {Mind-Body Medicine}

An Integrative Approach to Pain: Relieve Suffering by Addressing Mind, Body and Spirit in These 4 Areas!

An Integrative Approach to Pain: Relieve Suffering by Addressing Mind, Body and Spirit in These 4 Areas!

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Millions of people deal with chronic pain and other distress on a daily basis.  For example, low back pain is one of the most common reasons for all physician visits in the U.S., with two-thirds of Americans impacted by this often chronic condition.

Like other types of pain, back pain is a complex issue, resulting from many causes and imbalances. It can impact one’s life in significant ways, reducing function and quality of life.

All pain is a mind-body experience. Pain is a combination of the physical sensations we feel, the emotions we feel, and the meaning the pain has for us, and therefore the most effective approaches to deal with pain are generally multifactorial and holistic. Pain can result from an acute injury or illness or be related to another medical condition, such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes and toxic imbalances. Sometimes, we may learn patterns of movement or thinking that contribute to ongoing pain sensations.

Accordingly, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recently updated their guidelines for treating acute or subacute low back pain. The new guidelines strongly encourage clinicians to utilize non-drug therapies such as superficial heat, massage, yoga, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other mind-body therapies as first-line approaches, turning to narcotics only as a last resort. 

An integrative approach to healing pain looks at the whole person, addressing the mind, body, and spirit. This starts with focusing on the root causes contributing to the pain. 

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Reduce Inflammation, Relieve Pain

An Integrative Approach to Pain: Relieve Suffering by Addressing Mind, Body and Spirit in These 4 Areas!

Chronic pain is a symptom of inflammation. The root cause of the inflammation must be addressed for the pain to improve. Mind-body therapies help calm the inflammatory process in the body, promote healing, and present little to no negative side effects. 

Real whole foods can help calm the body’s inflammatory process naturally and safely. Herbs and spices like turmeric and ginger contain anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. Gingerols are potent inflammation-reducing substances that support cell health and may prevent chronic diseases like arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and even cancer. Studies show that curcumin may match some anti-inflammatory drugs in potency making it potentially useful for conditions ranging from arthritis to inflammatory bowel disease to cancer.  On the other hand, it can be helpful to remove foods which create inflammation like those that are refined, processed and manufactured as well as those that contain artificial or chemical additives. 

Try these strategies to reduce inflammation with lifestyle! 

Vegan Cauliflower Apple Walnut Soup with Turmeric 

Perk-Up Ginger Green Smoothie

Ayurvedic medicine recommends including the six tastes in every meal to cultivate balance and healing. Including all six tastes–sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent– in every meal ensures that you are getting the variety of nutrients that your body needs to heal. It is also important to balance the amount of each taste in the diet, depending on your individual dosha or mind-body type.

Move Mindfully and Become Aware

An Integrative Approach to Pain: Relieve Suffering by Addressing Mind, Body and Spirit in These 4 Areas!

There are often physical patterns that exacerbate and perpetuate pain. The way you move, sit, work and carry out tasks in your daily life may lead to imbalances and patterns of pain.

Becoming more aware of your body and body mechanics, allows you to cultivate a state of body-centered relaxed awareness. Yoga is one practice that helps strengthen this mind-body connection. As you practice yoga, you start to notice misalignments and movement patterns that contribute to ongoing pain. 

Often, people with pain become sedentary out of fear or to avoid exacerbating the pain, but inactivity generally sets up a vicious cycle which intensifies the issues. Muscles become weaker and joints become tighter, decreasing range of motion and exacerbating imbalances. In most cases, gentle movement helps increase the flow of energy while the body remains in a relaxed state, which can help restore balance and allow healing. 

The Healing Power of Touch and Energy Balance

An Integrative Approach to Pain: Relieve Suffering by Addressing Mind, Body and Spirit in These 4 Areas!

Acupuncture and massage are other mind-body modalities that can have powerful healing benefits for both acute and chronic pain.

Acupuncture administered by a trained and knowledgeable professional can help balance the body and allow it to heal. A large study of over 1,100 patients with chronic back pain showed that ten acupuncture treatments resulted in a 47% improvement in pain and functioning after six months.

Gently manipulating the muscles and fascia through massage can change the sensations the brain is receiving and help reduce pain signals. It also increases blood flow to bring oxygen, nutrients and cells to damaged tissues.  Lymph drainage massage can be particularly useful for certain types of pain as it calms the sympathetic nervous system, clears out waste products from the tissues and decreases emotional stress and anxiety.

Healing touch, Reiki, and acupressure are also wonderful ways to calm the nervous system and enliven the body’s innate healing response through the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins.

Near infrared sauna use appears to reduce joint and muscle pain and contribute to tissue healing. Studies have shown improvements in back pain from regular near infrared sauna use, and hand-held infrared devices are commonly used for pain relief

Mindfulness Eases Suffering

An Integrative Approach to Pain: Relieve Suffering by Addressing Mind, Body and Spirit in These 4 Areas!

Mindfulness is a powerful way to reduce suffering and cope with pain. Studies show that people who deal with systemic pain and practice mindfulness rate their quality of life, happiness, satisfaction, and activity level as improved after mindfulness training, even if the objective physical pain has not changed. 

A regular meditation practice, a meaningful stress management approach and a mindful attitude can build a foundation for working with pain, physical suffering, and psychological distress of many kinds.

  • Guided relaxation and body scans (like this one) bring awareness to the body and allow your muscles and brain to let go of tension, stress, and obsession with suffering. 
  • Mindful breathing techniques are readily available and reduce stress, change your relationship with pain, and bring the body into a relaxed state where healing can occur more readily. 
  • Transform your entire mindset and change your health and life by investing in the Whole Cure Lifestyle Transformation Program: Mind Module! Learning to become aware of your thoughts and emotions and to choose your reactions to stressful situations like pain will transform your health and experience of life. It is one of the most powerful ways to decrease the body’s “fight or flight” response – that state of heightened stress that tends to be overactivated in people suffering from chronic pain. 

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Begin with this integrative approach to pain and break free from suffering!

An integrative approach to pain that addresses mind, body and spirit is empowering and educating rather than searching for someone or something to provide a quick fix.

This is not to say that pain is something minor or easy to overcome, but instead to offer hope and tap into the power of the mind to change the experience of pain, even when it is unavoidable. 

For more guided meditations to build self-love and compassion, check out Breathe meditation CD and The Whole Cure Lifestyle Transformation Program Mind Module to completely makeover your mindset and find lasting calm and confidence!

How do you cope with pain?

Share your favorite form of integrative pain releif in the comments below or reach out to discuss how I can help support you!

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NOTE: this post contains affiliate links for products that I use myself and frequently recommend to my clients. These products and the information provided should not be considered medical advice. AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Amazon offers a small commission on products sold through their affiliate links. Prices are exactly the same for you if your purchase through an affiliate link or a non-affiliate link. Thank you!

Medical Disclaimer: Information provided in this post and related resources is for informational purposes only. Jennifer Weinberg is not providing medical advice, diagnosis or treatment information. The information is NOT intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. Every body is unique so be sure to check with your health care professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes taking any medication or nutritional supplement or using any treatment for a health issue. Do not use this information provided for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you suspect you have a medical problem please contact your healthcare provider promptly and do not disregard professional medical advice based on anything on this website. This website and related resources are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease and do not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Jennifer Weinberg. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This post was shared with:  Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party HopHealthy Living Link Party, Friday’s Five Features

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Comments

  • Roseann Hampton
    Reply

    I have used acupuncture and massage in addition to meditation and yoga with great success for my pain.

  • Deborah Davis
    Reply

    My father has suffered from chronic pain for many years and I have spent a lot of time searching for natural solutions to help ease his pain. He takes pain pills now which are very debiliating so we are always looking for effective alternatives. We have been using massage, essential oils, diet and exercise to ease his pain. Thank you so much for sharing An Integrative Approach to Pain: Ease Suffering by Addressing Mind, Body and Spirit at the Healthy Happy Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I’m pinning and sharing.

    • Dr. Jennifer L. Weinberg, MD, MPH, MBE

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment and for sharing Deborah! I am sorry that your father has been facing chronic pain, as I know it can be a challenging issue to deal with even with the best options.

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