How to Manage Your Pain and Promote Healing
What is pain? Why do we feel it? Is our body trying to tell us something? Unfortunately, pain is not as simple as we think. Pain is an experience. One that has many variables. It cannot simply be defined as a sensation caused by an injury, inflammation or pathology. How we perceive pain is also multifactorial. Research shows that we can experience pain in the body without anything being wrong. We can also have damage and degeneration in our tissues without any pain. Every person, every body and every pain experience is different. This is why our health care team at Byward Chiropractic + Massage Therapy Centre does not take a cookie-cutter approach to your care. If body pain is keeping you from feeling well book a health assessment with one of our chiropractors.
Pain is complex. Painful joints and muscles can affect our activities of daily living as well as our quality of life. The good news is, there are many ways that we can manage our pain along with chiropractic care and massage therapy and get back to doing what we love.
Below you will find tips and tools recommended by our healthcare team to help you manage your aches and pains.
Ice is commonly recommended for acute injuries or aggravation of chronic conditions. Ice application slows down the blood flow to injured tissue reducing swelling, inflammation and pain. Ice can help relieve pain from headaches, sprains and strains that may occur with sports, slips & falls or lifting. When using ice, apply for no longer than 10 minutes at a time, taking 10 minute breaks. Cover ice or cold packs with a thin towel before applying. Check your skin every 5 minutes to make sure there is no irritation from the cold. A flexible gel ice pack is ideal. The TheraPearl is designed to comfortably contour the body to get maximum application. If you’re dealing with an extremity injury, a sprained ankle for example, a small ice bath can be a great form of cold therapy. You can fill a bucket or large bowl up with cold water, add some ice cubes and submerge your foot and ankle for a few minutes at a time.
Heat opens up blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the area, relaxes tense muscles and helps alleviate discomfort. It’s also a good method of pain relief for tension headaches and other chronic conditions. There are a few precautions to consider before using heat therapy. Always wait 48-72 hours after an injury before applying heat. Do not use heat if you have no feeling in the affected body region or if you have poor circulation. Never use heat if there is swelling or bruising. Do not apply heat directly on the skin, use a thin towel. Wait one hour between heat treatments. When in doubt, use ice.
A foam roller can be an effective and inexpensive tool to provide relief from tightness, stiffness and pain. Foam rolling can improve flexibility, relax and help your muscles recover, as well as prevent injury. Foam rolling targets our myofascial system (muscles and fascia). Fascia is a multi-layer web of connective tissue that surrounds every muscle, bone, vessel, and organ. When foam rolling, the roller is placed between you and a hard surface, allowing pressure to be applied while you roll back and forth focusing on specific tight muscle groups. Blood flow to those muscles is increased, promoting healing and reducing inflammation. A foam roller may also be used to increase mobility and decrease stiffness in certain areas of the body such as the upper back after a long day at the office. Foam rolling has many benefits, including relief from tightness, stiffness and pain. Regular use of a foam roller will aid in your body’s healing and will complement massage therapy and chiropractic care.
Yoga or therapy balls can be used, like a foam roller, to provide relief from muscular tension that causes discomfort. Therapy balls allow you to locate specific trigger points that are causing you grief. You control the amount of pressure applied, enough to do some good, but not enough to irritate your nervous system. Pressure on a muscle knot should generally be clear, strong and satisfying. It should have a relieving and releasing quality. Therapy balls can be used to soothe sore feet, loosen tight hips and relieve shoulder stress. Get your Yoga Tune Up balls at Byward Chiropractic Clinic + Massage Therapy Centre. They are great to have at your desk for times of tension or in your suitcase when you are traveling.
Biofreeze is a topical analgesic that uses cold therapy to relieve minor muscle and joint pain. Menthol, found in Biofreeze, is a natural pain reliever. It penetrates the skin quickly acting on pain and temperature receptors. Those receptors tell the brain to feel cold sensation instead of pain. Biofreeze can be more comfortable and convenient than your traditional ice pack. It comes as a spray, gel or roll-on stick to provide you pain relief on the go. Pick up your Biofreeze at Byward Chiropractic Clinic+ Massage Therapy Centre.
It’s important to know why you are feeling pain and where it is coming from before you can manage it. Seek professional advice and a full health assessment with a member of our healthcare team at Byward Chiropractic Clinic + Massage Therapy Centre. If you are already under care, consult your chiropractor or massage therapist for specific recommendations using the tools and resources above to manage your pain and promote healing.