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Have you ever notice that with any  medication comes warnings about the side effects which can accompany the medication, usually involving your liver? This, of course, is because everything must pass through this amazing filter. The question anyone with chronic pain proposes is, how do you deal with chronic pain and not compromise this crucial organ?

The good news is that there are forms of pain management that are completely natural! Some have been around for thousands of years, and when given a chance, can increase comfort, ability to perform activities that pain has kept them from, enhanced sleep, better appetite, and have an overall positive outlook on life.  Studies have indicated that individuals who have sleep issues or problems with depression often have better rest and increased feelings of well being when they are able to deal with chronic pain. Massage, reflexology, yoga, and stretching are natural alternatives that have helped many to live a more quality life in spite of chronic pain.

Acupuncture, which was first written about in 16th century China, is safe, effective and relatively inexpensive. It has been shown to help people suffering from migraines, chronic back pain such as sciatica, fibromyalgia and many other pain related issues.

Dietary  changes and supplements used in pain management are very effective but must be approached with caution, as in the case of Ginkgo Biloba, used in treating  Alzheimer’s as a memory enhancing supplement and circulatory disorders. Herbal supplements such as this and others must be used with caution and under supervision as in the case of an individual with Epilepsy, who could cancel out  the effectiveness of their seizure meds if using Ginkgo. If you decide to supplement your diet with herbs, please consult a nutritionist or health care professional who can guide you as to what is effective and safe for your particular issue.

Massage therapy is a wonderful way to relax, increase circulation and nutrients to muscle and tissue, improve joint movement and range of motion, as well as increase endorphins, which will in turn aid in calming pain sensory paths and give a deep, emotional sense of well being, and leaves you feeling relaxed and with a sense of calm.

The good news is that many insurance companies have researched these alternative ways to deal with chronic pain and are now paying for treatments of acupuncture, massage, and exercise programs such as yoga classes. Check with your provider to see if they have a provision for alternative medicine, and if not, encourage them to look into it!

Upwards of 82% of people have reported that they live with some form of chronic pain, termed as unrelenting or continuous. * A 2006 survey conducted by Harris Interactive® on “Pain in the Workplace”  indicates that chronic pain is on the rise with U.S. workers.* It would behoove companies to implement a wellness program which included chair massages for employees and staff, healthy eating options, exercise incentives, etc.

Please pass these ideas along to your HR Dept., or a friend or relative who lives with chronic pain. It will benefit all of us to make changes towards better health with alternative options rather than drugs when possible.

Feb. 2010 Shelli Rossignol, LMT, CR

**(Article Date: 01 Feb 2007 - 0:00 PDT -Medical News Today)

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