Even though medical procedures have been created in order to help you heal, some of them (such as shots, an IV, etc.) can be painful. Below are some ideas to help you make these tests and treatments as pain-free as possible, adding to their effectiveness and your healing.
We experience pain in different ways. It can be a useful friend, sending important messages to the body and helping to locate the source of disease or injury. It is very important that you always alert a medical professional when you are experiencing pain, so that they too can work with the information pain can give. Pain, especially chronic pain, can also be your worst enemy, draining you mentally, emotionally and spiritually as you struggle toward health. We want to work with you to eliminate as much unnecessary pain as possible.
To some degree pain can be minimized during medical procedures by using the following:
Because fear can increase our perception of pain, it is important to try to reassure ourselves of the positive effect the treatment is having on our bodies. For positive visualization:
- First imagine yourself in a very safe and nurturing place, perhaps somewhere you've been before where you felt comforted and full of hope.
- Focus on the feeling of well-being as you extend your attention to the procedure at hand.
- Visualize the medicine flowing freely into your veins and being welcomed and eagerly absorbed by the cells of your body.
- Repeat to yourself reassuring sentences such as "this treatment will make me well," or "my body will use this medicine to its best interest."
- Try to continue imagining yourself in your safe and healing place throughout the treatment.
- Imagine a protective white light of unconditional love surrounds you.
Heat and Cold
Sometimes pain can be reduced by hot or cold temperatures, such as the ice packs used in reconstructive therapy or heating pads used during IVs. One thing to keep in mind is that pain can be caused in IVs when the veins are cold or constricted. Prevention can be effective. Remember to avoid air conditioning in your car on the way to an IV appointment, wear gloves and long sleeves in winter and, if needed, warm up your hands and arms with warm water before getting the IV.
Obviously this is not something that can be used at the Celebration of Health Association due to our no perfume or scent policy for the protection of our allergic patients. However, there are other times when essential oils can be used effectively to reduce pain and anxiety. Try putting a few drops of oil in a handkerchief and smelling it when you need relief.
- Lemongrass: has a sedating action on the nervous system and can soothe headache and stimulate the thyroid gland
- Linalol: relieves discomfort, stimulates immune system, sedation
- Pine oil: good for blood circulation and for pain in general, can soothe mental stress and relieve anxiety
- Ylang Ylang: calming, soothing
According to music therapists, music can have an incredibly powerful effect on the brain and body. Use headphones to listen to music that you find comforting, soothing and relaxing to give your body and mind an advantage and a welcome distraction when dealing with pain. Music reaches us on an emotional level and can be effective when logic and willpower fail. This works well with children and adults.
There is an acupressure point for pain relief on the web-like area between your thumb and first finger. Try pressing or massaging this point.
Biofeedback is a pain managing technique you can be trained in through a formal workshop process. The idea of it is that you can learn to "send energy" to various parts of your body which are identified as holding stress and pain and relax that area, causing a sense of warmth and well-being.
Experienced nurses can tell you stories of how differently people react to pain when they are holding their breath compared to when they are breathing normally. Better yet is the use of deep breathing techniques. Breath that slowly fills the diaphragm and the entire lungs and then is completely dispelled is healing and re-energizing, helps slow down your body function in a helpful way, calms fears and reduces tension and therefore pain. As women who use the childbirth technique Lamaze know, the concentration it takes to breathe deeply and rhythmically is also a welcome distraction from pain.
Whenever we are stressed, ill, depressed, worried, etc. our bodies are in the "Flight or Fight" response. This creates physiological changes in the body such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension, etc. Also, tense muscles make pain worse. The relaxation response technique can be used to counter these negative effects by training our bodies to respond to stress with a controlled relaxation impulse rather than "Flight or Fight."
- Repeat a word, sound, prayer, or phrase that has meaning to you. You can sit, lay down or do some physical activity as you do this.
- Breathe slowly and naturally as you do, repeating the focus word, phrase or prayer silently as you exhale.
- Imagine all tension flowing out of your body with those exhaled breaths, feeling one part of your body at a time melt into relaxation.
- Passively disregard everyday thoughts that come to mind and return to your repetition of the focus words. The less you worry about results the better.
- This should be done 10-20 min. once or twice daily, and then when you need it in stressful or painful situations your body will respond as it is trained to do and relax along with the focus words.
Reiki is a simple form of energy manipulation. A Reiki practitioner gently places her hands on various centers of the body, directing energy to that place. This leads to a feeling of increased relaxation and can minimize pain in some cases. Reiki can be done subtly during painful procedures in the office or full one-hour treatments can be scheduled any time. If you have further questions or want to schedule, talk to your doctor
TOOLS FOR PAIN RELIEF
I. Building structure
A. Prolotherapy—builds ligaments and stabilizes joints
B. Decompression therapy (traction machine)—builds discs for low back pain
C. Exercise—increases muscle strength and flexibility
II. Energy Medicine
A. TENS (transelectrical nerve stimulation)
B. Alpha-Stim is one variation, there are many more
C. Acupuncture (with needles or with electrical stimulation) and acupressure
D. AcuSpark—hand-held device that releases pain
E. Cold laser
F. TENS-cam—releases pain without contact with the patient
G. Healing touch, Reiki
H. Taping—can relieve spasm and swelling
I. Massage and massage tools, like the “Stick”
J. Magnetic therapy
M. Hot and cold packs
N. Osteopathic and chiropractic manipulation, sometimes with an activator
III. Oral, Transdermal and Injectable pain blockers
A. Neural therapy, nerve blocks, epidural blocks and trigger point therapy—Injection of local anesthetics to relieve pain and increase the flow of energy locally or at distant trigger points, including scars. Sometimes this is done transdermally with a patch or cream
B. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen
D. Narcotic drugs
E. Steroids, usually by injection
F. Homeopathic creams like Traumeel and Pain Cream
G. Natural pain and anti-inflammatory substances like MSM, glucosamine, boswelia (Joint Ease), Marine Care, FYI, Fibromylagin
H. Anti-oxidants—vitamins and especially glutathione precursors
I. Anti-depressants—medications and herbal supplements
J. Increasing neurotransmitters with oral amino acids
IV. Detoxification and Allergy treatment