Posted on 2 Comments

Alternative Therapies To Treat Migraines

Is your head still throbbing after taking your usual pain medication? Ever wonder what other treatments are available? Then this is the article for you. Headaches and migraines are a common complaint at the DR’s office with approximately 8 million visits every year! With the risk of side effects and the high addiction rate to pain relief pills people everywhere are turning to alternative measures of help.

alternative therapies treat migraines

What are migraines?

We have all had a headache at some point in our lives, a horrible pain that can be throbbing, feel like pressure, tightening, stabbing or achy pain, and some of us have experienced the dreaded migraine which is severe pain, usually on one side of the head, which can be accompanied with light and sound sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, some people even experience an aura before a migraine sets in. headaches and migraines can occur for many different reasons from stress, tension, tiredness, illness, genetics and more. Most people turn to pain medication for headache and migraine relief, but there are a few alternative treatments available that may actually help you more.

alternative therapies treat migraines

What are alternative therapies?

Alternative therapies are treatments that are outside the western medicine system. These treatments involve a therapist who takes into account your whole body to look for clues as to what is causing your health issues. As it turns out the most common reason for headaches and migraines is stress and tension and alternative therapies are excellent at helping treat these ailments.

alternative therapies treat migraines

What treatments are available?

  • Massage- massage is one of the most frequently used forms of alternative medicine, especially when it comes to easing stress and tension. An accredited massage therapist can locate tight areas on your body that can be causing tension and therefore causing your headaches. It is known that if our muscles are tight then we can suffer from pain, pain from tight muscles can radiate and defer into other parts of our bodies and yes, cause headaches. Some people can find relief after one visit, although many people find they need to maintain regular visits to keep muscles supple. And who doesn’t love a good massage?
  • Yoga- yoga is a form of exercise that focuses on strength, relaxation, breathing and flexibility. All these aspects of yoga can release stress and muscle tension and really help to give relief to headaches and migraines. Feel good endorphins will be released during a session, causing stress to melt away, and because we loosen up our muscles during a yoga class we fight of tension and release pain. Bonus, yoga can really tone up your body and relieve anxiety.

alternative therapies treat migraines

  • Herbal treatments- for herbal treatments of headaches and migraines it is best to see an accredited naturopath. Many people believe that because something is natural it will be safe, this isn’t always the case only a naturopath will be able to give you the proper advice and minimise any risks. There are many herbal remedies that can be used for pain and symptoms of all types of headaches including stress, tension, migraine, sinus and headaches caused by colds and flus. Many people have shown great benefit from using natural treatments when compared to prescription medication. There are even herbal supplements for stress, anxiety and depression which can all contribute to the onset of headaches.
  • Meditation- meditation is a practice that has been used for centuries, its aim is to create inner peace, give your mind a rest and relief stress. Meditation can be a useful tool in the management of headaches, especially those created by stress, by giving the mind a break and relaxing in a meditative state, we can relief any stress and tension that may be causing our headache pain. It can also give us a boost of energy to get through our day, because you feel so refreshed and rejuvenated after a quick sess. 5-10 mins daily should help relieve tension and stress headaches.
  • Acupuncture- acupuncture is a treatment that involves fine needles being placed in the skin in certain areas to help relieve pain and other ailments. Studies show that many people experience great pain relief after having acupuncture.  Evidence shows that this technique releases endorphins which relieve stress and pain. The best part is acupuncture is quite long lasting with some studies showing pain relief for months.

alternative therapies treat migraines

Caution

Just because alternative treatments are more natural does not mean you can dive right in, make sure you are going to an accredited therapist, tell them any meds you are on and any medical conditions, some treatments can interact with your medications and existing lifestyle, so it’s always better to be safe then sorry.

No matter the cause of your headache there is an alternative treatment out there for you, you just need to give it a go. Once you see the results you will be kicking yourself for not trying it earlier.

Posted on Leave a comment

Natural Alternatives To Pain Medication

Everyone hates pain whether it be a headache, toothache, muscle pain or a sore back and our usual response is to reach for a pill. But this is not your only choice; natural remedies have been used for thousands of years and are becoming increasingly popular to treat a wide range of ailments. Here are my top 10 natural alternatives to pain medication and why you should give them a go.

natural alternatives pain medication

Why go natural?

Many medications cause dependency, side effects and interactions that most of us really don’t want. And sometimes our bodies really don’t need these drugs to heal. There are many ways to alleviate pain and not all of them involve downing a tablet. People have been using natural remedies for years and are still practicing them today. Although science isn’t completely up to date with natural remedies it is getting there and it is proving more and more that natural remedies may just be the answer to managing our pain.

natural alternatives pain medication

Natural alternatives

  • Willow bark

For centuries people have been using willow bark to treat inflammation (one of the main causes of pain). White willow bark contains the chemical silicin, which is very similar to the chemical found in aspirin. People used to chew the bark for pain relief but these days it comes in a dried form which can be made into a tea, it also comes in liquid and capsule form. Willow bark is quite good at treating headaches, lower back pain and other inflammatory related aches. Beware though, willow bark should only be used by adults as it is poisonous to children, it may also cause an upset stomach and prolonged bleeding just like aspirin does, so use minimally. It should also not be taken with other anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibroprofen.

  • Turmeric

Many of us know this spice as an additive to many Indian dishes. It contains the powerful antioxidant curcumin which is known to protect the body from free radicals. Turmeric is also used in treatments for ulcers, upset stomach and even cancer. Many people who suffer from osteoarthritis use turmeric because it is a powerful anti-inflammatory pain reliever. Turmeric can be used in cooking, brewed into a tea or bought in a capsule form.

  • Cloves

Cloves can be used to treat a wide range of conditions from easing nausea and treating colds to relieving pain from arthritis, toothaches and headaches. The active ingredients in cloves in eugenol, which can be found in many OTC pain relive creams and rubs. Cloves can come in a capsule, powder or oil form and can even be used to rub on your gums when you have a toothache. Keep in mind though that too much clove oil on your gums may be harmful and people with bleeding disorders or who are on blood thinning medications should stay away.

natural alternatives pain medication

  • Endorphins

Our own bodies are amazing machines and we actually have our own natural pain relievers called endorphins. Endorphins bind to the opioid receptors in our brains to block our perception of pain (like opioid pain relive such as morphine and oxycodone). When we increase our levels of endorphins we can actually decrease our pain and bring about feelings of pleasure and happiness. To release these endorphins into our system all you have to do is get your heart pumping for a period of time, exercise, dance, and jump around anything that gets that heart going. If you’re in too much pain to really get going, try something simpler like gentle water exercise.

  • Heat and ice

Although most of us use heat and ice packs at home, many of us aren’t completely sure as to which one we are meant to use and when. Basically ice is initially used to reduce swelling at the location of the pain, a strained muscle. Once the inflammation and swelling has gone down then heat will ease any stiffness and aches left at the site. Using ice on a headache for a short period can reduce the severity and length of a headache. If the pain is from arthritis them moist heat, like a heat pack or war damp cloth can greatly release your pain. Another time to use heat is for tight muscles for example, the day after a good workout we are usually sore and a heat pack can help with this, same for tight muscles like our necks and backs. Another use for heat is when we expectance period pain and cramps, a heat pack laid across our lower abdomen can ease period cramping.

  • Ginger

Ginger contains phytochemicals which can alleviate inflammation and pain especially in our joints and muscles. Like other herbal supplements ginger can help with other things too like easing nausea. Ginger can come as itself, a tea, lollies and a capsule.

  • essential oils

Essential oils are made from plant products and are shown to be quite beneficial. The best way to use essential oils for pain relief is topically. These oils are quickly absorbed and detected in plasma after topical use. The best essential oil ointments for pain relief are ginger, frankenscience, turmeric, myrrh and orange. For pain relief while you sleep you can burn essential oils in an oil burner beside your bed at night.

natural alternatives pain medication

  • Massage

Everyone loves a good massage, because they just make us feel better. A massage can have a tremendous effect on relieving pain from tension and tight muscles.  You can choose an experienced massage therapist who can loo for the source of your muscle pain and effectively relieve it, or massage yourself with your hands, a foam roller or a massage ball. The heat and kneading will release tension in muscles and have you feeling mush better.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese pain reliving technique that involves the use of fine needles placed in certain areas of the body to balance the body’s natural energy pathways, and to release tension and pain. Acupuncture is becoming a very popular way to treat chronic pain, anxiety, stress, depression and more. Acupuncture may also release serotonin, which is one of our bodies chemicals that make us feel good and relieve us from pain.

  • Probiotics

These are the bacteria that live in your gut and keep you healthy. When we take antibiotics or are sick our gut flora can become out of whack and therefore we need to take supplements of probiotics to restore it. Probiotics help relive inflammation which in turn can ease chronic pain. It can also help with the pain and bloating that comes along with irritable bowel syndrome.

natural alternatives pain medication

Caution

Even natural remedies can be harmful if not used correctly. Some natural products may interact with your existing medication, interact with each other, cause allergic reactions or have unwanted side effects. It is important to always read the label and use only as directed, and if you are on medication it’s a good idea to check with your DR to ensure there will be no harmful drug interactions.

natural alternatives pain medication

Not all pain relief is created equally and you may be pleasantly surprised at what can actually ease your pain. From herbs and spices to massage and acupuncture there is a natural pain reliever for everybody. Give these a try and see for yourself, what have you got to loose?

Posted on Leave a comment

Utilising the Power of the Pain Zone

the pain zone

the pain zone

Sometimes you give someone a piece of advice without realising the impact it may have on them. I’d like to share something with you that I told a close friend who said it was the number one piece of advice that enabled her to achieve her goal of becoming the Australasian Masters Figure Champ.

THE PAIN ZONE
Kerrie Lawrence, Former Australasian Masters Figure Champ

I’d like to tell you about something I call “The Pain Zone.” The pain zone is where you want to be. The pain zone is the ONLY time during a workout that ANYTHING positive is actually happening. Everything else you do in the gyms ONLY purpose is to get you to the pain zone.

Let me explain; we all know what sets and reps are, but these numbers mean nothing at all unless they are leading you into the pain zone and keeping you there. I’ll use the bicep curl as an example. Your average gym goer (let’s call him Bob) will have a preset number of sets and reps in his head; let’s say its 4 sets of 10 reps in this instance. Bob will begin his set; quite easily cruising through reps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 then he gets to rep 7… it’s a little harder. Bob gets to rep 8… that’s getting tough. Rep 9… Wow that burns. Rep 10… That really kills! (Bob is now in the pain zone). But what does bob do? He stops! Bob managed to get to a point where something good was about to start happening and he stopped! Every rep until that points only purpose was to get bob to the pain zone and he gave up once he was there… now he has to start again and guess what, as soon as he gets to the pain zone he will stop again. Bob will continue to do this set after set, exercise after exercise, year after year. He will have wasted hours of his life in the gym and he will never change.

the pain zone

When you reach the pain zone you want to stay in it as long as go can. The longer you can endure being in the pain zone the more micro tears that will occur in the muscle and therefore the more it will grow. If Bob had managed to go to rep 11, 12, 13 or 14 every single time he would have seen results phenomenally faster than giving up once he reached the pain zone. Here’s the thing about the pain zone, the longer you stay in it the more torturous it becomes, it becomes agonising. Every sinew in your body will tell you to stop and rest but you must have the mental strength to overcome that and stay there, stay as long as you can, do as many reps as you can. Even if you can’t make a full rep, continue to blast out half or even quarter reps. this needs to be your mindset. This is why we say it’s a mental game. How much torture can you inflict on yourself?

Knowing about the pain zone an how to utilise it may be the most powerful tool you have when it comes to your future workouts, use it.

the pain zone