What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain and overall body inflammation are at the root of any disease process, especially so in cases of pain. Inflammation is one of the main causative factors of disease. Chronic pain suffers can rarely get off pain medications until the inflammation is resolved. While inflammation is a protective mechanism, hanging around for too long after the healing process has completed will lead to scar tissue and inflammation remaining. This creates ‘congestion’ in the system which perpetuates the pain and inflammation, preventing the body from returning to a state of wellness.
How is chronic pain diagnosed?
Pain is varied in experience and can be stemming from several different etiological conditions. The whole person must be taken into consideration and evaluated to properly address the root cause as quickly and effectively as possible. Chronic pain can be sharp or shooting, dull or sharp. It can occur in the bones, nerves, or tissues. It can be in the pelvis, abdomen, back, or joints. Chronic pain can take many forms.
Folks in pain can expect to feel sore when waking up with tight muscles, headaches, popping sounds in the joints, inability to touch ones’ toes, back aches, numbness, etc. These all stem from lack of circulation and blood flow, too much scar tissue, and inflammation in and around the ‘bull’s-eye’ areas of pain. Over time, scar tissue and adhesions that have formed from longstanding inflammation become ‘glue or cement’ like in the body prohibiting proper circulation.
The most humane thing Dr. Skip, O.M.D., can do for you in these instances is to recommend therapies and natural options to soothe inflammation, increase the circulation in your body and promote healing. Please remember never to stop any medications prescribed by your doctors. Dr. Skip is happy to coordinate care with your other providers and he is trained in both Western and Eastern modalities to help guide you in all of the options available to you. If you are experiencing any bodily pain, then Functional Medicine may be for you. By identifying areas out of homeostasis, we can repair your foundation. For example, healing the gut, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system through this methodology can offer significant long-term health benefits and chronic pain relief.
Treatment Options We Often Employ Include:
- Percussive Therapy: With the use of medical equipment that delivers waves of percussive impulses deep into the tissues of the body we increase blood flow to the area causing pain relief and an increasing range of motion and function.
- Acupuncture or Sonopuncture: Acupuncture is very effective in pain relief. It is very gentle and painless. Sonopuncture offers pain therapy without needles and uses tuning forks in its place. Most all recipients of this therapy are asleep or deeply relaxed within minutes of beginning the session. Auricular Therapy applies tiny seeds that apply pressure on acupuncture points in the ear. This treatment for pain is widely used in Veteran care and is taught as Battlefield Acupuncture and NADA therapies nationwide.
- Acupoint Injection Therapy (Wet Needling): places medicinal substances like herbs, anti-inflammatories, homeopathics and other ‘supplementation’ in the form of sterile compounds along with lidocaine, into acupuncture points by means of hypodermic needles. Acupoint injections are used in acute instances, to achieve more immediate effects that may otherwise take multiple standard acupuncture treatment sessions.
- Visceral manipulation (Tui Na) or Gua Sha: can be employed to increase circulation to reduce pain and inflammation. It is very effective in instances of digestive pain, endometriosis, PCOS, painful periods and low back pain. This technique breaks up the scar tissue that is often responsible for chronic pain. By breaking up the scaring we truly give the body what it needs to heal and to ultimately handle inflammation. Gua Sha is a Chinese Medical technique to release adhesions from blood stasis trapped within stiff injured and sore muscle areas to stimulate oxygenated blood flow to those areas. This promotes healing, quicker recovery, and regeneration.
- Moxibustion: a form of heat therapy is a technique in Chinese Medicine whereby botanical medicine known as mugwort is burned and used over the body to warm, increase circulation, remove/reduce stagnation, reduce pain and muscle tension by using specific acupuncture points prescribed for their individual functionality. It is very relaxing and effective.
- Infrared Heat Therapy: applies Far Infrared Ray heat to reduce stress and fatigue, support the immune system, improve sleep (if associated with pain relief), reduce inflammation (where applied), and increase tissue oxygen (due to increased circulation where applied).
- Oxygen Therapy: administered with a mask you increase blood oxygen levels to increase circulation to promote a healing response and minimize soreness from any bodywork.
At-home Care: Patients are provided with an at-home protocol and diet plan to reduce inflammation and to manage their pain on their own. Here are a few highlights:
- DMSO for chronic pain: Visit Dr. Stanley Jacob’s body of works on DMSO for a wealth of information from one of the pioneers in clinically using this pain relief therapy, with extraordinary results I might add. He was featured on 60 minutes many moons ago. Dr. Stanley Jacob has retired and left in his wake an amazing substance that provides so much relief with little more than skin irritation as a side effect. This product should not be ignored or underestimated. Please discuss its use with Dr. Skip before starting to make sure the correct strength and consistency is recommended for maximum effects. Many places reference this being toxic or dangerous. This simply is not true. Yes, skin irritation is likely but transient and manageable.
- CBD Products: Topical CBD, along with other analgesics, have been found very effective in pain relief. We have practitioner-grade products available for patient at-home care from our Special Orders. This may help address the pain symptom, but our office will want you to consider labs to discover the root cause of the pain.
- Magnesium Supplementation: This mineral, vital for almost all of our bodily processes, is integral to gaining control of pain and inflammation. It is depleted when using pharmaceuticals and while consuming a typical American diet. It soothes muscle aches and pains, especially for people suffering from fibromyalgia. Magnesium is poorly absorbed through oral routes of administration. We offer an oral supplement with 3 different forms of the most powerfully absorbed forms magnesium available. Outside of absorbing about 25-30% of what you are taking orally, using transdermal magnesium through the skin is by far and away the most effective means by which to absorb, utilize and normalize your low magnesium levels. Even those deemed ‘healthy’ in the general population are still estimated to be about 80% magnesium deficient. That is too high. If you are in pain, the pain alone is indicative of the deficiency. Click here to learn more about magnesium levels and hormonal impacts.
- Bodywork: Vibracussion with modernization of Tui Na for joints, bones and muscles. This can be focused on the area of pain or full body for lymphatic drainage and improved circulation.
- Oxygen Therapy: will be administered to further increase the effectiveness of the bodywork and blood oxygen optimization while reducing soreness and bruising.
- Heat Therapy: in preparation for the bodywork.
- Relaxation / Pain Tincture: provided before each treatment session.
- DMSO, Magnesium, or Progesterone with Aromatherapy for pain, as needed.
- Acupuncture or Trigger Point (Acu-Point) Injection for pain and inflammation, as needed.
- Single dose of high potency systemic enzymes for acute inflammation, if needed.
- Single dose hydration beverage provided post treatment to minimize lactic acid buildup and soreness.
- Ear Acupuncture aka Auricular Therapy administered via ear seeds for continued pain relief post treatment,
- Pain Protocol & Discharge Instructions provided for continued care at-home.
- Pain Specific / Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan for at-home use.
Please note: Due to the time needed to administer the treatment, you will need a full 60 minutes, so please make sure you are not strapped for time.
*Additional TCM Rx’s, Supplements and Lab Work (functional and hormone) costs are additional and prescribed based on need.
Fatigue, hypertension, anxiety, anger, frustration, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and depression are also commonplace among people suffering in pain. This can be worse depending on the quantities of opioid based prescription meds needed to calm pain receptors. We make every effort to address these circumstances as aggressively as the pain itself.
Please remember while medications can be effective in controlling pain they do nothing to address any underlying issues such as the inflammation that could be perpetuating your problem and keeping you from healing. Please don’t forget the worst side effect is the very high addictive and abuse potential of these meds. These factors make them extremely unfriendly for anyone to use more than a few days or weeks as a stop gap.
Natural methods such as acupressure, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage and other manual therapies are by far and away much more beneficial to increasing circulation to the joints and muscles keeping them supple, lubricated and flexible. They just take time, tenacity, and consistency. Please don’t give up.
Inactivity for prolonged periods drastically increases lactic acid buildup, congested circulation and blocked lymphatic fluid, all contributing to increased incidences of pain and stagnation in the body. After a catastrophic diagnosis like cancer or after a major surgery, we tend towards laxity and instead of pursuing aggressive methods to facilitate the healing process. When the pain gets really bad, we don’t get the right kind of help to keep the inflammation under control which can also keep our joints and muscles mobile and working.