Pain is a complex health issue that affects our ability to perform acts of daily living. According to Health Canada, 1 in 5 Canadians experience chronic pain; this increases to 1 in 3 Canadians over the age of 65. Studies show that women and people with socioeconomic disadvantages are disproportionately affected by chronic pain. Apart from physical limitations, persistent pain can affect our productivity, mental health and social life.
Adequate and proactive pain management is essential to maintaining quality of life. Whether you are recovering from an injury, healing from surgery, or living with chronic pain, it usually isn’t as simple as taking a pill. Solutions for discomfort tend to vary from person to person. In addition to support from health care professionals, there are a variety of activities and tools you can use to ease pain.
Pain Management Tools and Therapies
Stay Physically Active
Staying physically active is a very important element that applies to all ages. Being inactive can lead to stiff muscles, decreased mobility and limited strength. This can cause or contribute to pain.
Introducing physical activities can help with inflamed muscles. Low impact activities like walking or swimming are great starting points when being newly active while strengthening exercises help stabilize the joints to possibly prevent future injuries. It is recommended to begin with stretching and slowly progressing to lifting higher weights. For the best results, it is ideal to take part in both cardio and strengthening exercises.
Products like walking poles, resistance bands, and weights can help us stay physically active in a safe way.
Hot and Cold Therapy Treatments
Hot and cold therapy treatments are commonly used for pain and can help with inflammation. They come in a variety of sizes and some are even specific to the area of concern.
Cold therapy helps with acute pain and swelling by reducing nerve activity and blood flow to the desired area. Heat therapy helps with stiffness and muscle pain by increasing circulation and blood flow which soothes and relaxes the muscles. Many people treat pain using a combination of hot and cold therapy.
Therapeutic MassageTherapeutic Massage is ideal for soft tissue pain, particularly in the neck, shoulders, back, and legs. It helps by relaxing the muscles and tissues while increasing overall circulation. Massage can also increase endorphins that ease pain like serotonin and dopamine.
Techniques like neuromuscular, acupressure and shiatsu exist for optimal results and to cater to every individual's preference. A wide range of massage tools are also available for purchase so you can find relief right at home.
Nerve and Muscle Stimulation (TENS and EMS)TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units work by sending small, user-controlled electrical impulses through adhesive patches applied to the area of concern. These electrical impulses help reduce the body’s pain signals to ease discomfort. It is ideal for people dealing with arthritis, fibromyalgia and nerve pain.
EMS (electronic muscle stimulation) units provide stronger electrical impulses and are used to promote muscle contractions in order to improve athletic performance and recovery. Many devices have both TENS and EMS capabilities for optimum results.
Experiencing some form of pain throughout your life is inevitable and there are a wide range of solutions to complement or reduce the use of pain medications. Paying attention to what your body is saying can help you stay active and enjoy life to the fullest. Let the professionals at Healthcare Solutions help you find ways to manage your pain this summer season.
This information is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Always consult your physician before making any healthcare decisions.