Entries in alternative medicine (4)


Alternative Treatment for Pain Management: Hot Yoga

Yoga by Augusto Mia BattagliaBy April 

Recently I have returned to my hot yoga practice, in some instances I realize I must strengthen my weaker arm consistently to restore my strength. I dare to hold each pose with real body power as I visualize a much more fit version of myself. I’ve listened to the hot yoga instructors words as we attempt each pose with much determination. I hear the instructor gently assist our inner doubts, “roll your arms under your body face down on the floor, this will be very therapeutic if you have any minor injuries”, she mentions. Ahhh… what a relief I think to myself. I am really assisting in my bodies recovery is what I am thinking during the entire 90 minute hot yoga class. I understand that to some extent, some injuries may not be gently healed in a hot yoga class. However, for minor injuries I believe some sort of yoga practice, including more gentle types of yoga may be therapeutic. Healing the body from pain takes a lot of energy, hydration in the body and determination.  So be sure to give your body extra tender, loving, care as much as you can with your particular circumstance. Our bodies will thank us for consistently tending to it as our temple.

Bikram Choudhury started learning a Hatha type of yoga at age five. At age eleven Bikram was the youngest winner ever of a National India Yoga Competition. However at age twenty, Bikram suffered a weightlifting injury that crippled him. With the help of his guru, “Bishnu”, at age twenty Bikram created a twenty six posture yoga series and two breathing exercises that completely restored his health. This yoga is now called “Bikram Yoga”. Bikram Yoga is a 90 minute yoga class performed in a heated room, so being very hydrated is essential. Toxins are released during hot yoga, also the twenty six postures are all performed as a sequence to prevent illness, injury and limit the effects of aging. This type of yoga also creates balance and strength in the body.

If you find yourself interested in hot yoga for healing your body, find a local studio and try it out. I highly recommend checking with your doctor first before engaging in this type of exercise.

Here are a couple links for more information or to locate a convenient class:




Old, New, And Alternative Treatments For Pain Management

Massage Therapy, Michael Oh, FlickrIce, Ice Baby! 

Lying in a hospital bed, with close to twenty pounds on ice packed around my shattered leg, I wondered when humans first thought about using cold for pain therapy.

It has to have been used for thousands of years, in areas where it could be collected. At least the nurses covering me in ice didn't have to travel to a nearby glacier, chip away their supply, and haul it back to the sixth floor of Harborview Medical Center. 

Reducing swelling, pain and inflammation resulting from injury using cold therapy is a balancing act. Many people cannot tolerate ice on or near an injury for more than ten minutes at a time, while others can fall asleep and need to be monitored to avoid frostbite. It is up to the individual to determine how long they can deal with the cold and try to work within a range of ten to thirty minutes per session. Avoid heat on injuries for the first twenty-four hours or as recommended by your physician. While it may feel nice at first, heat can create more problems down the road.

Alternating Hot And Cold

Using a cold pack first then a hot pack later ( +24 hours post-injury or at doctor's advice) can often help relieve muscle and joint pain for me in about half an hour. A quick note about heat pads - microwave and electric heating pads are great if used according to instructions. Seriously, read the instructions. Severe burns and a worsening of your condition can quickly follow improper use of heat. If you do not have someone monitoring you while using heat, use timers capable of waking you up, should you fall asleep. You can get a serious burn while asleep that won't wake you up until too late, if at all. 

My wife fell asleep using an ultrasound device and suffered a serious burn to her shoulder that took weeks to heal, so be careful with other common machines used for pain control.

Seek medical attention if any unusual symptoms develop after a cold and heat session. Be sure to let doctors know exactly what you had been doing and for how long. Inform them of any and all medications, too. Don't forget about any herbal supplements or remedies in the disclosure as some have the ability to block or alter drugs and their effects.

Fish Oil

I had been taking a high quality fish oil capsule two or three times a day for about a year before I crashed my bike, and continue to take it daily.  The main reason was for heart health and inflammation reduction. One of the unintended benefits seems to be rapid healing and fading of the scars at the repair sites. 

The scars from the August 2010 surgeries are much less noticeable than my August 1979 football knee repairs. A woman who had a recent double knee replacement I would see at physical therapy asked me if I put some kind of anti-scar cream or something on my leg because she was noticing my scars fading much faster than hers. We had surgery about the same times and are roughly the same age.

While I will not name a brand of fish oil, I would recommend that any brand you try be of a high quality fish stock, like salmon or other omega-3 rich source fish, and a brand that is purified to remove unwanted elements. I works well for me, but my wife can't take any of the fish oil products without getting heartburn or the "fish burps".

Massage And Magnets

Healing massage can work wonders to get your blood and your joints moving again.

In my family, we have also used a couple of non-powered massage roller devices that have some fairly powerful magnets in them. I can't say that the magnets actually do anything, but the massaging action they give feels pretty terrific.

It is not unusual for the spouse receiving the roller massage to start snoring a few minutes into the session, so something relaxing is happening there.

The types of injuries I sustained were severe enough that blood clot formation was likely without blood thinner medication, so I could not use various massage devices until cleared to do so and neither should you, to help avoid possible complications. Check with your health care provider before using any device, powered or not, before using it anywhere near a seriously injured site.

Read Up On It But Don't Believe Everything You Read!

Check out your friends and relatives to see what they have tried out for pain relief then check that information against WebMD and other sites put up by the Mayo Clinic and the like.

Before subjecting yourself to additional risk of injury from an unproven therapy, Check It Out!  Got it?

Thanks again for checking us out!


Shoreline, WA


My Trusty Arm & My Shoulder Pain - April, Our New Writer on Hurt.com

Who likes to cook? I do most of the time. I vividly recall four years ago, rushing around in the kitchen to get breakfast on the table for my family. I wanted to make what we all consider a “Sunday” breakfast. Well, since at the time, my son was only one years old, I kept a baby safety gate up at the kitchen entry. I had the most wonderfully cooked breakfast made and ready to serve.

So, I like to believe I am not your average server. No, I am the ‘All mighty super mom super server’ right. I take not one, but two plates, one in each hand. I also have a tall cup of orange juice tucked inside my inner elbow on the right. If you can visualize that, I then attempt to step over the baby gate with two plates and a cup of orange juice in tow. The top of my right foot didn’t quite make it over the baby gate, and so I completely lost my balance. As I destabilized, there was no way for me to break my fall and since I was holding so much, my right shoulder had to break my fall. Ouch! My right shoulder slammed into the ground and the last thing on my mind was how much pain was to come from this injury.

I started to get chronic pain radiating through my right shoulder at night, it was sort of a burning sensation in the beginning. I noticed that my pain would come in waves. The pattern of when my pain would emerge was every few months. Since my pain was so seldom in the beginning, I found myself dismissing it or thinking it would just go away. After a year of having shoulder pain every few months, I noticed the pain occurrence had shifted to every month for a couple days long. I do not recommend ignoring chronic pain, or toughing it out, but that is what I did for the first two years and it was because my pain would come and go.

Mentioning my pain began one year ago at a regular yearly medical check-up with a Family Physician doctor.  I brought up my concerns about my shoulder pain and surprisingly I didn’t get much response regarding a diagnosis. After my yearly medical check-up, I self referred to a Sports Medicine doctor to get an x ray of my shoulder. I remember being so excited when I went to see the Sports Medicine doctor. I thought, finally I am going to get a diagnosis and treatment options. X rays were taken, the doctor then told me that the x ray only shows bone, not tissue damage. So, I was told that nothing was fractured. That was good news to me for starters. However, I was told by this particular physician that the reason my pain would only surface a couple days a month is because of the water retention that women experience. She prescribed me a diuretic to decrease water retention. I chose not to try the diuretic she prescribed to me because I wanted the chance to look into Alternative therapies. I started reading books and doing a little research on Alternative therapies.

I started doing gentle stretches on my arm and shoulder, using smaller weights at the gym and naturally going easy on my arm. Over time, I notice my pain slowly decrease in frequency and duration. I also came across a sample of Tiger Balm, which created a cool, tingly sensation for pain relief. Tiger Balm is a balm made by a Chinese herbalist and is an analgesic remedy for pain relief. I found it to be a good product. Please check with your doctor before using Tiger Balm or any product though. To find out more  information about this product, please visit: www.tigerbalm.com

WHY WRITE ON HURT.COM: I wanted the opportunity to share my experience with pain. I also wanted to share tips from how I dealt with pain. I believe there is more than one way to find pain relief and I believe in getting second opinions. Writing for hurt.com is a chance to share information, solutions, and to discuss the many remedies out there for pain relief. Although, I am highly interested in Alternative medicine, I do recognize the importance of seeing your regular Physician and taking medication as necessary.



Understanding Chronic Pain in Time Magazine

Very interesting and timely issue on March 7, 2011 in Time Magazine.  

There are series of interesting articles linked below:

Healing the Hurt (Health Special)
Finding new ways to treat pain

The End of Ouch? (Health Special)
Not quite, but for people who suffer from chronic pain, there are now more ways than ever to get relief

Living with Pain (Health Special)
What happens when you can't make it go away?

Beyond Drugs (Health Special)
How alternative treatments can ease pain

Highlights from our point of view:

  • 76 million Americans suffer with chronic pain each year
  • 10% of people who have surgery will suffer from generalized pain for there lifetime.
  • 20% of cancer patients will suffer from pain for more than 2 years after surgery or chemotherapy.
  • 80% of people suffering from pain never seek treatment
  • Alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy, biofeedback, and natural therapies are gaining more and more acceptance as valuable complements to a more traditional allopathic pain management program.