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Pain Management with Ayurveda

Do you have pain in your neck, back, or shoulders? Do you suffer from a stress injury, fibromyalgia, migraines, or osteoarthritis? According to national studies, at least one person in America’s families suffers from chronic pain. Of these, 78 percent are so unhappy with their conventional pain-control medications. Over 80 percent believe their pain is something they have to live with. Ayurveda has a different point of view. Pain is one of the most common reasons that people ask medical help. Most of the time, it's neglected or frequently prescribed with pain killers. But this has led to a significant cause of addiction and death by overdose.

Ayurveda approaches pain management holistically, emphasizing the body, mind, and spiritual well being. The brain contains many pain-relieving chemicals, and these can be triggered mentally. In Ayurveda, the first line of treatment starts with understanding the root cause and altogether avoiding it.

Here are some reasons why how Ayurveda can help promote positive pain management.

  • Ayurvedic remedies are kinder and cause fewer side effects than conventional medicines

  • It doesn’t suppress the symptoms; it treats the underlying cause

  • It gives long-lasting cure

  • It is patient-specific and customized.

Therapeutic Procedures For Pain Management In Ayurveda

  1. Abhyanga/ massage: This therapeutic procedure includes lubrication of the body herbal with medicated oil. To understand the pacification of pain by massage, we need to know the Neuro-hormonal effect within the body. Neuro-hormonal effects are established, which increases levels of Dopamine, increases the availability of serotonin, may elevate epinephrine (adrenaline) and releases endorphins. (Research conducted at TOUCH Research Institute at the University of Miami). All these neuro-hormones alter brain chemistry which in turn reduces response to pain sensation

  2. Swedana/ herbal steam: Steam implies hot fomentation, which helps in inducing sweating to the patient. The role of Swedana is best understood with Transient Receptor Potential Channels. These receptors are mainly found in nociceptive neurons of peripheral nervous system TRPV1 channels are responsible for the perception of heat and pain, both thereby facilitating the role of Swedana in the management of pain.

  3. Lepankarma: Lepankarma is an application of medicated herbal paste on the affected area. Mode of action of Lepankarma can be explained with the help of the Transdermal absorption of drugs. Topical medications or applications can lead to neuronal stimulation.

  4. Kati Basti: is a procedure in which warm medicated oil is kept over the lumbosacral area or any adjacent part for a certain period of time with the help of a specially formed frame ring prepared from black gram powder. Warming exhibits sedative effect via sensory nerve ends and promotes vasodilation, which later causes a reduction in muscle spasm. Whereas, hot fomentation and absorption of oil through dermis causes vasodilation which increases blood circulation and nutrition to the tissue

  5. Basti karma: This is an Ayurvedic enema therapy. As you read this, you may hesitate to take up a remedy that involves administering medicines through the anal route but Enema in Ayurveda is practiced in a very therapeutic way and with a lot of hygiene. The sensation of pain is attributed to vitiated Vata Dosha(air element imbalance), and to correct this doshic imbalance, Basti is the chief treatment as the intestine is the origin of Vata dosha. Probable mode of action of Basti and mediation in Pain management is that the rectum has rich blood and lymph supply. The herbal oil used in this procedure can readily be absorbed from the rectal mucosa. Researches show that therapeutic enema regulates the sympathetic activity, thereby balancing the autonomic nervous system.

Herbal supplements for pain and musculoskeletal disorder:

Ayurveda advises herbal supplements after external body treatments. This primarily aims to correct the vitiated Vata Dosha( air element) due to the catabolic process and palliative drugs used to correct this Doshic imbalance thereby, to resolve pain and inflammation.

Lifestyle Intervention & Yoga Therapy for Pain Management:

Diet plays a significant role in the management of pain and musculoskeletal illness. Hence Ayurveda's dietic plan will be customized for every individual during the treatment. Food and diet depend on the body typology(constitution) and the imbalance dosha involved in the illness.

Daily gentle Practice of Yoga and meditation will help to attain physical and mental well-being. Apart from Yoga & Meditation practices, the technique of being Mindfulness helps a person to deal with the pain more efficiently.

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