Pain Management with natural solutions

 In the UK Hundreds of billions of pounds per year are spent on pain (like prescription, absence, social benefits, long term sick pay) and this figure is bigger than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined. 

Did you know that 85% of the UK population will have suffered from a headache in the last 12 months?  And 38% of adults in the last 2 weeks, it’s a symptom, but what are the root causes? 

 Pain is a serious concern & within Aromatherapy we have good answers

 Painkillers are targeting the pain and not the root of the problem, the condition that triggers the pain is still there with or without paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin. Statistics show that they are addictive, they are toxic to our organs over time, and don’t improve the conditions that causes pain.

 Inflammation is the way the body respond to damage or threat, if it continues beyond the healing process point it gives rise to a considerable amount of pain. 

Essential oils like Chamomile, Lavender or Peppermint that are anti-inflammatory and detoxifying can deliver an analgesic effect, improving or resolving many pain issues, targeting the root of the problem without the nasty side effects. 

 I call it “80/20 Balance”, if 80% of the time we can use something natural then we leave the other 20% for when we absolutely need a paracetamol, in this way we reduce the toxic load, we reduce the side-effects (ulcers, high blood pressure, kidney damage) and the potential addiction in the future.

Our cells are the building blocks that make up our entire body. The amazing thing about essential oils is that they work at a cellular level reducing inflammation, detoxifying, triggering powerful healing responses.

Most common headaches can be easily traced to an immediate cause like fatigue, staffing rooms, eyestrain, neck tension and posture. 

It’s also good to look for triggers like bad lighting, household chemicals, hypertension, muscular tension, stress, nasal congestion, infections, poor diets, jaws grinding, clenching, hormonal imbalance, dehydration, fluctuation during pregnancy, artificial smells of candles or sprays.  

Let’s touch base on the different types of headaches: 

 

Tension headaches:

Out of the great range of analgesic oils, those which seem to be most effective are Chamomile, Lavender and Peppermint.

 A mixture of Lavender and Peppermint in equal proportions is very effective.

It is also worth noting that while Lavender is a sedative, Peppermint is a stimulant, and many commercial headache remedies combine a stimulant usually caffeine with one or more analgesics. This is because many of the painkilling drugs have a slightly sedative and sometimes even a depressant effect, and the caffeine is included to counteract this.

By using Lavender and Peppermint a similar effect is produced without the dangers inherent in synthetic drugs.Cold compresses around the neck or on the forehead. Alternatively, easy application with roller bottle at the back of neck.  Cold compresses with Rosemary especially if the headache follows a period of mental effort. 

For children:  Peppermint is a bit strong specially if you use it quite often so considering lavender and chamomile for a young kid or a teenager.

 

Migraines:

Aromatherapy is better used as a preventative measure than as an attempted treatment for migraine. Once a migraine attack has begun, many sufferers are unable to tolerate the smell of essential oils or anybody touching their heads.

If the person can bear to be touched, and is not troubled by smells you can use the following measures at the first onset of an attack: 

  • Cold compresses made with equal proportions of Lavender and Peppermint placed across the forehead and temples and changed frequently as soon as they begin to warm up.
  • Many migraines seem to be due to restricted blood supply to the brain, and a hot or at least warm compresses with Marjoram essential oil on the back of the neck will increase the flow of blood to the head. Marjoram is a vasodilator and the warmth of the compress also helps.

 

Be mindful of possible triggers:  my youngest was suffering from migraines after a long day and I was convinced it was stress but when we went to see a doctor and he suggested a journal detailing specific foods, she discovered that chocolate, orange juice, cheese and sweets might contribute to migraine attacks.  Journaling is a good technique to crack the triggers. 

As migraines are often associated with tension and stress: 

👉a good preventative measure is regular massages with emphasis on any muscular tension in the shoulders and neck. 

👉Take a mindful moment and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, our “rest and a digest” system “the calming one” by taking deep breaths and exhale through the mouth.  

👉Apply pressure behind ears, activating the “vagus nerve” before meals. You are able to digest better even under stress. Poor digestion can trigger a headache or a migraine.

👉 More tips to tackle stress: https://www.clarisaayllon.com/stress-management/

 

Sinus headaches:  

 If the headache is caused by catarrh or sinus infection, inhalations with Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary or Eucalyptus will usually be very effective in both relieving the headache and clearing the congestion that is causing it.  

 

Examples of inhalations: a drop in a tissue, several drops in a nasal inhaler and carry them with you, steam inhalation 3 or 4 times a day.

 

 All these oils are antiseptic and will combat the nasal infection as well as giving immediate relief of symptoms.

Avoid the build-up of mucus, check your neck regularly, if it is tense, massage it to allow the mucus to drain. 

Build-up of mucus + infections = sinusitis. A completely different and painful ailment. 

 

Lower back pain: here are some practical tips:

👉Wobble cushions 

Wobble cushions creates an unstable surface to sit on. The purpose of the product is to make your sitting an active chore exercise for your back muscles.  By using your abdominal muscles (chore) your back muscles relax.

 

Less stiffness at the end of the day in the lower back and it does not travel up to your neck causing a possible headache. They are quite affordable (£11 in amazon). 

Can also be suitable for children with ADHD or hyperactive kids. It is thought that these children are using the movement the cushion provides to help hem staying alert. 

 

👉 Enkephalins (very scientific name) stop the pain message getting to the brain. They block the pain signal.  Exercise produce enkephalins. Its good to mix our online work with a walk, movement, a yoga class, or just stretches allowing the production of enkephalins naturally, hence pain sensations.

 

The brain perceives pain as Danger.  Remember, the more stress we are the more pain we feel. The more in danger our brain feels. By choosing tools to relax we are reducing the sensation of aches and pains, the brain senses less danger and we are creating a positive spiral. 

   “The greatest wealth is Health” 

Want to learn more? 

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