For many people chronic pain is a day-to-day reality which makes them miserable. So I wanted to take a look at a new theory on chronic pain and the natural ways to find some relief.
There are two different nerve fibres which transmit pain messages – A fibres and C fibres. The A fibres are used by the body in sudden sharp pain, when we injure ourselves. Messages travel up the A fibres, from the injury site, to the spine and up to the brain at about 40mph.
C fibres are used for chronic throbbing pain with problems like fibromyalgia and arthritis. This pain message travels at around 3mph.
As pain messages are travelling up the spinal column they encounter ‘pain gates’ along the way. If the pain gate is open then the pain message can pass through and travel up to the brain giving rise to the sensation of pain. However, if the pain gate is closed then the pain message is slowed and could even be stopped completely. How do we do that – serotonin.
Serotonin is one of our important ‘feel good’ brain chemicals which travels to the brain even faster than pain messages and can close the pain gate on its way along the spinal column. Some of the best ways of naturally increasing serotonin include:
Hypnosis – Solution Focussed Hypnotherapy helps people to look at the positives in their life. It is a well documented and effective therapy to help in stress management, anxiety control and in lifting mood.
One lady who came to see me was suffering with chronic pain. During her therapy we realised that a lot of her issues were related to her anxiety and tension, so we looked at ways to relax and calm her. Over the course of just four treatments she became much happier and more relaxed and as a result her pain levels decreased.
Natural remedies – one herb many of my clients have reported as being helpful is Hypericum or St John’s Wort. Hypericum is traditionally used to help reduce anxiety and lift mood, this is largely because it has been said to help increase serotonin production. This is why it is sometimes suggested to help relieve problems like nerve pain and fibromyalgia.
Another option is the remedy 5HTP, which is the amino acid the brain uses to actually produce serotonin. Again many people have reported benefits from taking this remedy, the main report being that of a lift in the mood.
(It should be noted that neither of these supplements should be used by someone who is already using an anti-depressant from the doctor.)