by Sidney McDonald



Chronic pain is pain that lasts for several weeks. There are varying concepts on the timing factor, but, in general, chronic pain is that which lasts past normal healing. It is a complex and subjective phenomenon. The International Association for the Study of Pain uses the following definition: ”Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.” In medical diagnosis, pain is regarded as a symptom of an underlying condition.

Pain is a major symptom in many, many medical conditions and issues. It can inhibit general, normal functioning and seriously affect quality of life. Pain is the mechanism by which the body signals damage and/or potential damage. It is a communication system which keeps the body safe and informed against being harmed, injured and compromised.  Pain that resolves rather quickly is called ACUTE versus pain that lasts a long time called CHRONIC (or persistent).

Sometimes chronic pain can begin with no obvious cause or beginning. For many people, though, it starts after an injury or because of health issues. Some of the leading causes include:
Past injuries or surgeries
Back problems
Migraines and other headaches
Nerve damage

Chronic pain can range from mild to severe.  The pain can feel like:
A dull ache

Often chronic pain will be just one of several symptoms, which may include
Feeling very tired or wiped out…low on energy all the time
Not feeling hungry…not having much of an appetite
Having trouble sleeping….waking up tired
Experiencing mood changes….not feeling yourself
Feeling weak….not having much strength to do anything much
A lack of energy….not inspired to do much of anything

Chronic pain will affect your mental health. It can cause you to not do things you want to do or need to do. It can make you angry. It can make you depressed. It can make you feel anxious. It can give you feelings of frustration. It can often interfere with your sexual capabilities. It definitely affects your daily life and living.

So much for defining chronic pain    There are statistics that say up to 53% Americans suffer chronic pain. The question is actually just what can be done about chronic pain. Allopathic (Western) medicine has come up with all manner and sorts of therapies and techniques to manage/eliminate pain. These obviously include pain pills….which have led to our current widespread opioid epidemic. Others include electrical stimulation and surgery.    Modern medicine is doing great research on pain. Its secrets are being unlocked and treatments are becoming more effective, finally.

As a massage therapist, my therapies are Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) modalities. Other holistic modalities which have proven effective helping to manage chronic pain include: Tai Chi .. Yoga .. Acupuncture/acupressure .. Chiropractic .. Hypnosis .. Guided imagery .. Biofeedback .. Aromatherapy .. Relaxation ..  Meditation .. Herbal remedies. The advantages CAM modalities have over Western medical practices lies in the absence of side effects, after effects or serious contraindications (other than the obvious). You will never have reason to regret trying any CAM modality. They have no drawbacks when intelligently approached.

One of the primary and not so obvious effects of CAM modalities (besides being hands on) is that you are transcended into the parasympathetic mode. This is our bodies’ ‘rest and relax’ or ‘rest and digest’ mode of being. This is the state in which our body heals itself and does the routine maintenance procedures necessary for life and living. This is the state we slip into when we sleep. This is the state in which we can best affect our inner selves and healing. 

My chosen CAM modality is massage. My goals for clients who present with chronic pain issues are to locate the actual (often hidden) causative factors. And when they are ascertained, we utilize the most appropriate therapies to minimize and eliminate those factors as best we can. This helps return more and better quality of life to my clients. These therapies are not one off strategies. Chronic pain, by definition, occurs over time. Solving for it takes time, effort and concentration. Some concessions may need to be made with your lifestyles and living, but that’s to be expected as with most solutions. It is all about your level of commitment to yourself and your future.

My suggestion to you if you are suffering chronic pain issues and your doctors have not solved it….then research and talk to holistic practitioners.       We love to listen to your issues.      Call us and share your issues.      Contact us and let us hear what ails you.          As more and more research is being done on acute and chronic pain, we are able to be more and more successful in relieving pain symptoms and returning quality of life to our clients.

You owe it to yourself.

Massage by HARAMBE

Sidney McDonald             412.654.3749