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Preventing Acute Pain from Becoming Chronic Pain

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Injured joint. Young woman patient in pain having painful shoulder colored in red. Medicine and health care concept. Gray background

Two days ago I took a hard fall.  I twisted my ankle in a parking lot.  I was thrown off balance and slammed very hard into the asphalt, injuring my right arm and shoulder.  I had scraped a large chunk of skin off my elbow through two layers of clothing and my arm and shoulder were throbbing.

I was about five miles from home but I couldn’t return home right away because I was in the middle of helping a friend negotiate a car lease.  I told the salesman about my injury and he offered me an ice pack, which I accepted.  I also reached into my purse for the homeopathic remedy arnica, which is good for bruises, sprains and strains, and took a dose.  Homeopathic remedies are not symptom suppressive like pharmaceuticals.  They work on the principle of like cures like, and are highly diluted substances that if taken at full strength would cause your symptoms. Instead, in their diluted form, they gently stimulate your body’s healing system to do its work.

It was very painful to drive home.  My arm and shoulder were still throbbing and my range of motion in my arm was limited, making it difficult to use the steering wheel. When I got home, I took out my low level laser device, which uses light in the red and near infrared spectrum to reduce inflammation and speed healing.  I used it on the wound on my elbow and on the painful areas of my arm and shoulder. I also took some kratom, a Southeast Asian herb that works very well for reducing pain.  In a short time I was much more comfortable.

I was scheduled to attend a party that night, but when I tried to change my clothes, my limited range of motion made taking clothes on and off very painful.  I decided to relax at home instead.  I watched an uplifting movie and a couple of prerecorded episodes of my favorite comedy show.  I chose, instead of worrying about my injury, to take my mind off of it and do some laughter therapy, which helps your body to produce endorphins, the body’s own pain reliever.

Before I went to bed, I did another laser therapy session and took another dose of arnica, as well as another homeopathic remedy that is good for inflammation, ruta.  I could have taken ibuprofen, but I knew it would not have the healing effects of the homeopathics and it can, even with short term use, increase the risks of heart attack and stroke.  My family history is rampant with heart disease.

The next day was a beautiful spring day and normally I would have been out riding my bike but my arm was too sore, so I took a walk instead, soaking up some healing sun, after doing some gentle movements to loosen up my stiff arm, taking more arnica and ruta and doing another laser treatment session.  I also did some gentle self-massage.

Today I was somewhat better.  I did another laser therapy session this morning and took another dose of arnica and ruta.  I normally swim laps most weekdays, and I knew some movement was good, but I wasn’t up to my usual pace and distance.  I started out in the whirlpool, relaxing the sore muscles in my arm and shoulder, swam one quarter of my usual distance with somewhat compromised movement and was back in the whirlpool and then took a hot shower.

Tomorrow I’ll schedule an appointment with my chiropractor because the fall might have twisted my spine out of alignment and I’m feeling like nerve impingement might be part of the problem.  My chiropractor was closed today.  I’m already feeling much better and I intend to keep it that way.

I realize how fortunate I am that I have the knowledge and resources to treat myself this well.  I believe that because I have these advantages it is highly unlikely that I will ever end up in another bout of chronic pain like the back pain I suffered decades ago that disabled me for more than three years.

I believe that every person should have access to these healing therapies for both acute and chronic pain.  If everyone had these options, many fewer individuals would develop chronic pain.  I have developed a legislative proposal and a petition for a Pain Treatment Parity Act that would require insurance companies to pay for alternative treatments.  You can read and sign the petition here:  change.org.

If you would like to know more about safe, effective alternative treatment options, read my book, The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments.
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