While revelations gained from brain imagery offer future hope for more effective pain management techniques for people who suffer from chronic pain, including cancer patients (see our previous post), taking a holistic approach to pain management currently offers the most successful pain relief.
Holistic medicine is actually a medical philosophy rather than a type of medicine. The holistic approach considers 5 important factors that affect an individual’s overall health and well-being:
Scientific research is beginning to prove what Issels patients and Issels cancer treatment teams know to be true from experiential evidence: that a holistic approach seeking to engage every aspect of a patient’s condition can produce amazing results, even when hope of recovery was considered slim.
Holistic techniques that have been successful in alleviating and managing cancer pain include:
- Exercise. An essential component of pain management, exercise, even in its mildest forms, can help alleviate pain. Exercise helps to rid the body of hormones that exacerbate stress which can cause pain to flare. Exercise also helps keep muscles toned, limber and flexible which can also help to reduce physical pain.
- Mind-body exercises. Techniques and exercises that help forge mind-body connections, such as yoga, therapeutic massage, meditation, biofeedback and acupuncture, have proven remarkably successful in helping cancer patients control pain.
- Nutrition. Certain foods have been discovered to have pain-fighting qualities, including fruits such as red grapes and cherries, herbs and spices such as ginger and turmeric, fish, soy products and even coffee!