Why taking a holistic approach is important for chronic conditions?
Integrative medicine looks at you as a whole person to nurture your mind, body and soul as you live with this disease. By looking at a patient through a variety of lenses, we’re able to holistically heal with both conventional (aka pharmaceuticals) and complementary (aka lifestyle) treatments.
Conventional medicines for joint pain aim to control inflammation, but often come with the very serious side effects of suppressing your immune system. While these meds are necessary, the goal is to find a strategy that helps you manage your condition with minimal impact on your daily life. Complementary and natural remedies for chronic pain can help mitigate these side effects and keep inflammation at bay.
Mind/Body Medicine (M/BM for short) combines a range of behavioral and lifestyle interventions with traditional medical interventions. This revolutionary approach shows that the mind can affect the immune system via the autonomic nervous system. Common themes in M/BM are self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-care strategies to manage wellness and health. The patient is understood as a totality of body, mind, and spirit, and interventions are directed holistically at each of these facets of a person. Examples of M/BM techniques include:
- – Mindfulness & meditation
- – Cognitive behavioral therapy
- – Yoga
- – Tai Chi
Manual medicine refers to hands-on therapy and includes gentle joint stretching or mobilization to improve joint mobility and muscle dysfunction in the spine (or adjacent structures) based on the concept that joint restriction contributes to pain. Manual treatments are administered by certified clinicians using physical pressure and stimulation on the body to alleviate pain and improve emobility. Treatments can vary in intensity and incorporate other elements such as heat and aromatherapy to enhance relief:
- – Physical therapy
- – Massage therapy
- – Acupuncture
- – Osteopathic manipulation
- – Chiropractic therapy
- – Myofascial tools
- – Trigger point therapy
Your gut is the center of your immune system and often called “your second brain”. Food can be your ally by helping keep inflammation in check, but different foods can also affect your condition by triggering symptoms. It’s important to work with your doctor, a dietitian, naturopath, or nutritionist to make sure you’re staying well-nourished and find the natural remedies to complement your journey with chronic pain. Below are a few regimens that have been shown to help heart health, inflammation and overall well-being. Always remember, a diet is just a way of eating, not a way to lose weight!
- – Anti-inflammatory diet
- – Mediterranean diet
- – Elimination diet
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