Pain in our daily lives.
By Miguel Antonio Salazar, MD
Pain is an essential part of our capacity to care for ourselves. Pain protects us from experiencing further harm and warns us of impending danger. We have to know the limits of our body before it is too late. No one is exempt from experiencing pain.
According to the Harvard Medical School, pain is an unpleasant experience with both physical and emotional aspects (1). This concept is similar to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concept that our body’s ailments are due to imbalances not only in our physical body but also in our minds and emotions. According to TCM texts, our bodies are composed of different elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. These elements have partner physical organs, tissues, senses, and emotions (2).
Pain in TCM is important not only as a symptom but can be used in differentiating diagnoses (2). This is similar to the physical examination done by a western-trained physician or the usual licensed medical doctor in the Philippines. In both practices, pain can be addressed using different techniques depending on the root cause.
According to the Harvard Medical School report, pain can be addressed by a number of treatments. Non-pharmacologic treatments may consist of what are considered conventional in a medical facility. Some of the therapies are the following: physical therapy, heat or cold modalities, and occupational therapy. Pharmacologic treatments may be oral or topical (applied to the skin). Other therapies may be focused more on the mind such as biofeedback, psychotherapy and music therapy. Physical exercise can be a therapy for pain as well. There are treatments with their origins in eastern medicine such as acupuncture, qi gong, tai chi, yoga, and massage. Other western alternative treatments are chiropractic and natural or herbal medicine (1).
With all these treatments available, people suffering from pain should not despair. There are a number of treatments that they can try. Some do not even cost a penny or in our case a peso. The important thing is seeking help and that means admitting that we are feeling something unpleasant. Then we should seek consult to our physician who can give us the different options for pain relief.
1. Harvard Medical School. Pain Relief: Natural and alternative remedies without drugs or sugery. Boston: Harvard Medical School; 2015.
2. Liu G, Hyodo A. Fundamentals of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Tianjin: Huaxia Publishing House; 1996.