No Pain, No Gain...Wrong
Training for a marathon, living with chronic pain or just looking for ways to reduce overall inflammation? Try these holistic approaches before turning to prescription drugs or surgery.
Photography Courtesy of CYL Sauna Studio
Whether you’ve experienced a recent injury from exercise or have chronic pain from an accident, managing pain can be a challenge. Although medications like NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), corticosteroids and opioids are highly effective in providing pain relief, they can have significant side effects. NSAIDs can be detrimental to your kidney function and increase your blood pressure; Corticosteroids can cause weight gain, muscle wasting and even depression. Opioids are highly addictive, interfere with the brain’s central respiratory control system and can make you drowsy.
Instead of relieving chronic pain or treating an injury with pharmaceutics or reaching a point in your pain journey where you’d consider invasive surgery, try these methods to help you get back to feeling your best.
In addition to being relaxing, seeking out an infrared sauna studio has benefits that can be felt in just a few 30-minute sessions per week.
Unlike traditional saunas that heat your body from the outside in, infrared saunas use a beneficial portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to penetrate deep into muscles, joints and cells, providing relief from everyday pain to chronic pain conditions. Infrared rays act on a similar wavelength as our body’s natural energy frequency, causing water molecules to vibrate, producing a full body heat that increases muscular elasticity and improves circulation.
Additionally, it can aid in detoxification, particularly from lactic acid that is built up after muscle injury. This detoxification process allows for rejuvenation and less soreness between workouts. On a cellular level, infrared therapy improves the bone matrix.
A session can also aid in clearer skin, reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, cardiovascular health, wound healing, reducing cellulite, weight loss and stress reduction.
Ice is an incredible anti-inflammatory, especially when recovering from an injury. Instead of reaching for pain meds, jump into an ice bath or give cryotherapy a try.
Cold therapy works by constricting the blood vessels, reducing inflammation and swelling.
Compression provides vein support, and improves blood flow and circulation to aid in reducing pain from muscle injuries. You may have even seen athletes using high-tech compression devices. But, you don’t have to be a professional athlete or buy an expensive machine to utilize the benefits of compression therapy. Various compression garments are available through the retail market from socks and sleeves to full body coverage.
Massage, Stretching and Physical Therapy
Take a physical approach to fighting pain by booking an appointment with a physical therapist (perfect for those who’ve had back injuries), or treat yourself to a deep-tissue or sports massage. Starting the day with a series of simple stretches can also make a difference.
Managing acute and chronic pain isn’t easy, but there are several methods out there to help. The next time you’re hurting after a tough workout or experiencing a flare up from a chronic illness, get plenty of rest, stay well hydrated and give one — or all — of these methods a try.
Brooke Stubbs, M.D. is the owner of infrared sauna studio, CYL Sauna Studio, in Austin.
For more information visit cylsaunastudio.com