Thursday, 10 November 2016

Can Osteopaths Improve Nerve Pain Symptoms?

Today's post from (see link below) is both helpful and should maybe carry a health warning to people with long-term neuropathy. We're all looking for ways of reducing the symptoms without resorting to bucketloads of pills but whether, as suggested here, an osteopath is the answer, is an important question. Typically, osteopaths treat joint and muscular pain but more and more nerve pain patients find their way to the osteopath, having unsuccessfully tried just about everything else. As the article suggests; both acupuncture and massage are genuine ways of relieving  inflammatory pain with out medications. Similarly, diet and exercise are important components of treating nerve pain and possibly most importantly, most neuropathy patients are begging for doctors to treat them holistically (looking at the whole body and history of the patient before treatment). However, purely because of an osteopath's specialisation and concentration on muscles and joints, that may not be the best way forward for people with nerve damage - in fact it may make matters worse. Many doctors are dismissive of osteopaths and rightly or wrongly, you should still consult them as to whether visiting an osteopath will help you or not. Try to get your doctor to explain to you why they are anti osteopath if that's the case and armed with that information, you may be able to make a better decision for your own body.

You Can Manage Your Pain Without Medications
Contributor: William Welches, DO, PhD 

 Diet, exercise and gentle ‘manual medicine’ can help 

Too often, we treat pain with medications. Unfortunately, many pain medications have bad side effects. They also can be addictive. As a pain management physician, I encourage patients struggling with pain to consider all of their alternatives before resigning themselves to long-term medication use.

Many of my patients are able to achieve significant relief of pain throughout their body (back, neck, shoulder, knees, chest and more) with osteopathic manipulation therapy (OMT) and acupuncture. Both are in-office procedures and typically are gentle.

In OMT, the physician uses his or her hands to manipulate patients’ bodies into proper alignment as a way to ease pain. Such “manual medicine” is the hallmark of osteopathic physicians.

OMT generally is covered by insurance. Acupuncture, the strategic placement of very thin needles to stimulate nerves and relieve pain, is not always covered.

Diet and exercise

Osteopathic physicians are trained to be holistic in their approach to patients. They try to treat the whole patient, not just one part of the body. As part of my holistic approach to pain, I strongly encourage my patients to improve their diet and exercise. These two acts alone can achieve positive results without medication.

I often suggest an anti-inflammatory diet. This can be a big change from the typical American diet. An anti-inflammatory diet involves eating a lot of vegetables (corn and potatoes don’t count) and fish. The diet includes some fruit and limited amounts of dairy and whole grains and very little red meat, flour or sugar. It is 80 percent to 90 percent vegan.

Following it is a challenge, but it is well worth it. Some patients start to feel much better in as little as two weeks. They have substantial pain relief. They also see lower blood pressure and lower lipid, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. All this without bad side effects.

With these approaches, I have seen patients overcome disabling pain and resume an active life without medications. If you think you might benefit from these steps, consider seeking a referral to a physician who specializes in a holistic approach to pain management.

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