How Alternative Forms of Therapy Improved the Quality of My Life

This article is written by Trevor McDonald. 

It was 8 a.m. on a Monday morning, and my alarm clock had been buzzing for nearly an hour. I was going to be late to work again. My pain kept me up until about 3 a.m. the previous night, and it was back with a vengeance. Time to pop another opioid painkiller. Could I remember a time when I wasn’t high?

Everything is a little fuzzy, and the pain persists. These pills aren’t working like they used to. I’d stop taking them altogether if only I could. But I can’t…

Not everyone who takes opioid painkillers gets addicted, but many people do. When your pain is chronic, and painkillers are the only reprieve, it’s difficult to avoid addiction.

Like every other fortunate addict, I eventually found my way out. But painkillers were no longer an option. I have scoliosis and suffer from chronic back pain from a bulging disc. Even after dragging myself back from the pits of addiction, I suffered. I wish I could convey how hard it was to go through recovery with chronic pain, but I know some of you know exactly what it’s like. I’m not the only one who has walked this path.

The pain was a constant trigger and it held me back from living a full life. One day, I decided to take control. It’s easy to feel hopeless in the face of adversity. But it’s important to remember that most problems have solutions.

Traditional methods failed me, but I found hope and happiness through alternative forms of therapy. I want to share the methods that worked for me, but I’m a firm believer that everyone is different. When it comes to alternative therapies, especially, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Here are some of the alternative therapies that worked well for me.

How Alternative Forms of Therapy Improved the Quality of My Life | The Health Sessions

1. Acupuncture

Most people have heard about acupuncture, and even though it has become more mainstream, only a few people have tried it. In my opinion, that’s a shame, because this is one of those alternative therapies that have worked for me.

When you get acupuncture, the practitioner will insert hair-thin needles into the skin at very particular parts of the body. To answer the question on everyone’s mind, it doesn’t hurt.

The idea behind acupuncture is that helps correct imbalances in the body’s energy flow (called qi, pronounced chee). That’s the alternative explanation. But Western science has its own reasons why acupuncture works. Western scientists believe that acupuncture eases the pain by affecting neurotransmitters, hormone levels and improving the immune system overall.

2. Exercise

When you’re in pain, exercise is the last thing you want to do. Trust me. But it actually does help in a couple of different ways.

We all know the pain of pushing ourselves through exercise, right? This is where the expression “no pain no gain” comes from. But when the body is in pain, it gets to work trying to neutralize that pain. This is why you get something that feels like a high after exercise. This never completely removed my pain, but it’s always nice to have a boost of endorphins without drugs.

I’ve also found that my pain is worse when my I’m out of shape. I think my body functions better when my muscles are stronger.

3. Stem cell therapy

Stem cell therapy for chronic pain is a relatively new treatment, but it has probably been around longer than you think. I had a lot of misconceptions about stem cell therapy before I tried it for myself, and I’m guessing you may too. First, I didn’t know you could use your own stem cells, but that’s exactly how it works. Second, you don’t need surgery. Here’s what to expect:

  • Dextrose solution – You get this on the day before the procedure to help prepare your body for the stem cell solution.
  • Stem cell procedure – Your doctor will take blood and bone marrow samples in the morning. Later, the doctor introduces stem cells and blood platelets to the source of your injury.
  • Follow up – You’ll get additional platelets to boost the healing process.

Stem cell therapy has come a long way, but it also has a long way to go. Currently, it’s best for people who suffer from non-herniated bulging discs (like me), bony fractures, tears of the rotator cuff or other knee injuries.

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4. Chiropractic

Going to a chiropractor was a life-changing experience for me. I never really understood how chiropractic worked, but it’s pretty amazing. Not only have the adjustments been helpful, but my chiropractor also takes a holistic approach to wellness. Most chiropractors do.

He has given me recommendations on diet, exercise, supplementation and physical therapy. I feel the need to note that this method can only work if you are committed to following through. You have to take the advice and do the stretches. Do your homework. But I highly recommend chiropractic for chronic pain.

If what you’re doing isn’t working, don’t hesitate to make a change. Not every alternative therapy will work for you, but trying something is almost always better than settling.

Author Bio: Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer who has had a passion for writing since he was a young adult. He has written a variety of education, health, self- development and lifestyle articles. In his free time, you can find him playing with his dog, writing stories at his favorite coffee shop, or laying out on the beautiful beaches of San Diego. You can find more about Trevor on his LinkedIn.

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