Pain Management

At Whole Family Health, we understand how acute or chronic pain can negatively impact quality of life and lead to emotional burden. We use combinations of acupuncture, massage, mindfulness, yoga, Chinese herbal medicine and nutrition to address pain as well as pain-related symptoms and issues.

The body communicates through sensations and acute pain signals that we have been injured. It usually has a rapid onset, which typically passes and recedes once the injury is healed. Acute pain generally stems from pressure generated from inflammation and swelling at the site of the injury, which is usually visible.

Chronic pain is pain that persists and can last weeks, months or even years. It can be due to a chronic injury or underlying structural misalignment, or even nerve damage. Sometimes there is a clear diagnosis and patho-mechanism and in other cases of chronic pain, the cause can be harder to pinpoint. Sometimes it can involve a disruption to the brain’s ability to map sensory information. 

Both acute and chronic pain can lead to other health issues like insomnia or even cardiovascular disease, stemming from discomfort and limited mobility or range of motion. 

At Whole Family Health, our approach to treatment of pain includes pain relief as well as support with broader pain-related issues, to improve quality of life and mental wellness.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for pain. It can be used as a safe alternative to pain medication or it can be used in conjunction with medication and other treatment interventions like surgery. 

It can also be integrated with other modalities, like massage, physiotherapy, chiropractic or osteopathy for increased therapeutic effects.

Acupuncture increases blood flow, regulates inflammation as well as stimulates tissue repair & nerve regeneration. Although research continues to help us understand exactly how acupuncture works to decrease pain, studies have begun to show that it stimulates neural pathways and deactivates pain centres in the brain.

It has also been shown to activate the body’s own opioids and improves the brain’s sensitivity to opioids. Other studies reveal that acupuncture also stimulates the release of biochemicals involved in pain reduction, like ATP, adenosine, GABA and substance P.

The frequency and duration of acupuncture treatments varies, depending on each individual case. When you meet with your practitioner, they will conduct a health audit to determine the best treatment plan for you. 

 

Acupuncture is known to help relieve pain, it can effectively address many conditions, including:

The frequency and duration of acupuncture treatments varies, depending on each individual case. When you meet with your practitioner, they will conduct a health audit to determine the best treatment plan for you. 

Your practitioner may use a combination of acupuncture and additional modalities to support your recovery.

 

Additional acupuncture modalities include:

Electrical Acupuncture: The application of a TENS machine, for electrical stimulation of acupuncture needles to further stimulate blood flow, nerve regeneration and endorphin release.

Fire Cupping: A cup with a partial vacuum is placed on the area of concern to increase blood circulation and myofascial release. 

Moxibustion: The therapeutic application of potent infrared thermal action from Chinese mugwort, close to the surface of the skin to decrease inflammation and pain while increasing regeneration of injured tissues.

Guasha: A technique using a rounded instrument to massage muscle tissue at the level of the skin, to activate release of metabolic waste.

Tuina: A type of massage used by acupuncturists, to break down scar tissue, relax muscles and tendons as well as increase circulation.

 

Book a Free 15-minute phone consultation to speak to one of our acupuncturists about how we can help.

Massage

Massage helps with pain relief by working on connective tissue, breaking apart muscular waste deposits, increasing circulation and relaxing tense muscles. 

Pain can be caused by a number of different factors. One example is when injuries haven’t properly healed, causing the body to produce excess connective tissue. While connective tissue helps the body to heal, it can also cause muscles to contract and shorten, leading to extended painful symptoms. Massage relieves pain by softening and lengthening the connective tissue surrounding injured muscle, restoring mobility. 

Pain can also cause muscles to become tense and strained over long periods of time. Prolonged muscle tension can interfere with metabolic waste elimination, leading to accumulation of waste in tissues, causing muscle and nerve pain. It can also lead to trigger points that refer pain and other neurological symptoms to different areas of the body.

Massage also provides therapeutic human touch, decreasing pain by soothing the nervous system and releasing pain killing hormones such as endorphins. When the body is calm, the relaxation response leads to dilation of blood vessels, increasing blood flow and allowing muscles to voluntarily relax.

 

Massage therapy relieves pain in many conditions, including: 

Book a Free 15-minute phone consultation to speak to one of our massage therapists about how we can help.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation is the practice of bringing intentional awareness to what is happening in the present moment, with an open curiosity. It has been shown to lead to numerous physiological benefits, including positive changes in brain anatomy and physiology.

Mindfulness has long been used and researched in the treatment of pain.  Studies link mindfulness to the deactivation of areas of the brain related to pain reactivity, impacting both the intensity of pain and a person’s perception of pain. Although it doesn’t cure pain, it alters a person’s relationship to pain. 

The experience of pain is a function of psychological, cognitive factors as well as mood. Mindfulness helps to mitigate the mental-emotional components of pain, positively impacting how a person feels about pain and their life experiences in general. 

Mindfulness is a safe and cost-effective approach in the treatment of pain. A safe alternative to pain medications, which lead to potential dependence and/or tolerance and plateauing, mindfulness is an empowering tool with effects that only strengthen over time.

At Whole Family Health, we offer accessible evidence-based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs. Check our Events Page or contact us for more information on upcoming programs.

 

Book a Free 15-minute phone consultation to speak to one of our mindfulness instructors about how we can help.

Yoga

A regular yoga practice offers many health benefits. Yoga is a mind-body practice that is known for its ability to improve physical wellbeing and alleviate stress. 

Research shows that yoga leads to change in brain anatomy, increasing pain tolerance. There is also ongoing research on how yoga helps with the management of pain, its effects on the body’s stress response, pain perception as well as the brain’s structure in response to pain. 

 

Some of the known benefits of yoga include:

  • Increased strength, muscle tone, flexibility and balance
  • Improved circulation and cardiovascular health
  • Enhanced energy, sleep, relaxation and mood
  • Decreased stress, tension anxiety and depression
  • Weight reduction
  • Treatment and prevention of pain and injury 

 

Yoga has been shown to have benefits in the treatment of many health areas including:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteopenia
  • Balance issues
  • Oncology
  • Women’s health
  • Chronic pain 

At Whole Family Health, we offer individualized one-on-one yoga consultations as well as group classes. Check our Events page for any upcoming group programs or contact us to book an individualized session.

 

Book a Free 15-minute phone consultation to speak to our yoga instructor about how we can help.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

In conjunction with acupuncture or as treatment on its own, Chinese herbal remedies are useful in treating pain. Chinese herbal formulas are customized for each individual case and there is no one-size-fits all prescription. 

Chinese herbs have long been used over centuries in the treatment of various types of pain, including acute pain, inflammatory pain and chronic pain. There is ongoing research on the myriad ways that Chinese herbs can be used to effectively treat pain.

For example, because of the potential for substance dependence and/or the build up of tolerance to pharmaceutical medications, there are limitations to the effectiveness of its prolonged use for the treatment of chronic pain. Chinese herbal medicine is a safe alternative. 

Our herbal formulas consist mainly of plant materials such as roots, bark, stems, leaves, berries and flowers. The high quality herbs that we use are third party tested for heavy metals and meet GMP standards

Because Chinese herbal formulations are customized to each individual, it’s important to consult with a trained Chinese herbalist. Talk to one of our trained Chinese herbalists about how Chinese herbal medicine can help you.

 

Book a Free 15-minute phone consultation to speak to one of our herbalists about how we can help.

Nutrition

Because we are what we eat, nutrition plays a key role in maintenance of health. There is ongoing research on the positive impacts of a healthy diet on pain management, as it provides the body with the elements and building blocks required to support injury recovery, tissue repair and healing. 

For example, chronic pain is often associated with elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in blood and tissues, which is a normal physiological healing response to injury that persists in chronic conditions. An anti-inflammatory diet is an effective way to decrease inflammation and its negative impacts on the body, including pain.

Nutritional treatment plans are individualized based on each individual. Contact us to set up an appointment with our trained Nutritional Consultant who can provide you with a full nutritional health audit and provide you with a customized menu plan.

 

Book a Free 15-minute phone consultation to speak to our nutritionist about how we can help.

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