Whether it’s back pain, muscular strain, headache, or even the physical agony that’s associated with losing a loved one, pain affects us all. In fact, up to 80% of adults are estimated to experience back pain at some point in their lives. As subjective as the word pain can be, it’s our body’s natural response to a hitch in our wellness.
Have you ever experienced the feeling of being on a roller coaster? You’re strapped into a slow anticipatory climb, heart is quickening. The squeaky wheels come to a dramatic halt, your sweaty palms gripped around the safety bar as gravity heaves you into a seemingly bottomless chasm of nauseating twists. Similar to realizing we aren’t on a fun ride, pain is often an unpleasant experience. The first step to healing comes by identifying the type of pain we are experiencing.
WHAT KIND OF PAIN ARE YOU FEELING?
CHRONIC PAINChronic pain occurs when our internal warning system fails to shut off. It can be likened to a smoke detector ringing, and staying on at all times. This type of pain can last several months to years and can have long term effects on our quality of life.
Acute pain provides an early warning system that an injury has occurred. This type of pain is usually a short-term experience where once the injury heals, the pain goes away.
Having personal experience with all three types of pain has required me to dig deep and ask myself some powerful questions. Below are two of my favourites that might help you along your journey.
ARE YOU ANGRY WITH YOUR PAIN?
Anger occurs when pain is combined with a triggering thought. Consider that pain is only a secondary emotion to fear. Did you know that our bodies can register emotions? In a state of fear, the nervous system will naturally respond by entering a state of crisis to protect us—also known as inflammation. The key to healing has a lot to do with our body’s ability to regulate its own inflammatory state. When anger or fear arise, can you take a deep breath into curiosity as opposed to shame or judgement?
WHAT DOES YOUR PAIN MEAN?
Our emotional response to pain can often determine the outcome of our healing journey. Through my own journey, I've learned that I'm more impacted by the weight of the emotion I assign to my pain, rather than the pain itself. In my darkest hours, I equate pain to not being good enough. What is the meaning that gets assigned to your pain?
RECOVERY AND PREVENTION
Pain is personal, and so is our recovery process. As we look to our healing journey, some key pillars of wellness to consider are our stress levels, nutrition, movement and sleep—and of course, the ancient wisdom of botanicals.
It’s no coincidence that movement-based therapies such as yoga, tai chi and qigong, have an esteemed reputation in the world of pain and recovery. These intentional, low impact activities stimulate blood flow to support our bodies in healing themselves, naturally. After a car accident many years ago, I downward dogged myself into acceptance and healing. Now, four months pregnant, I step on my mat to alleviate low back and ligament pain. Whatever movement therapy you choose to heal your body, be sure it’s something that feels good for the soul, too.
Did you know that a huge part of our immune system actually resides in our gut? It is that very immune system the creates inflammation as a means to support the cells that contribute to our recovery.
Antioxidant rich foods like organic blackberries, strawberries and pecans can support our digestive tract in responding under more vulnerable states of inflammation.
What do dark leafy greens, cauliflower, grapefruit and lime have in common? They all contain powerful vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory properties, to support in the reduction of heart disease.
Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of beauty sleep does more than leave us feeling spry in the morning! Research tells us that it can greatly impact our ability to regenerate tissue and grow muscle. A lack of quality sleep can in fact counteract the effects of analgesics. The simple act of dimming your lights 2 hours before bed, taking a warm bath with Pain Release bath salts, or unplugging from blue light technology can contribute to a more peaceful slumber.
The nervous system is a storehouse of electrical impulses that supports our organs when under stress. Stress-induced elevations in cortisol—a hormone highly responsive to stress—can interfere with wound healing. Now, before you get stressed out about being too stressed: take a moment to think about something that feels effortless and joyful for you. Incorporating more moments of joy or laughter activates the body’s natural relaxation response and may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural pain relievers—that’s no joke!
Even though we might not look alike, all living things—plants and people included—are made up of the same basic material. Plants have been used for decades to support various human ailments, many of which are still used today in our products.
- Arnica: Various preparations of this daisy-like plant have been used for centuries to soothe aching muscles and help heal bruises, sprains, and wounds.
- Lavender: This purple flower has been used over the years to heal wounds and topical burns.
- Peppermint: Traditionally used to ease digestive discomfort, reduce fatigue, and encourage muscle relaxation.
- Marjoram: Commonly referred to as sweet marjoram, this herb was considered an anti-inflammatory and used for respiratory and gastrointestinal pain.
For more information on our plant sources, check out our ingredient garden.
If you’re currently on that painful roller coaster ride and not sure how to get off, maybe it’s not about controlling it. Sometimes, the journey is all about assessing our environment—we go up, we go down, but we don’t have to crash. Sometimes we can even come out on the other side, more grateful and resilient for the ride.