4 Ways to Battle Pain Without Western Medicine - Elegantly Dressed and Stylish
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4 Ways to Battle Pain Without Western Medicine


I am sharing 4 ways to battle pain without Western Medicine.

Tis the Spring Season. The Season that begins with a desire to be outdoors, playing sports, working out, hiking, biking, walking and gardening.

I am sure I don’t have to tell you, that from time to time we sprain or strain something or bend the “wrong way” planting mulch ( me!)

I want to share with you a few ways I have battled pain without the use of prescription medication or Western medicine.

Doctors are quick to prescribe pills for whatever may ail you, and I am not professing that those pills aren’t needed at times  Going through Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome,  there was  a period in my life, where strong medications and opiates were needed to help me function and deal with the pain. Particularly when it was out of control and we didn’t have a diagnosis. I certainly can’t fault anyone for that.

I , have, however, experienced other ways to treat pain- whether it is from a chronic condition, from being active/sports, or an acute injury.

Dry Needling

Dry needling was something I mentioned here in a post on the blog. READ THIS ARTICLE.

It has been my “Saving grace”. 13 years ago, my daily existence consisted of taking the pups down the street to the corner, letting them do their business, and walking back to the house to the comfort of the couch.  The rest of the day I was watching television and researching what was wrong with me. That is, in between doctor visits and a trip to the Mayo Clinic.

Who can live like that?

My PT at the time, asked if I would be “the guinea pig” for dry needling. I knew of it, and without haste stated “Absolutely”, during my appointment.

I used to hate needles- had to turn away when my blood was taken.

Not anymore! Dry needling is a technique where filiform needle penetrates the skin and is used to locate the trigger points or muscular knots in the connective tissue. Trigger points may also develop from an injury to the muscle. The PT releases the knot with the needle and there is greater range of motion, as well as pain relief. There is soreness the next day, but you will notice a change in pain level and movement.

I have gone to dry needling for 8 years- every 2 weeks!


image credit ** Allure

Talk about a therapy that has been around for centuries ( that insurance co still wont pay for!)

Acupuncture is not the same as dry needling. Needles are used and left in the body pertaining to Meridian points. This is not the same as trigger points.

According to Release Integrative Medicine,

“Acupuncture is a treatment rooted in East Asian medicine that involves a series of thin needles inserted into the skin. The needles are thought to stimulate the body’s energy centers, restoring flow for proper healing.

Acupuncturists focus on the 12 meridian pairs that control the flow of energy, or Qi, throughout the body. Each muscle, organ and system in the body is associated with particular meridians and energy flow.”

I have used acupuncture for digestive pain as well as period pain in the past.

Neuromuscular Massage

Photo credit **Interventionmassage.com

Recently I became acquainted with this method for treating trigger points (or muscular knots). I have been researching local PTs and was looking for a new dry needling therapist. I came across a local website that offered Neuromuscular massage, amongst many other modalities.

“The American Academy of Pain Management recognizes this form of massage therapy as an effective treatment for back pain caused by soft tissue injury.”

You may wonder what is Neuromuscular massage? It is another technique that can help eliminate of lessen muscular spasms in the body. It is a technique that allows the practitioner to put pressure on trigger point areas or areas of muscular spasm. I found great relief after the hour session, and it quelled the pain I was having in my neck and shoulders. Read more about it HERE.

I will be going for this treatment once a month, and dry needling once a month as well to help with my chronic pain.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial release (MFR, is an therapy claimed to be useful for treating skeletal muscle immobility and pain by relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulating the stretch reflex in muscles.” Wiki.**quote

I have experienced myofasical release throughout my EDS journey, and it has helped loosen the fascia or connective tissue from tightness that occurs due to trigger points, overuse, and other causes.

I found the technique different from massage, as it works on sustained stretching of the fascia ( tissue) without slower motions.

Self- Advocacy-

A bit ago I wrote about the importance of advocating for one’s health. I carry a notebook in with me to my doctor’s appts ( yes, I am old-school) and when medication is offered, I will consider it, but also ask about the alternatives. You certainly can’t control everything, but you have the say in what you wish to add to your body, or see about another option.

I still do take medications I need for my EDS, but have lowered them considerably since 2008. A mixture of Western medicine and other techniques that I have mentioned here, have helped me be more functional in life, and given me back some of myself as well.

Have any questions about these modalities? Have you ever tried any of them for pain? Let me know in the comments.

Have a great weekend!

Jess xx

  • cheryl tucker
    Posted at 12:11h, 30 April Reply

    This is such a great post! Yes, we have to take responsibility for our health and well being. More now than ever. It seems as I get older I experience more pain and learning new ways to help is so important. Thank you!

  • Lovely
    Posted at 12:32h, 25 April Reply

    I have only tried acupuncture from this list. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 14:56h, 25 April Reply

      I recommend any of these, did you enjoy or did accupuncture help?

  • Jodie Filogomo
    Posted at 20:22h, 22 April Reply

    Gosh, Jess. This is fabulous. I used to do acupuncture all of the time, but have yet to find someone out here.
    It’s SO important to be your own advocate, yet that’s not really what we are taught, is it??

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 08:38h, 25 April Reply

      Thank you Jodie. Right we didn’t grow up that way, but I certainly have learned it over the years, so important!

  • Michelle
    Posted at 13:21h, 22 April Reply

    An important topic, Jess! I have been seeing a myofascial release practitioner for about 6 months. What a difference! And self advocating? Absolutely! I am seeing a rheumatologist for the first time on Thursday. It’s taken me awhile to get to this point.


    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 13:50h, 22 April Reply

      Thank you. That is great, yes I have done MFR and found it quite beneficial. I do think the neuromassage and dry needling are helping me as well. So glad you found a modality that works for you. Oh, good luck with the rheumatologist. I saw one when we didn’t know what was going on with me.

    Posted at 09:54h, 22 April Reply

    I am in chronic pain and under a physicians care for my pain management. I am so happy you wrote this article!! I am considering doing the dry needles to my entire back!!! I have some hope now!! I ‘m just having such a hard time!!!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 13:53h, 22 April Reply

      Hello Natalie.
      I am so sorry to hear that you are in chronic pain. Dry needling has been absolutely wonderful for me, and can help so much with functioning better and reducing pain. If you do go, give it some time, as it does take a bit to adjust but is so worth it. I am sorry to hear you are having a hard time. Let me know if you do find it helpful or have any questions.

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