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Ways Functional Medicine Helps with Pain Management for Chronic Illness

Chronic illness refers to a long-term health condition that can’t be cured. However, expert medical professionals can treat or manage chronic pain illnesses. Although chronic pain management treatments are widely available in healthcare, primary pain treatments don’t achieve relief in at least 40% of patients.

Chronic pain often stems from chronic diseases and has a debilitating effect on the health of patients. Functional medicine employs a systems-oriented approach and a therapeutic relationship between the patient and the practitioner to address the underlying cause of the disease.

Unlike traditional medications, functional medicine doesn’t focus solely on treating symptoms. Instead, a functional medicine approach allows the health practitioner to identify the root cause of the disease and employ medical methods to improve the body’s natural restorative ability.

Here’s how the patient-centered approach helps in pain management for chronic illnesses.

1.   Diet

Our regular diet directly impacts body chemistry. In a functional medicinal approach to pain management, health practitioners recommend that their patients follow a modified elimination diet plan. The elimination of foods containing dairy, vegetables, and fruits allows the health practitioner to find out the causes of harmful food reactions and identify the food sensitivity of patients. They encourage patients to increase the intake of unprocessed food such as fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and healthy fats to promote body health and an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. A healthy diet plan helps in body detox.

Functional medicine professionals review the effects of detoxification on the patient’s health and encourage mindful eating practices in the patients. Mindfulness helps people overcome food cravings, stress eating, emotional eating, binge eating, and addictive eating. This technique also assists in stress management and promotes healthy sleep. Mindful eating improves the patients’ awareness of their body functions, thoughts, and feelings.

2. Exercise

Another important aspect of functional medicine is physical exercise. This includes stretching, strengthening, and other exercises that contribute to physical fitness and the overall health and wellbeing of a person. Body strengthening exercises provide physical stability to the body muscles and aids in muscular pain management.

People with chronic pain exhibit different behaviors when it comes to physical exercise. The functional medicine professionals spend time with their patients to understand their activity level and home and work environment to guide them. Understanding the patients’ lifestyles allows the health practitioners to guide their patients in a better way. They encourage their patients to engage in daily physical activity at a moderate pace, as research indicates that physical exercise plays a critical role in chronic pain management.

1.   Sleep Hygiene and Stress Management

People who suffer from chronic pain often experience sleep disturbances. Sleep hygiene plays a central role in chronic pain management. In a functional medicine approach to pain management, the health practitioner spends time with their patient to evaluate potential stressors and emotional issues that may cast a negative impact on the patients’ sleep. They educate the chronic pain patients about PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation) exercise as it contributes to both the physical and mental wellbeing of the patients.

According to research by NCBI, relaxation training such as meditation, breathing and PMR can mitigate stress levels in people, enhance the relaxation states, and may also improve their overall health. Since these exercises also involve the alternative tensing and relaxation of muscles, they also help in strengthening the muscles.

2.   Advanced Diagnostics and Alternative Treatments

Functional medicine integrates ancient alternative approaches with traditional Western medicine. The health professionals also leverage modern laboratory testing methods, genetic screening, MRI, and food sensitivity testing to identify the causes of the chronic illness. These causes may include hormonal imbalances, toxic chemical exposure, immunity disorders, gut issues, emotional stress, or structural abnormalities. This inquiring approach allows them to employ effective solutions for long-term healing.

Besides the nutrition evaluation, diet changes and physical exercise, the functional medicine approach to chronic pain management may also include chiropractic care, acupuncture, soft tissue therapy, nutritional therapy, and lifestyle changes.

Takeaway message

Functional medicine is becoming increasingly popular among people as it doesn’t only focus on the surface systems of chronic illnesses but ensures optimal health through proactive medical care and strengthens the body’s natural healing processes.

At Atlant Health, we want to help you overcome chronic pain through chiropractic treatments and a functional medicine approach. If you don’t wish to settle for a lifetime on opioids and medicines, contact us today!

Article by Aleksander Kanevsky, DC, CFMP

At New York City Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Center, Dr. Aleksander Kanevsky provides Chiropractic Care, Bioenergetic Medicine, Functional Medicine and Nutrition. Dr. Kanevsky demonstrates why this type of integrative care is an essential addition to a health care practice. He helps people to achieve quality of life and highest expression of health.

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