Chronic pain is a silent epidemic. A persistent pain lasting longer than six months, it’s an affliction that often draws devastating consequences for its sufferers. If left untreated, this disease can cause patients to isolate themselves, struggle professionally, and cause difficulty focusing.
How chronic pain progresses
Evoking both physical and psychological elements of pain, the issue can swiftly turn into a cycle. The body’s neural and hormonal response to extreme pain can induce a continuous stress reaction in the body, which, in turn, bolsters and prolongs the pain. 1 in 5 people are going experiencing this chronic cycle of pain.
A quick look at chronic pain symptoms:
- Joint pain.
- Muscle aches.
- Burning pain.
- Sleep issues.
- Loss of stamina and flexibility due to decreased activity.
- Mood problems, including depression, anxiety, and irritability.
This is not an exhaustive symptoms list. Chronic pain can stem from numerous illnesses, autoimmune diseases, disorders, and other ailments, making its exact parameters hard to pin down. In short, what constitutes chronic pain can vary from person to person. However, we do have an understanding regarding which illnesses and diseases are most likely to be the root of chronic pain.
Ailments associated with chronic pain:
- Repetitive stress injuries.
- Nerve damage.
- Lyme disease,
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Post-trauma pain.
- Postsurgical pain.
Can chronic pain be treated or cured?
Unfortunately, there is no catch-all cure for chronic pain. As a comorbid ailment, there’s no fixed target for medical professionals to aim for. However, if the cause/s can be ascertained, several treatments can be applied. Pharmacological therapy, physiotherapy, and psychotherapy, just to name a few. To that end, a mixture of medication, surgery, rehabilitation, and physical therapy is often administered to chronic pain patients.
A look at other possible treatments
A global chronic pain community has formed in recent years, largely thanks to the internet. While primarily concerned with advocacy, education, and fund-raising, there is an off-shoot of those who’re unsatisfied or disillusioned with modern medicine’s approach to chronic pain.
This uncertainty surrounding chronic pain has moved many in the chronic illness community to look toward alternative treatments. There’s a keen focus on mindfulness, yoga, stress control, and other similar remedies. However, since chronic pain is hard to define or contextualize, such alternative treatments have also piqued the interest of researchers and medical professionals. Often, they’re willing to delve into any possibility in the hopes of solving the seemingly unsolvable.
Could the Answer be as Easy as Doing Nothing?
Floatation Therapy uses sensory deprivation for healing purposes. It’s believed that without the distraction of external stimuli, the mind is sharpened and alleviated of worries/anxious thoughts.
To achieve an environment conducive to sensory deprivation, tanks are filled with salt-saturated body-temperature water. Thus, upon entering the floatation tank, the subject should be wholly buoyant and at ease. The lid to the tank can be closed, allowing no light to enter, and all noise is blocked out.
Flotation tank therapy is becoming mainstream
In recent years, floatation tanks have seen a rise in popularity, particularly among well-being and lifestyle-focused communities. The most commonly held belief is that sensory deprivation allows the mind to slow down and reset, potentially remedying psychological conditions but not curing them. Interestingly, while research on the topic is still in its infancy, so far, the consensus is that there’s some truth to these claims.
Does research lend credence to Float-REST’s ability to combat chronic pain?
Going further still, claims have been made to substantiate the physical benefits of Floatation Therapy. Considering what we know about the psycho-somatic connection, such a hypothesis could be viewed as the intuitive next step. Researchers at Hannover Medical School, Germany, decided to take the leap and conducted a randomized trial focusing on the use of Floatation Therapy for chronic pain. For their trial, they used a 99-patient sample of men and women aged 18 to 75 years who had been diagnosed with chronic pain disorder with psychological and somatic factors.
The test consisted of 5 treatment sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes, with each session separated by four days. Overall, the results showed the group had experienced short-term effects in terms of pain relief, improved quality of sleep, lower stress levels, and reduction of anxiety. We can conclude that float-REST as a therapy for chronic pain looks promising. We invite you to experience floating for yourself and those you love who have to deal with chronic pain on a daily basis.