The Age of Pain Management: From Cryo Chambers to Yoga

This is an article by Nancy Eugenie. I offer it with the author’s permission for informational purposes. The author and I have no financial involvement.


Coping With Pain

One of the most difficult things about living with a chronic illness or an injury is coping with pain. Depending on the cause, pain can vary in intensity and duration, lasting for weeks to months at a time. In extreme cases of chronic conditions, similar to a patient’s story that was shared on the blog, it can last for decades or even a lifetime of pain. It can be debilitating to the point that all the aspects of one’s life are deeply affected by it. Recent research has suggested the efficiency of non-invasive modes of pain management such as yoga, massage therapy, and cryotherapy. These are targeted to help patients deal with the crippling symptoms that are making their life living hell.

Yoga for Pain Management

One of the most highly recommended methods for pain management is yoga. On the physical side, it improves strength, flexibility, and range of motion. These are important for people who are just recovering from broken bones and muscle strain or those who have joint conditions such as arthritis. One dedicated yogi is former triathlete Kristin Armstrong who was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in 2001. A yoga regime helped her maintain her elite athlete status with minimal pain, allowing her to focus exclusively on cycling, as a low impact sport, and eventually helped her win three Olympic gold medals. In addition to how it helps individuals remain active, Dr. Catherine Bushnell found that breath control and meditation can help patients alter their perception of the uncomfortable sensations. The study Bushnell led claimed that yoga can increase one’s threshold for pain as it is linked to more gray matter, which positively influences one’s pain tolerance.

massage therapy

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is another time-tested method for pain relief, particularly for musculoskeletal damage. The main mechanism at work during massage is how it triggers the relaxation response with expert touch. The body releases chemicals that signal the muscles and organs to relax. It’s important to note that serotonin, or the happy hormone, is one of the chemicals released, which is also believed to increase pain tolerance. On the other hand, a study reported on Science Daily validates the claims that massage therapy improves blood flow even for people who do not exercise. Better circulation improves delivery of oxygen to the muscles and reduces inflammation, which can manifest as pain if not addressed immediately. However, massage may not be effective for all kinds of illnesses and may only work for patients with conditions that affect their tissues and joints such as chronic back pain and fibromyalgia.

An Emerging Trend in Pain Management for Injuries is Cryotherapy

Lastly, an emerging trend in pain management for injuries is cryotherapy. This is the application of cold treatment on localized regions or whole-body exposure to low temperatures (whole body cryotherapy or WBC) which is done in a cryo chamber. According to a cryotherapy study published in Nature Research, its main benefit is easing the inflammatory response around an injured area that works by enhancing circulation. The cold therapy removes the heat which then improves blood flow to the damaged tissues, mitigating the pain symptoms.

Athletes are the primary users of WBC because they are especially prone to injury and pain. According to local Spanish news sources, Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly spent €45,000 ($52,800) to have his own personal cryo chamber installed in his home. This is pocket change for an elite athlete like Ronaldo, who took the top spot in Ladbrokes’ list of highest earning sports stars with an annual salary of £66.4m ($86.8m). Nevertheless, avoiding injury and pain is considered an investment in sports. Considering that the Portuguese soccer player has had his fair share of injuries throughout the years, taking careful measures to stay in tiptop condition (especially with him now being in his 30s) with expensive equipment is very practical. Although the science behind cryotherapy is still being established, it is a method of pain management worth exploring.

Pain management is an age-old topic of medicine. Although these methods can be effective, it is not recommended to rely on them alone without the approval of your doctor. However, incorporating these methods to your current treatment plan can deliver speedy results and improve your overall quality of life.


Content Intended only for the use of LynnWebsterMD.Com

By: Nancy Eugenie


  1. April Dawn on September 30, 2018 at 12:28 am

    I have been suffering from Chronic illnesses and pain (complex, multiple causes) for over 15 years. I have tried everything that I can to reduce the different kinds of pain I have. In my experience, therapeutic massage can be helpful and worthwhile, but one if it is done on a regular basis and at least 2 times a week. I had the opportunity once (in 15 years to go 3 times a week for 6 months) and it really did help a certain kind of pain a great deal and I think just helped me cope with the other kinds of pain. Unfortunately, that was a one time gift. I (and the vast majority of chronically ill people I know of) could NEVER afford to go to massage therapy more than a few times a year. And that is just torture for many of us. Also, if your pain is as bad as mine i now, simply getting dressed, leaving the house, going to an appointment isn’t an option without another form of pain control. The only one that works for me, is Opioids. If there were ANY other option – I would take it – if for no other reason than to be free of this unbelievably hostile, harmful, cruel environment towards anyone taking pain medication. After seeing over 20 doctors just to get a diagnosis and treatment (and being accused of faking it, attention seeking, drug seeking exaggerating, having sarcastic toxic comments thrown at me.and being told to “lose weight and see a therapist” as the kindest respond) and, being driven to hopelessness and considering taking my life for the first time ever – due to the reality of this on-going -never ending pain and toxic doctors who tell me that can’t or won’t help, I finally found ONE doctor who believed me. She did a 2 hour intake and took about 15 viles of blood (seriously) and tons of test. And even though I had taken test over and over again before – for SOME reason – she found things none of the other doctors did – it started with things like Hypothyroidism, and multiple severe deficiencies (Iron, Iodine, D etc., I had very imbalanced hormones estrogen dominance for one – but others as well – many other things Oh and Chronic Lyme Disease and a gene mutation. She started treating what she could. And many of the symptoms I had began to improve – but not the unbearable pain or exhaustion. She put me on opioid pain medications. I have been on them for a few years now, and NEVER done anything to deserve to be treated with anything but kindness and sympathy. After a while she told me she wasn’t happy with my progress (not judgment, no accusations, just concern) and asked me if she could do a lyme test. I said yes. She did the best that was available – sent them to the 2 places. It came back an absolute positive – even beyond CDC standard, including several co-infectants. Given my life history. I would have been infected YEARS ago. And my parents didn’t take me to the doctor when I was sick, just treated it with natural things and let my body do the rest. So bacteria had YEARS to do damage in my body. We started doing the usual treatments for that time, the entire – multiple drug cocktail. I was also able to, at that time, start eating more organic and healthy unprocessed foods, that helped with more of the symptoms (I had a huge list when I came in) but it didn’t help the 3 major ones – pain, exhaustion, and sleep. So I am still working on various natural treatments now. AND still on the exact same amount of pain medications I was on years ago – never abused it. And it gives me the ability to have some control over the pain (not all) and to have some of my quality of life back (not even close to all – but some). NOTHING else has given me that, no matter how many things I have tried. Even CBD oil (which does help a little with insomnia).

  2. Sara on September 30, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Dr Webster! I appreciate posts like this, but I wish we could differentiate between physical and neurological pain. I understand that there is a vast difference in treatment of these two categories. In terms of coping, of course, they intersect. Thanks!

  3. Mavis Johnson on October 7, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    There are plenty of alternative treatments out there, but the amplification in mass media and articles like this, tend to be misleading. Treatments like massages have been used over time, and for most people are beneficial, however they take time. Articles like this might need a disclaimer, since these alternatives are not a replacement for a diagnosis or appropriate medical care. The statement that “yoga increase grey matter” is another deceptive statement, repeated here as fact Any positive non stressful, physical activity increases grey matter, dog walking, gardening of tennis, also increase grey matter.

    In the age of Fake News, Advertorials, and propaganda replacing facts, and quacks cures, as a replacement for actual healthcare, these weaponized targeted, informational/advertisements, are deceptive. When they are presented by a Physician as if they are endorsed, it can be really destructive. Not only are these “treatments” expensive, but they do not replace medical care. They might offer a distraction or stress relief, if one can afford the treatments, or the time to pursue them but for people with serious pain issues, they are expensive and ineffective.
    The so called opiate epidemic, has been a bonanza for these unscrupulous marketers. We used to be able to expect physicians to be able to evaluate the science, before recommending anything, but more and more, we see how flawed those beliefs were. Physicians are turning away patients whose insurance does not pay enough, or that they just don’;t want to be bothered with, referring them to alternatives. Fear of acknowledging pain or prescribing pain medication is allowing physicians to turn away patients while appearing to be acting in their best interest. Most things people see a physician for will resolve on their own over time, 90%, it is the other 10% that don’t. For 90% of the patients, these alternatives are mostly harmless, but for the 10% they can be dangerous and postpone care. We can no longer expect physicians to know the difference especially when there is a financial incentive.
    We are in post science America, where anything goes, and physicians can peddle the same nonsense as vapid women’s magazines or the National Enquirer.
    These targeted patient groups should be required by Law, to identify advertising, but the FDA and the FTC are no longer functional. There used to be laws about healthcare advertising, and this kind of thing here should be illegal, as it is in otehr countries, where they have better healthcare outcomes at a lot less cost.

  4. Paula Davies on October 25, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Fibromyalgia pain can be frustrating. I had Fibromyalgia for at least 7 years. My initial symptoms were fatigue and lower back pain which were manageable, In 2015 it really kicked in with widespread pain, soreness, sleeplessness, inflammation and extreme fatigue. I tried so many medications and supplements to get some relief nothing worked, until last year, i learnt about FIBROMYALGIA SUCCESSFUL TREATMENT from Rich Herbs Foundation (RHF). I was skeptical it would help, but i gave the treatment a try. Few weeks into the treatment, I went back to work feeling good and my legs weren’t hurting, i almost forgot how long it has been since I felt this good and normal. The pain was 95 percent gone on my legs and lower back, the inflammation was gone too. Visit RHF we b page ww w. richherbsfoundation. c om. Here I am 11 months after the treatment and i still feel good and active.

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