While a physician may diagnose, it is the nurse practitioners that are a patient’s saving grace. They not only help in the treatment, but are also involved on a deeper level of understanding with the patient. The nurse practitioner listens, learns and participates in many of the daily routines. They ensure that the patient receives attention, take care of even the small things and supports a level of patient dignity.
One of the major concerns that take the attention of nurse practitioners is the patient report of chronic pain. They among all are aware of the fact that pain can deter the healing process and cause additional levels of distress and anxiety. They also know that one in six Americans live with recurring or chronic pain, which holds an estimated price tag of around $120 million per year in lost productivity and medical costs.
Since many patients are already on a regimen of medication, pain relief prescriptions are not always a viable option. These medicines carry with them the potential for drug interactions as well as harsh physical effects that a patient may not be able to handle. Nurse practitioners have been researching and using alternative natural sources for the reduction of pain, including many that are organic, combined with modalities such as massage therapy.
Alternative topical creams and lotions that contain a base of natural ingredients are showing great results, especially for those that experience chronic pain. Nurse practitioners make use of their extensive knowledge base and the scientific evidence showing that many of these sources from nature bring relief as anti-inflammatories and analgesics. The process of massaging a topical cream or lotion onto the skin also generates the release of the body’s natural healing hormones while allowing muscles, soft tissues, and ligaments to relax.
Massage therapy has been used throughout many cultures for centuries as a method to assist in pain reduction and the availability of CAM (complementary and alternative medication) products that contain naturally sourced ingredients is an added benefit for the absorption of the ingredients in a healthier way. Many of the elements in topical creams and lotions contain nature’s healing properties but are also used with a level of caution. Popular ingredients such as capsaicin (the ingredient that makes hot peppers hot) can be applied and massaged, but once done, should never be wrapped or allow additional heat to be applied due to potential skin irritations. Other, gentler natural ingredients that assist in the reduction of pain in topical treatments include: eucalyptus oil, tee tree oil, extra virgin olive oil, clove and sesame seed oils. Science has also shown that aromatherapy is known to help in mind-body relaxation, allowing muscles and ligaments to reduce the tension that is often associated with pain. Both vanilla and peppermint are two of the natural oils that have the best effects.
Nurse practitioners are often the first point of contact in reporting patient pain problems and the development of a solution. Natural topical creams and lotions applied with light massage therapy benefits the comfort of the patient and perpetuates the healing process.
Always confer with your primary caregiver prior to making any changes in your daily regimen.