At times you may find it very useful using non medication treatments in parallel with day to day medication or as a preventative measure. Physical therapists can use mild exercises and heat and cold treatments to assist with Sickle Cell disease pain.
One may find it to be valuable for people with Sickle Cell disease to see a psychologist, social worker or counsellor to get help coping with the illness or learn techniques that may be helpful in controlling pain. It can also be helpful for family members of individuals with Sickle Cell disease to speak with a health professional about the frustration and stress they may feel at times.
Massage – especially at the first signs of a crisis, massage can decrease muscle stiffness and potentially reduce pain.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – a low intensity electrical current can sometimes be effective for pain relief. They can by purchaed from your local chemist, request the dual tens model they cover a larger area the are very safe to use pregnant women use them.
Relaxation techniques – learning how to relax can help patients cope better with the illness and pain.
Distraction – engaging activities (such as hobbies, video games, books and movies) this can change the individual’s focus can help reduce stress and pain.
Psychotherapy – speaking with a health professional about the stress and frustration of Sickle Cell disease and/or learning cognitive/behavioural techniques for coping with the condition can be beneficial.
Acupuncture and acupressure – can be useful in helping to relieve stress and manage pain. Your G.P or consultant can sometimes refer you, failing that try to achieve a good hourly rate from your local physiotherapist.
Physical therapy – gentle exercises and heat and cold treatments can help with Sickle Cell disease pain.
Learning how to relax using breathing techniques.
Relaxation techniques are useful exercises to help reduce tension, decrease concern, improve sleep, and make you feel usually much calmer. These techniques use physical and mental activities, which focus attention on calming the body and mind, generating feelings of relief.
Practicing and continually employing such technique can amount to significant benefit pre post and even during a Sickle cell crisis. Good relaxation should begin with relaxed breathing. This will help prepare you for deeper relaxation. Once you master relaxed breathing, you can continue to add other relaxation exercises to your routine.
Relaxed (Diaphragmatic) Breathing
Given that breathing is second nature to us, we seldom think about the way that we breathe. Learning to breathe abdominally (through the diaphragm) can promote relaxation, which improves physical and mental health. Over time, most people begin to breathe by moving their chest and/or shoulders. However, if you watch a baby breathe, you will see that they breathe by moving their belly, which is the most efficient way to take in oxygen and remove carbon dioxide with the least effort.
The diaphragm is the muscle that controls breathing. It is a dome-shaped muscle that sits beneath the lungs, above the abdominal cavity. When a breath is taken, the diaphragm flattens out, allowing the lungs more room to expand with air. When air is exhaled from the lungs, the diaphragm returns to its arched shape. Though breathing is an automatic function, the movements of the diaphragm can be controlled voluntarily with training. Learning how to control the diaphragm and the way we breathe can be beneficial in many ways:
Some of the Benefits Experienced
– Allows the most efficient exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with the minimum effort
– Can promote general relaxation
– Removes toxic products from the blood
– Slows down heart rate and breathing rate
– Focuses the mind
– Can reduce stress and anxiety levels
– Improves circulation