Chronic Pain Relief: 9 Tips How To Ease Pain Naturally
Chronic pain is different than acute (short-term) pain. It usually lasts more than 12 weeks and it typically arises from an initial injury or illness, but then doesn’t subside.
There are many possible chronic pain causes, some of which are: injuries, infections or illnesses, fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, overuse injuries, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, stroke and many others.
To have chronic pain isn’t an easy condition to handle and live with. However, there are different ways that may help improve your condition.
Common types of chronic pain include joint pain, neck, shoulder or back pain, headaches, muscular pains, bone pain and gastrointestinal pains.
Why you should be careful with prescription painkillers
Prescription painkillers and other medication can usually reduce pain. The problem with painkillers though is that you often need higher and higher doses to quell the pain.
There is also the risk of harmful side effects, becoming addicted to painkillers, and worse yet, overdose deaths.
Three common prescribed painkillers are oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone. These are potentially very addictive and harmful solutions – even though they may seem amazing when you start taking them.
Therefore, be careful with prescribed painkillers, and try testing natural painkillers and pain relief techniques that may help you. There are a number of natural remedies that have been shown to help relieve pain and symptoms.
9 tips worth trying to experience natural pain relief
1 Stress-reduction techniques
To start with, it’s important to reduce your level of stress and negative feelings. Stress and negative feelings can increase your body’s sensitivity to pain.
If you learn how to take control of stress and your feelings, you may find some relief from your pain.
There are different techniques you can try to do this, Yoga and meditation are two great stress-reduction techniques.
If you don’t fancy Yoga or meditation, you can try breathing exercises. Simply focusing on your breathing may help your muscles to relax and reduce pain.
Deep breathing exercises may also reduce blood pressure, eliminate stress, and decrease the heart rate.
Acupuncture is an alternative therapy that may help reduce pain. It involves the insertion of thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force.
And this is how western practitioners view it:
“Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Some believe that this stimulation boosts your body’s natural painkillers.” www.MayoClinic
Acupuncture may help with certain types of pain, e.g.: low back pain, shoulder and neck pain, osteoarthritis, knee pain, menstrual cramps, headaches and migraine.
Massages can relieve tight muscles, release muscle knots and reduce chronic pain by improving circulation and blood flow. It can also help to boost your mood, reduce stress and anxiety.
There are several types of massage: Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage are some of them, each using different stroking techniques and pressure.
Reflexology is a different type of massage, and it’s not the same as foot massage. A reflexology practitioner uses gentle to firm pressure on different pressure points, usually on the feet, but can also include the hands or ears.
“In foot reflexology, pressure is applied to specific reflex points on the foot. These points correspond to organs and areas of the body. The treatment is said to induce a healing response, even alleviating some ailments.” www.spafinder
4 Chiropractic treatment
Chiropractic treatment can be a huge help for pain, especially in the lower back. It includes different forms of spinal manipulation, commonly known as adjustments.
“Spinal manipulation involves physical pushing, pulling, and methodical repositioning of the head, shoulders, neck, back or hips to help alleviate pain, especially back and neck pain. pelvic pain, arm and shoulder pain, leg and hip pain.” www.healthandwellnessalerts.com
However, many chiropractors work to provide treatment for the whole body and not just the specific ache or pain. Therefore, they may also treat health conditions like asthma, constipation and acid reflux.
Physical activity may reduce the severity of pain, improve physical function and have a variable effect on both psychological function and quality of life.
Natural endorphins from exercise can boost chronic pain relief. Endorphins are brain chemicals that help blocking pain signals, while improving your mood. Exercise has also another pain-reducing effect – it strengthens muscles and help to prevent re-injury and further pain.
Considering the individual’s conditions and present state of health and fitness, the exercise should be adapted for each individual.
Moreover, people who start avoiding activity in an attempt to not cause pain flare ups, may gradually over time experience that they become less and less able to complete activities which they previously enjoyed, for example walking and everyday chores at home.
Your everyday routine and choice of food can have a big impact on the health and longevity of your joints.
Avoid inflammatory food such as sugar, fast food, fried food and processed food. These foods can increase inflammation in your body, causing your chronic pain to get worse.
Moreover you want to limit the amount of refined carbs (white flour products like bread and pasta), and foods high in Omega-6 (e.g. corn, peanut butter, sunflower -, safflower – and soy oils) since they can trigger inflammatory chemicals.
If you instead consume foods that build bone density, strengthen connective tissue and reduce inflammation, this can help you prevent injuries and preserve your joints for a long, active life.
Therefore, consume more anti-inflammatory foods such as flax seeds, leafy greens, fatty fish (Omega-3s), berries, olive oil, broccoli, root vegetables such as garlic, ginger and turmeric, and bone broth. These kinds of food can help fight inflammation, reduce pain and also improve GI problems and pain.
Some people experience pain relief from essential oils. Essential oils are fragrant substances found within the petals, stems, roots and other parts of plants.
There is research suggesting that certain oils may treat the symptoms of certain ailments, such as: inflammation, headaches, depression, sleep disorders and respiratory problems.
- Frankincense, Lavender and Peppermint oils have been found to help manage inflammation and pain
- Peppermint oil can help relieve headaches and stomach pain
- Lavender oil is used to help with depression, sleep issues and to ease anxiety.
- Evening primrose oil can be used for uterine pain, cramps and PMS-type pains
Please note that most essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil before application. Undiluted essential oil can cause skin irritation and inflammation. And unless you know it’s safe, don’t take them internally since many are toxic.
Many herbs and spices have been used for centuries to treat pain and inflammation and other related conditions. Several of them are also available to take as a supplement.
* Ginger: This is one of the most well-known and powerful herbs. It’s recommended for people with chronic inflammation, pain, also GI pain and indigestion. It can be added raw to smoothies or teas, to meals or taken in supplements.
* Turmeric: Contains curcumin, which has pain-relieving qualities and anti-inflammatory compounds. Turmeric can be added to curries, smoothies and juices. You can also take a curcumin supplement.
* Collagen: A protein that can help to repair connective tissue, the GI tract, certain organs and skin. You can buy it as a supplement or eat foods rich in Collagen.
* Omega-3 fatty acids: Have anti-inflammatory effects and offer many other health benefits. Are often used to reduce pain associated with swelling. Research suggests that Omega-3 fatty acids in supplements can be used as a possible alternative treatment for inflammatory pain.
* Capsaicin: A substance derived from chili peppers, that can provide natural pain relief, treat muscle soreness, tension and skin infections. It may also help with arthritis and diabetic nerve pain. Capsaicin can cause a mild burning or tingling sensation when it’s applied topically. Be careful and wash your hands if you touch it – and avoid touching your eyes for some time afterwards.
* Rosemary: A herb that may help to treat headache, muscle and bone pain and seizures. It may also reduce inflammation, relax smooth muscles, and boost memory.
* Feverfew (also called featherfew or bachelor’s buttons): A medicinal plant used for treating fever, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, toothaches and stomach aches, as well as reduce inflammation and muscle spasms.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s one type of cannabinoid derived from the cannabis sativa (hemp) plant. CBD is available in various forms, such as tinctures, capsules or topical salves. It has been shown in some studies and human trials that CBD can help manage pain by supporting the body’s endocannabinoid system receptors.
“CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.” www.health.harvard.edu
In general, CBD is safe and well tolerated, but as with any substance it may cause adverse reactions in some people, such as diarrhea, changes in appetite and weight, and fatigue.
CBD may also interact with other medications. Like always, before you start using a new medication, also a natural one like CBD oil, consult your doctor to ensure your safety and avoid potentially harmful interactions. Please note that medications that come with a grapefruit warning are likely to interact with CBD.
If you decide to try CBD oil, it’s highly recommended that you shop carefully. Only use organically grown hemp derived CBD oil products that are tested for contaminants and that also indicate CBD vs. THC levels. Some CBD oils, often called “full spectrum CBD“, contain traces of THC. This is so small so it shouldn’t effect you in any way, it may however show if you would take a drug test.
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Please note! Always talk to a doctor before taking any new supplement or testing any other kind of natural treatment. Dietary supplements can have side effects and may interact with other medication.
Many people tolerate pain relief medication with little or no problems, whereas some people experience various kinds of side-effects.
However, even for those who don’t suffer from any side-effects should consider to try and find a more natural method to ease the pain, because the long-term use of pain killers can increase the risk of bleeding in the digestive system, impaired kidney function, heart attack and stroke.
Natural methods may not be as effective as strong painkillers or offer sufficient relief when pain is more severe. But treating chronic pain usually takes a multi-disciplinary approach.
To find natural methods and techniques to reduce stress, inflammation and pain is important since they may also enhance the effect of pain relief or at least decrease the number of pills you need.
I hope you’ve found this article interesting, and if you suffer from chronic pain, I do hope you can find something that can help reduce it. And don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!
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