Everyone has encountered some sort of physical pain before. It’s not something you want to feel for too long before you start looking for a way to relieve it. For the most part, the pain is easily relieved with over the counter pain meds, rest, and time. In some instances, however, the pain is constant. Those who recently suffered a serious injury underwent major surgery, or have a medical condition like arthritis or fibromyalgia, are in excruciating pain more often than they’re not.
Though they are provided with solutions like prescription pain medication, prolonged use of them can cause damage to your organs, and result in addiction which often needs to be treated with prescription drug rehab help. It’s also important to note that if they become dependent or addicted to meds, they’ve added another layer of complications that takes time to recover from.
While living a pain-free life may not be possible, there are alternative solutions out there that have brought significant relief to patients without the nasty side effects. Below are a few to consider trying if you or someone you know is suffering from chronic pain due to injury or illness.
Massages not only feel great, but they’re excellent for reducing pain. The massage techniques used by technicians helps to relax the mind and body, reduce levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), decrease inflammation, improve blood flow, and enhance the range of motion. Visiting a massage therapist on a weekly or even bi-weekly basis can make a significant difference in the pain you experience.
Hot and Cold Compresses
Alternating between hot and cold compresses has also been known to help to reduce swelling and inflammation while improving blood circulation. Alternate for a few minutes with a warm and cold compress on the painful areas to reduce pain.
When you’re under a lot of stress this can heighten your level of pain. Therefore, stress-reduction methods are highly recommended to help manage your pain. One very popular method is meditation. By sitting in a quiet space and focusing on your breathing and releasing negative thoughts and tension (for at least 15-30 minutes a day or when you experience pain), you reduce cortisol levels which help to improve your mood and reduce your pain.
Believe it or not, there are some natural herbs that have been proven to help relieve pain. There’s willow bark which is good for reducing inflammation, turmeric which is packed with antioxidants that protect the body from cell and tissue damage, cloves which can be great for toothaches or headaches, ginger for inflammation and faster tissue recovery, and so many more. You can drink them in teas, purchase them as essential oils and rub them on the affected area, or take them in supplement form for continued pain relief.
While doing exercise is likely the last thing on your mind when you’re dealing with chronic pain, it does provide relief. With permission from your doctor, of course, start incorporating light cardio and strength training into your routine. It helps to improve your range of motion and build strong bones, muscles, and healthy tissue. For those with arthritis, exercising also helps you to keep the extra weight off, which can greatly reduce your pain.
Change Your Diet
Did you know that what you eat can either increase or decrease your pain? Inflammation is one of the leading causes of chronic pain. There are foods you consume on a regular basis that increase inflammation, therefore, intensifying your pain. Foods containing sugar or high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, refined carbs, and processed meats are all bad for you if you suffer from chronic stress. You should instead be eating foods like whole grains, green tea, blueberries, walnuts, fatty fish, broccoli, and peppers.
Get More Sleep
Though it can be challenging to get comfortable for a good night’s rest it is essential to managing your pain. When you sleep your body produces a hormone known as dopamine which boosts your mood and reduces stress (which is another huge factor of pain). Getting at least 7 to 9 hours of rest each night can make a huge difference.
Living with chronic pain can be physically and emotionally draining. While you may be tempted to rely heavily on prescription pain medications, be advised that there are serious consequences of long-term use. Use your prescriptions as instructed and look to these alternative solutions to help you out in-between. You’ll come to find that your good days will start to outnumber the bad.