According to the CDC, chronic pain affects 20.4 percent of adults or about one in five people in the US.
Managing chronic pain is always a challenge. Sure, there are plenty of prescription and over-the-counter medications for pain relief, but you always have to worry about adverse effects and even the risk of addiction to some powerful pain pills.
It’s no surprise that more people seek alternative pain relief that doesn’t involve popping a pill.
The good news is that you may find the answer through natural pain remedies. Researchers have started looking at the effectiveness of these options. While more studies are still required, some are very promising and have already helped a lot of people.
Read on to learn more about some of the best natural methods to relieve pain.
As you sweat and put in the work, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are “feel-good” chemicals that help alleviate pain while also activating positive feelings. They work similarly to the cannabinoids in medical marijuana (check out Harvest HOC for more information).
But what if it’s too painful to exercise? Doctors advise patients to start slowly, do things little by little, and then ramp up on the activity.
Strengthening key muscle groups can also help relieve pain in a problem area. For example, building your core muscles is an effective rehabilitation method for chronic lower back pain.
2. Heat and Cold Therapy
Applying heat and ice directly to pain sites are tried-and-true methods to ease the discomfort. While most people know about this, some get confused about when to use heat versus cold therapy.
Applying an ice pack can reduce swelling at the early stages of inflammation, such as after a strained muscle or gout flare-up. But using heat in this situation can increase the swelling.
Once the inflammation subsides, heat therapy becomes the better form of natural pain relief. It can increase circulation to that area and promote healing. Heat can also soothe muscles and reduce stiffness.
Turmeric is a spice that’s popular in Indian cuisine. The active ingredient is Curcuma.
According to a study, Curcuma extracts are as effective as ibuprofen for knee osteoarthritis. Furthermore, Curcuma has fewer gastrointestinal adverse effects. Other studies suggest that turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Fish Oil
Fish oil is another nutritional supplement that shows promise in dealing with chronic pain. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are potent anti-inflammatory agents.
In one study, fish oil proved to be an equal and safer alternative to NSAIDs in treating non-surgical neck and back pain. Most subjects in the study (59 percent) even discontinued their prescription pain medication after 75 days of taking fish oil.
5. Managing Chronic Pain Through Meditation
Mindfulness meditation can be an effective way of coping with chronic pain. It’s all about the mind-body connection. You can channel your mind to envision a pain-free body through deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
Initial studies show that mindfulness meditation can improve pain and depression symptoms. However, further studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of meditation for chronic pain.
Pain, Pain, Go Away!
Managing chronic pain doesn’t mean relying solely on pain medications. You can try natural remedies to make the pain go away.
But always have a talk with your doctor first before trying any alternative pain relief methods. Also, keep in mind that some natural pain management techniques may not work for everyone.
For more health tips, please browse the rest of our site.