5 All-Natural Pain Management Methods
Living with chronic pain can seem unbearable some days. Doctors think you’re exaggerating your pain, family and friends don’t quite understand what you’re going through, and you may even begin to gaslight yourself and think you’re just “weak”. But your pain is real — and you deserve to feel relief. If over-the-counter and prescription medications aren’t helping ease your pain, it’s time to look into other options. Here are 5 natural pain relief and management methods that may help lessen your chronic pain.
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Acupuncture involves inserting extremely thin needles into a person’s skin at specific spots on the body. The science behind why so many people feel pain relief after acupuncture therapy is still unknown, but the reasoning behind it stems from the Eastern belief of an energy or “qi” that flows through everyone’s body. When the energy in your body is unbalanced or the flow is blocked for some reason, you can experience pain and illnesses—acupuncture is thought to bring your body’s energy flow back into balance.
Regular acupuncture therapy has been effective in treating hundreds of conditions. Some of the most common conditions that acupuncture has shown to be helpful include:
- Back, neck, and shoulder pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- Seasonal allergies
- Cancer treatment side effects
Spinal Decompression Therapy
Many chronic pain sufferers have found relief after adding spinal decompression therapy to their routine. Chronic back pain can happen for a variety of reasons like disc bulges, degenerative disc diseases, or sciatica. Many doctors recommend spinal decompression as a non-surgical method to relieve some of the pressure that’s causing your pain.
Spinal decompression therapy involves using a special decompression table that will gently stretch the spine. By stretching the spine, doctors take the pressure off of your spinal discs—this allows better movement of water, oxygen, and other nutrients that will help heal the gel-like cushioning between your vertebrae. It usually takes several weeks of treatment to start feeling long-term pain relief, but this method is shown to be extremely helpful for people suffering from debilitating back pain.
Natural painkillers can provide a wide variety of benefits in addition to pain relief.
- Willow bark. The bark of the white willow contains salicin, a chemical that is similar to the main ingredient in aspirin. Willow bark is regularly used to relieve pain, fevers, ease inflammation, headaches, and osteoarthritis.
- Turmeric. The antioxidant curcumin in turmeric can help protect the body from free radicals that damage cells and tissue. It’s a popular natural remedy for indigestion, ulcers, and psoriasis.
- Cloves. Clove oil can ease nausea and treat colds, as well as ease toothaches, headaches, and arthritic inflammation.
- Cannabis. The chemical compounds cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) activate the parts of your brain that can reduce pain levels. THC is a psychoactive compound that creates the telltale “high”, but CBD does not. Both are well known for their pain relief properties.
Your state of mind is more powerful than most people think when it comes to dealing with their physical pain. Physical therapists and doctors often advise patients who are struggling with physical pain to add a mental therapy component to their physical pain management treatment. Practicing mind-body exercises yoga, tai chi, or meditation has been shown to be effective in helping pain management, as well as help people relax, decrease their anxiety, and strengthen their body. People with hip, back, knee, or shoulder pain often benefit from adding yoga to their routine.
Many pain and cancer centers use music therapy to help their patients with pain management. By providing stimulation to more of a patient’s senses, music can help patients:
- Reduce their perceived pain
- Decrease anxiety and stress
- Promote relaxation, rhythmic breathing, and better rest
When paired with other relaxation techniques, people struggling with pain can often learn to relax easier while listening to music. This technique helps chronic pain sufferers rely less on pain medication, improve respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure, as well as have a better quality of life overall.
When to see a doctor
For a lot of chronic pain sufferers, it can be hard to differentiate between your “everyday” pain and pain that’s a sign that something else in your body is off. Natural pain relief methods may not be as effective for all types of pain or for more severe pain. If you are in serious pain, speak to your doctor about different treatment options available.
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