Those of us suffering from chronic pain know that this affliction touches on every part of our day-to-day lives. From affecting your mood to limiting your mobility, acute and chronic pain can make it difficult to live a rewarding and fulfilling life. All natural pain relief techniques can make a significant difference to your symptoms and your quality of life.
Far too often, those suffering from pain turn to practices and products that can have a further negative impact on their health and can even lead to loss of life. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opiate abuse kills 128 people each day in the United States alone.
As awareness of the crisis grows, more and more people are turning to all natural pain relief treatments to help ease their pain symptoms. A number of these show great promise for delivering effective pain relief, but the search continues for a genuinely effective and safe treatment.
To help those suffering, we’ve put together this list of practices to help ease pain and help you get back to living a happy and fulfilling life. Many of these are easy to incorporate into your daily routine — and while they may not cure your pain outright, they can help take the edge off and contribute to brighter, happier days.
Natural Tips for Reducing Chronic Pain
Unlock your Body’s Natural Pain-Killers with Exercise
Our bodies produce all natural pain relief and mood boosters, known as endorphins. Endorphins fight pain by binding to opioid receptors in your brain, thereby reducing the perception of pain, boosting mood, and increasing a sense of calm and comfort. Fascinatingly, endorphins work in much the same way as several opioid pain medications like morphine or oxycodone. Giving your body the boost it needs to kick endorphin production into overdrive can significantly reduce your perception of pain and leave you feeling healthier and happier all around.
The most effective way to boost endorphin production and find all natural pain relief is through moderate exercise. Getting the blood pumping with cardiovascular exercise is a great way to help your body feel its best and deliver a surge of pain-relieving and stress-melting endorphins on demand. Of course, those suffering from chronic pain may frequently find that their mobility is limited and that certain types of exercise are difficult or impossible to perform comfortably. In such cases, start slow; you may be surprised by the benefits of a brief walk or other light exercises. And with time, the boost you get from this light activity may help make it possible to engage in more significant and endorphin-boosting activities.
Eat a Healthy, Endorphin-Boosting Diet
There’s some real truth to that old adage, “you are what you eat”. To work properly, our bodies need all the proper building blocks, and our diet is one of the most important contributors to that. From vitamin deficiencies (more on that in a moment) to over-indulgence in unhealthy foods, your diet may contribute to your chronic and acute pain.
A number of studies have shown that a poor diet can be a major contributor to chronic pain. Increasing your intake of healthy whole-grains, vegetables, and fruit can give your body the crucial fuel it needs to work and feel its best.
Many foods also naturally and safely boost your body’s endorphin production. Dark chocolate, spicy foods, and moderate alcohol consumption have all been shown to boost endorphin levels and contribute to a happier mood and reduced severity of pain. Additionally, high-carbohydrate foods are often linked to endorphin production, and a modification to your diet may give your body the boost it needs to help fight off chronic pain.
Get More Vitamin D
Although this may seem like an unusual tip for all natural pain relief, some studies have shown a link between Vitamin D deficiency and chronic pain, especially in the lower back. In fact, a 2003 study from the University of Minnesota found that 93% of participants suffering from persistent musculoskeletal pain were deficient in Vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is an important part of many of our most vital physiological functions. However, it only occurs very rarely — and in very small amounts — in the food we eat. For many suffering from chronic musculoskeletal pain, an unknown Vitamin D deficiency may be a contributor.
However, this is easily addressed by spending just a little more time in the sun. When ultraviolet rays from the sun hit our skin, the body naturally begins to produce Vitamin D. A little bit of sunshine isn’t just good for your mood, but can also be a safe and effective way of reducing the severity of musculoskeletal pain.
For those with limited mobility or who live in areas without ample sunlight, worry not. Vitamin D supplements are also widely available, and allow pain sufferers to get the Vitamin D their bodies need even when circumstances would otherwise make it impossible.
Although inflammation is one of our immune system’s most important tools, inflammation is also one of the most common contributors to significant and chronic pain. When the inflammatory response is overactive, it can cause tissues to swell and put pressure on nerves. This sends a pain response to the body, which is the root cause of many, if not most, chronic pain conditions.
In addition to proper exercise and nutrition, those suffering from chronic pain may consider taking products with anti-inflammatory properties.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a category that includes aspirin and ibuprofen, have long been used to take the edge off of chronic pain resulting from inflammation. However, most are intended for occasional use in order to relieve moderate pain symptoms.
Turmeric supplements are another common anti-inflammatory that many pain sufferers swear by. A moderate daily dose of turmeric may have a significant impact on your perception of pain.
A growing number of pain sufferers are also turning towards alternative all natural pain relief therapies. One of the most promising is hemp cannabis treatment. Hemp cannabis is enjoying a growing body of research and a surging number of passionate users who claim that regular use of hemp and its derivative compounds have had a significant impact on their chronic and acute pain.
In such communities, cannabidiol (CBD) is widely regarded as a potent and effective pain relief tool. A wealth of studies have shown that CBD has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, and its therapeutic potential has been a major contributor to the growing social acceptance of cannabis-derived products in America. However, CBD can interfere with a number of prescription medications in a manner identical to grapefruit, so consider consulting a medical professional before beginning CBD use to address inflammation-related pain.
Use Heat and/or Cold Therapy
Using heat and cold therapy is an old all natural pain relief trick that can do wonders for your pain symptoms. Depending on the type of pain that you’re experiencing, one or the other may work better for you; for some types of pain, alternating between hot and cold may be your best bet.
For those suffering from chronic pain, heat therapy will generally be the most effective treatment. Applying a hot compress to areas of the body suffering from pain can have a significant, near-immediate effect on pain symptoms. It works by dilating blood vessels, which in turn increases the flow of blood to the area and helps to relax sore muscles. This can have a substantial positive effect on reducing the symptoms of chronic or acute musculoskeletal pain.
Cold therapy, by contrast, is typically more effective for recent injuries. It works by decreasing blood flow to the application site, which in turn reduces the body’s inflammatory response (one of the most significant causes of both temporary and chronic pain). Applying a cold compress can also slightly numb the affected area, which may offer temporary benefits for even chronic pain.
Towards a Pain-Free Tomorrow
We are in the midst of several crises — but current events don’t change the fact that too many in our society are struggling with acute and chronic pain. The search for a healthy, effective, and lasting all natural pain relief treatment continues unabated.
But even if there is no single cure for your pain symptoms, a little help can go a long way. Hopefully, some combination of the all natural pain relief techniques we’ve described in this article can make a difference for your acute and chronic pain.
If you are suffering from chronic pain, know that you are not alone. Groups such as the American Chronic Pain Association have chapters throughout the country. They can offer support, education, and pain management techniques that can help you live a happier, more productive, and less painful life.