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There are many different natural treatments for pain management outside of medications. They can be practiced along with or instead of standard medical treatments to relieve pain and reduce the many symptoms that plague chronic pain sufferers. Of course, it is important to always follow your doctor’s directions and advice in regard to any treatment methods. Some of them could help improve your quality of life if you just give them a try.
Instead of living a life that involves a stressful job, a stressful commute to work, or stressful relationships, many chronic pain patients have found relief in changing those things in their life that they find more stressful, living a life instead that offers them a more peaceful life. Others have turned to stress-relieving activities like yoga, Tai Chi, qi gong, and meditation as ways to relieve stress.
Relaxation and the various techniques that lead to relaxation have been found to reduce the symptoms of chronic pain in many cases.
Ten minutes of meditation or twenty minutes of the East Asian tradition of qi gong can impose a relaxed state of body and mind that secondarily reduce the symptoms of chronic pain in ways that science has yet to explain. Read How to Reduce Stress in Your Body for more tips.
Herbs For Chronic pain
While there aren’t many research studies on herbs for chronic pain, many have turned to them for relief and there is empiric data indicating that some do work for pain.
Here Are Some Herbs That Might Relieve Some Of The Symptoms:
- Ginkgo biloba. Gingko is known to improve blood flow to the brain. It is also a good antioxidant. This means that it may help with memory or cognitive issues. It may also help with premenstrual symptoms seen in those with the diseases. Dizziness caused by ear dysfunction and depression are also good reasons to take ginkgo biloba.
- Valerian. Valerian root is generally used to relieve insomnia and for the management of anxiety, which are both issues that those with chronic pain face. This herbal supplement, derived from Traditional Chines Medicine, can help you get to sleep faster so that the quality of your sleep is improved. Some research studies have looked into the use of valerian root for alleviating depressive symptoms and menopause.
- French maritime pine bark extract. This contains certain substances that are known to increase the blood flow to the brain, improving cognition. This herbal supplement is also called pycnogenol and helps with dizziness and disorders of the female reproductive system, including painful periods.
- St. John’s Wort. St. John’s wort can help those suffering from the low mood and anxiety symptoms seen in chronic pain. It also relieves symptoms of menopause, which tend to be harder on individuals with chronic pain.
- Melatonin. Melatonin is also not technically an herb but is a good supplement for chronic pain. It is a normal human hormone produced in the pineal gland located deep within the brain. Melatonin helps control an individual’s sleep and wakefulness. It is often taken at bedtime to supplement the melatonin produced by the pineal gland in order for you to get some sleep. It is generally considered to be safe and is effective in helping you feel sleepy when you are supposed to be sleepy. When you sleep better, your perception of pain is lessened and you suffer from less fatigue during the daylight hours.
- Probiotics. These can be helpful in those individuals who suffer from irritable bowel symptoms as part of their chronic pain. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can be taken orally in supplement form or in the form of foods containing probiotics, such as yogurt and kefir. The healthy bacteria set up shop in the large intestines and help in metabolizing those things that our bodies don’t metabolize.
A Little More About Probiotics
We take the metabolic products from the bacteria that take nutrients we don’t use as food for themselves. Probiotics are believed to be good choices for chronic pain sufferers who have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, and constipation. Probiotics are generally well tolerated but do cause some people to suffer from excess gas or abdominal bloating. If you have chronic pain with irritable bowel symptoms, try probiotics to see if they can be one beneficial natural treatments for pain management.
Alternative therapies for chronic pain are drug-free ways of helping control the symptoms. These therapies are generally considered to be safe and are available to most people who suffer from the condition. Here are some good alternative treatments for chronic pain:
Massage involves therapeutic application of hands on the body in order to relieve muscle tension and aid in relaxation. If you have chronic pain, a good massage can be very relaxing, thus improving your symptoms.
There are many different types of massage, some of which might be too hard on your aching muscles. Tell the massage therapist you have chronic pain so they can gauge their treatments toward a gentler massage that will make you feel better without exacerbating muscle pain.
Acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese medical principles, which assert that the body contains a natural form of flowing energy called qi. When the qi is blocked, illness can happen. The acupuncturist evaluates your symptoms and then inserts sterilized needles into specific points on the body, including those responsible for pain.
Chronic pain sufferers can get relief from acupuncture from their musculoskeletal pain and can find headache relief. Be sure to tell the acupuncturist about all your symptoms so they can place the needles in the right positions to help your symptoms. Sometimes the needles are twirled or heated for the maximum effect. Acupuncture needles are very fine so they usually don’t hurt when inserted and even the twirling and heating of the needles are not painful.
Be sure to visit a credible and accredited acupuncturist that maintains a clean office space.
Capsaicin cream is a remedy that directly acts to relieve pain. It is made from hot chili peppers and is designed to apply on the specific areas of the body experiencing pain. Capsaicin cream depletes the amount of substance P in the tissues so that it doesn’t send pain signals to the brain. Because it takes a while for substance P to be depleted, this isn’t a cream designed for immediate relief.
You may experience burning or tingling when the cream is applied but, when used regularly, the substance P is depleted, and you have resolution of your painful symptoms. Rub it on your tender points or sore muscles for eventual pain relief.
Hypnosis has a longstanding tradition of being able to induce a relaxed state of mind, which can relieve chronic pain symptoms. Hypnosis can be practiced by a trained hypnotherapist or can be done to yourself. There are many self-hypnosis CDs that will guide you through the process of hypnotizing yourself or a hypnotherapist can teach you how to do it without their help. Hypnosis is completely safe and can be effective in reducing stress.
Muscle relaxation therapy is a treatment that can induce profound muscle relaxation and relief of anxiety. There is a technique known as Jacobson’s relaxation technique or progressive muscle relaxation therapy. When doing this form of therapy, you focus on alternately tightening and then relaxing certain muscle groups in a specific sequence. This increases your awareness of bodily sensations and leaves you relaxed and less anxious.
Meditation is one type of natural treatments for pain management in which you use the power of your mind and the focus the breath to relieve tension and induce relaxation. There are several types of meditation techniques. Some just focus on breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, while others focus on the use of a mantra or syllable that aids in getting to a deeper state of relaxation. Still others use guided imagery, which involves imagining a peaceful and beautiful place. In the process of meditation, you imagine yourself in that space, taking note of all the senses you would experience if you were actually in the imaged space.
All forms of meditation can be successful in reducing anxiety and tension. The best part of meditation is that, once learned, it can be practiced anywhere for times when you most need it.
Meditation also has many real benefits for the mind, body, and spirit, including improving brain health and healthier aging, along with alleviating depression and anxiety.
Hydrotherapy uses water as a way to ease symptoms of chronic pain. Water, especially warm or nearly hot water, can loosen the stiffness of the muscles when you submerge yourself in it. Water can be used along with aromatherapy or bath salts to ease emotional tension. Hydrotherapy also involves the use of warm compresses on sore areas or steam, such as you’d find in a steam bath. It has calming properties, which can make you feel better if you have chronic pain. Hydrotherapy can also help with headaches.
Reflexology is based on the idea that the body has energy in it called qi and that the energy travels throughout the body in the form of “highways” called meridians. There are areas of the foot that respond to these meridians and when stimulated by pushing on them, the flow of qi energy is increased and the health problem is relieved.
It can be used for a variety of complaints, including digestive problems, abdominal cramps, and headache. Reflexologists are often found in places that also do massages. Look up a good reflexologist on the internet to find one near you.
This is a form of mind-body exercise based on an ancient Chinese martial art form. Today, Tai Chi is used to increase balance, improve concentration and mental cognition, and provide relaxation. It involves doing slow fluid movements, while concentrating on the breath resulting in a type of meditative dance.
Tai Chi can be done by just about anyone in any physical shape and is very low impact on the muscles or joints. It is taught at some health clubs, community centers, martial arts studios, and on instructional DVDs so you can learn how to do this at home. Tai Chi is not only a good form of exercise but also it is very relaxing and can reduce the tension you experience as part of having chronic pain.
For those who feel that Tai Chi is too hard for them or want to use a form of exercise that can be done sitting down, try Qi Gong. This, like Tai Chi, is a mind-body exercise based on ancient Chinese martial arts principles but has been adapted by Westerners for use in improving health.
The movements in Qi Gong are gentler than those used in Tai Chi and can be used by those who are unable to stand or are even in bed. Qi Gong induces relaxation as part of its benefits. You will also be more flexible, and it can reduce muscle aches. Qi Gong is one of the natural treatments for pain management that is a good starting point for many.
Graded Exercise Therapy
While exercise is probably, the last thing you want to be doing when you hurt, there is a lot of research to support that mild to moderate exercise can reduce pain and promotes the increase of endorphins, allowing you to feel better. Endorphins are brain chemicals that cause you to feel good and exercise is one way to enhance them.
How to Start Graded Exercise Therapy
With graded exercise therapy, you can begin exercising in bed if that’s all you feel you can do. Start with gentle exercises in bed and then gradually work your way out of your bed into doing exercises in a chair or through standing and walking.
Take it slow, especially if you are really sore and don’t do anything jarring that can aggravate the joints. After several days, weeks, or months of increasing your exercise, you will find a happy medium and a form of exercise you can stick with.
Don’t be afraid to switch up your exercise program so that it is different from day to day. That way you can look forward to your exercise and will not see it as such a chore.
Yoga is a form of exercise that has been practiced for centuries. It involves performing several different poses, called “asanas” while focusing on the breath. There are many different kinds of yoga, some of which are more strenuous than others. A basic form of gentle yoga is called Hatha yoga. In Hatha yoga, the poses improve your balance and flexibility without putting undue stress on your joints or muscles.
This form of yoga helps transform pain responses in the mind and body to healing responses for all natural and very effective pain management.
A relaxation pose that puts the body and mind at ease helps to bring about a natural sense of well-being and restorative yoga uses gentle poses with conscious breathing to turn on this healing relaxation response.
More Benefits of Yoga
Yoga affects more than just your body. By focusing on the poses and your breath, a state of deep relaxation can be experienced, which not only improves the pain outlook, but also helps anxiety and depression that is so often seen with chronic pain conditions.
Hatha yoga doesn’t need anything in the way of equipment except perhaps a yoga mat and a towel to help aid you in doing the more difficult asanas. Some props are used in restorative yoga to make poses completely stress free for the body.
Be sure to learn yoga from a qualified instructor, DVDs are available, from which you can learn in the comfort of your own home.
People of all fitness classes can engage in strength training to improve muscle strength and increase body endorphins in much the same way as graded exercise therapy can (which is usually aerobic exercising).
Anaerobic exercises such as strength training are not designed to increase your heart rate or to maximize cardiac health but are strictly forms of exercise that improve muscle strength.
Strength training for people with chronic pain can involve lifting weights as light as a soup can in several repetitions, making use of all the muscles of the upper extremities. These strength-training workouts can even be performed while sitting in a chair.
You can even put weights inside long stockings and tie the stockings together in order to lift the weights with your legs. Tension bands work very well for those who feel uncomfortable lifting weights and yet still want to strengthen their muscles.
Try These Natural Treatments for Pain Management
Although some of these natural treatments for pain management might sound daunting, it is important to try all aspects of pain management. Depending on your abilities, some might not be on option but some of them you might just like.