Ten natural ways to relieve pain

By Milliam Murigi
Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Physical therapy.
In summary

For many people, over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are the go-to option when in chronic pain. But you may be surprised to know you don’t need medication to feel better. However, you may have to see a doctor if symptoms persist. Milliam Murigi compiles other alternative  treatments used to ease pain.

1. Using heat and cold

Heat pads and hot water bottles can provide some relief from pain. The heat tends to ease pain and encourage muscles to relax.

Cold can be useful soon after an injury to relieve pain, decrease inflammation and muscle spasms, and help speed recovery.

You can alternate between the two to bring more relief from symptoms.

2. Regular exercise 

Exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you are in pain. But staying physically active, despite some pain, can play a helpful role for people with some of the more common pain conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.

Exercise in the form of walking, cycling, or swimming loosens stiff muscles and improves blood flow, both of which speed your body’s natural healing process.

3. Acupuncture 

Acupuncture involves inserting extremely fine needles into the skin at specific points on the body. This action may relieve pain by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkilling chemicals.

It may also influence levels of serotonin, the brain transmitter involved with mood.

Acupuncture is used mainly to relieve discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, including: Chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea and vomiting, dental pain, headaches, including tension headaches and migraines, labour pain, low back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, menstrual cramps and respiratory disorders, such as allergic rhinitis.

4. Chiropractic care

Spinal manipulation (one of several options that include exercise, massage, and physical therapy), can provide relief from low back pain.

This form of treatment focuses on the relationship between the body’s structure, usually the spine, and its function.

While most people will visit a chiropractor for the management of low back or neck pain, it can be helpful for headaches and upper- and lower-extremity joint conditions.

It has also been used to treat pain associated with fibromyalgia (Widespread muscle pain and tenderness).

Chiropractors may use spinal adjustments and treatments like electrical stimulation, relaxation techniques, rehabilitative and general exercise, and counseling on diet, weight loss, and lifestyle.

5. Massage

Massage used to be considered an indulgence, but it’s now recognised as a therapy for some painful conditions.

In fact, therapeutic massage is an active area of research. It has been studied for its effect on pain in the back, hands, neck, and knees, among other areas.

Therapeutic massage may relieve pain by way of several mechanisms, including relaxing painful muscles, tendons, and joints; relieving stress and anxiety; and helping to “close the pain gate” by stimulating competing nerve fibres and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.

6. Music therapy

When we listen to music, endorphins are released. Endorphins are hormones, which interact with receptors in our body and interrupt pain signals, relieving pain and giving a sense of wellbeing.

Listening to music reduces anxiety associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

If you exercise to a playlist, you have probably noticed that music helps you stick to your routine. 

It can also quell nausea and vomiting for patients receiving chemotherapy. Over all, music therapy decreases pain perception, reduces the amount of pain medication needed, helps relieve depression in pain patients, and gives them a sense of better control over their pain.

Music therapy may involve singing, writing music, listening to music, and playing instruments.

7. Yoga 

It incorporate breath control, meditation, and movements to stretch and strengthen muscles.

They may help with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, low back pain, arthritis, or headaches.

8. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about learning to be present in the moment, not worrying about the future or the past.

It’s a powerful tool in reducing stress, which in turn reduces pain levels. Through relaxation, mindfulness can allow you to gain better control over your emotions and cope with your pain more effectively.

9. Physical therapy

Stretching and strengthening muscles with the help of a physical therapist help stop recurrent pain.

Physical therapy can also improve overall muscle functioning, which reduces strain and risk of injury in the long run.

10. Good sleep

The effects of sleep deprivation on the brain are numerous, from inducing an inebriation-like state of cognitive impairment to hindering our ability to learn and form new memories.

Also, a lack of sleep impairs the brain’s natural mechanisms for relieving pain.

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