People experience chronic pain in many areas of the body, including (but not limited to) the neck and back, knees, shoulders, and feet. One big risk is ending up eventually with a prescription for opioid types of drugs. With those you run the risk of addiction and even accidental overdoses and death. Finding alternative ways to relieve chronic pain without medication is much safer and healthier for you.
Chronic pain isn’t easy to overcome, but you can take charge. Simple changes in your lifestyle, diet, and exercise routines can help ease your pain.
Try these techniques to experience relief:
- Manage stress. Stress can increase chronic pain and make it more difficult to manage. Try a variety of strategies to relax and reduce stress to see which ones work the best for you.
- Yoga and meditation are two stress-reduction strategies that can help.
- Journaling about your stressors is another great and simple way to lessen arthritis pain without drugs.
- Consider tai chi or qi gong also — these are gentle techniques drawn from traditional Chinese medicine.
- Take a warm bath with lavender aromatherapy or even epsom salts (to absorb magnesium through your skin) before bed
- Try breathing exercises. By simply focusing on your breathing, you can relax your muscles and reduce pain. Deep breathing exercises can also reduce blood pressure, eliminate stress, and decrease the heart rate. The basic instruction is usually to inhale through your nose, fill up your abdomen with air, then slowly exhale through your mouth for a relaxing breath.
- Find fun distractions. Instead of concentrating on the pain, try distractions that help you forget about it.
- Hobbies and activities such as watching your favorite movies or reading a new book can help. You may also want to try drawing or other ideas that help you fill your time and avoid thinking about the pain.
- Increase your water intake. Dehydration can make chronic pain worse.
- Avoid inflammatory food. Fast food and processed food can increase inflammation in your body, so your chronic pain also increases. Foods with a lot of sugar and salt also contribute to inflammation and increased pain. Work on the stress relief too, because stress can worsen inflammation and pain in sharing some of the same biological mediators in the body.
- Add more anti-inflammatory food. On the other hand, nuts, leafy greens, fatty fish, berries, and other items can help you fight inflammation and reduce pain. They have antioxidants that fight damage on the cellular level (oxidative stress). There are also a number of different natural herbs and antioxidant nutraceuticals that can lessen pain.
- Focus on posture. Posture can help reduce the stress on your back and cut down on chronic pain. Check out a Pilates class for help with this.
- Consider the way you sit and stand. Experts recommend that you avoid slumping your shoulders and lowering your head. The spine should be straight, so circulation is better.
- Discuss your health. Researchers have found that talking about your health can reduce pain. The American Psychological Association points out that talking about your pain can help you discover management techniques.
- Try massage. Massages can reduce chronic pain by improving circulation and blood flow.
- Massages help reduce back, shoulder, and neck pain. They can also help your overall health.
- Find support. Health experts recommend finding support groups that focus on chronic pain. These groups give you the chance to meet others who suffer from chronic pain. If you have a specific diagnosis like fibromyalgia, there are several online resources for you to find.
- They can offer advice and tips for managing pain. They can also provide doctor and clinic reviews or recommendations. By talking to others who have chronic pain, you can learn new techniques to deal with your pain.
- Chronic pain is linked to anxiety and depression. The social aspect of support groups can also help in coping with these side effects.
- Support groups are less formal settings, and online groups offer privacy and anonymity, so you can feel comfortable sharing your experience.
Even if you take medication for your pain, you can further reduce it with these techniques. Follow your doctor’s advice, reduce stress and inflammation, and find support, and you’ll be on the way to the pain relief you’ve been seeking.
Natural Wellness Zone is a blog discussion of approaches to self care using complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies that make sense to help people dealing with a range of health challenges. Kris Greenway is a fellow patient who has researched and found more natural ways to deal with a long list of health problems, including type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, leaky gut, and arthritis. She includes information and updates from expert physicians to educate people about their natural wellness options.
Natural Wellness Zone is a blog discussion of approaches to self care using complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies that make sense to help people dealing with a range of health challenges. Kris Greenway is a fellow patient who has researched and found more natural ways to deal with a long list of health problems, including type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, leaky gut, and arthritis. She includes information and updates from expert physicians to educate people about their natural wellness options.