The United States has a pain problem. An estimated 100 million American suffer from chronic pain, according to figures from the American Academy of Pain Medicine. Unfortunately, many people simply treat the pain symptoms, rather than the underlying problem. This is one reason that prescriptions of opiate painkillers are at an all-time high, with 207 million prescriptions for these medications each year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Fortunately, there are effective all-natural pain relief alternatives that can alleviate symptoms. Here are a few suggestions:
- Try Acupuncture
Taking a cue from Eastern medicine, where acupuncture has been used for centuries, Western medicine practitioners are now adopting this safe and effective practice. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles (often no bigger than a human hair) into certain points on the body. Some practitioners believe that this can stimulate muscles and nerves, triggering the release of natural painkillers.
- Use Heat and Cold Therapy
Sometimes, the best interventions are the simplest ones. For recurring pain, try application of a hot pack for 10 minutes or longer to soothe away pain. Application of heat to the affected area stimulates blood flow and suppresses your body’s natural pain signals. Follow with a cold pack that can decrease inflammation in muscles or joints. Cold therapy also has the benefit of slightly slowing nerve impulses and anesthetizing skin, which can result in pain reduction.
- Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is more than just “mind over matter.” It is a specific, scientifically validated practice that has been shown to decrease the experience of chronic pain. In a 2015 study by researchers in Israel found that a brief mindfulness training experience resulted in participants having a significantly higher pain tolerance and a more rapid adjustment to painful stimuli. This suggests that cultivating mindfulness can help you overcome pain.
Mindfulness involves observing the world in a non-judgmental way. A good introductory practice is to sit comfortably, slowly breathing in and out, in and out. Follow your breath, noting any sensory experiences (sights, sounds, tastes, touch) occurring to your body. Simply note the existence of these sensations without being drawn into them. If you find yourself following a train of thought, just draw your attention back to breathing.
- Take a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Supplement
Chronic pain is often accompanied by a spike in the levels of inflammatory molecules. This inflammation can trigger throbbing, aching, or radiating pain. Fortunately, there are great supplements that provide the anti-inflammatory compounds needed to alleviate pain. Naturally occurring enzymes and amino acids such as L-taurine, L-glutamine, chymotrypsin, white willow bark, bromelain, and papain can reduce inflammation and trigger natural analgesics.
- Get More Vitamin D
Several scientific studies have found a link between chronic pain and deficiency in vitamin D. In a 2003 study, scientists found that 93% of patients who presented with persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain were vitamin D deficient. One of the easiest ways to get vitamin D is to increase your sun exposure, as the body naturally produces this vitamin when exposed to UV light. For those who live in gloomy climates, vitamin D can be found in fatty fishes such as sardines, tuna, and herring. It is also added to dairy products and cereals. Taking a daily supplement of vitamin D is a good way to ensure you get enough.
These statements and products have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration “FDA” and are not intended to diagnose treat, cure or prevent any disease. The products, nutrition, and or lifestyle suggestions on this site, or in this blog or any of its written content, you should always consult your primary care physician before taking any of these things into consideration.