6 Natural Ways to Relieve Pain

When most people think of pain, they do so in the context of wanting it to go away; pain obviously hurts, and there’s usually a reason for it. It can alert you that something is wrong – if you have pulled a muscle or have an infection, or have an abrasion or a broken bone that you need to take care of. But for many of us, that original pain can persist far beyond its usefulness. Once we know we have a problem, it is better to solve it without the adjacent pains handicapping us.

Most people immediately turn to anti-inflammatories or even consider surgery or other medical procedures for pain relief. However, before you get to that, there are some natural treatments you can use to try and ease your pain.

Natural treatments for pain relief

hot and cold therapy

Do you remember that sprained ankle you sprained in gym class or on the field in high school? What about bumps on the head or funny bones in high school? Ice packs were constantly used.

Using ice packs helps numb the pain in two ways: first, it reduces swelling, which is the body’s response to trauma, but can also make healing more difficult.

Additionally, it slows nerve impulses, which stops pain messages traveling from the affected area to the brain. The recommended ice therapy lasts only 15 minutes at a time, with a 2 hour break between applications.

On the other hand, heat is recommended for sore muscles, stiffness, arthritis and muscle spasms. You can use a heating pad or immerse the affected area in warm water.

Exercise

It may go against your intuition, but moving around can interrupt the cycle of pain, and one way to increase mobility that pain has reduced is to gently exercise the area, such as walking, cycling, or swimming. This is particularly recommended in the case of chronic pain such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Endorphins are natural pain relievers. Exercise releases endorphins that bind to opioid receptors, helping to block the perception of pain.

mindfulness techniques

Keeping the mind and body connected on all levels can be done through meditation, yoga, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.

Breathing techniques won’t eliminate all pain, but they can help ease the most traumatic feelings of that pain, grounding you and giving you back the sense of control over your own body that pain can take away from you.

You can go further with guided therapies that improve mobility and strength, and allow you to find techniques to perform your daily activities without activating your pain sensors. Yoga incorporates breathing exercises and stretching into a relaxation ritual that can help relieve lower back and neck pain.

Studies show that mindfulness meditation can improve symptoms of pain, stress, depression, and overall quality of life.

Acupuncture

Although acupuncture is an Eastern method, studies have shown that the ancient Chinese practice of placing tiny needles into the skin can reduce pain by causing the body to release serotonin. Research indicates that acupuncture can help relieve lower back pain, neck pain, and knee pain. Additionally, tension headaches can dissipate, and a study has shown that the practice helps control chronic pain, among many other conditions.

Image: belchonock – Depositphotos.

massage

A good massage can relieve pain by working the tension that muscles and joints hold. It also relieves stress and anxiety. Soft tissue manipulation, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments, increases blood flow and reduces overall tension.

Medicinal plants

Herbal remedies for pain have been around forever, yet they haven’t been thoroughly researched. Keep in mind that herbs are not necessarily benign and these therapies are not regulated by any government agency.

The list of herbs that can be used for pain relief is long, but each has its own use.

Capsaicin, for example, removes a compound that transfers pain sensation from the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system.

Ginger contains phytochemicals that help reduce inflammation.

Feverfew treats headaches, stomachaches, and toothaches, but studies are needed to prove its true effectiveness.

KavaKava is boiled into a tea for tension headaches; Ginseng is said to counteract the symptoms of fibromyalgia; St. John’s wort may be effective in treating pain related to sciatica, arthritis, and neuropathic pain.

Turmeric contains curcumin, which helps protect the body from free radicals that damage body cells. Treats indigestion, ulcers or psoriasis.

Clove, on the other hand, treats topical pain and even fungal infections, although more research is needed. Indeed, one of the main ingredients in cloves is eugenol, which is a natural pain reliever, especially in dental care.

Remember: do not take these remedies as a substitute for medical treatment and always consult a doctor if you experience new pain.

Leave a Comment