JUST SAY NO: drug-free ways to ease pain
~By Sheila Garcia
Many people struggle with pain; whether it’s short-term pain from an injury or chronic pain due to disc issues or arthritis, neuropathy or fibromyalgia, we all want to find relief. Pain clinics and medical interventions are definitely places to seek out for help, but some pain sufferers look for additional or supplemental ways to find relief that don’t always involve drugs, appointments or doctor visits. Although chronic pain is a real physical symptom, it also has mental and emotional components. That may be why some surprising non-physical pain remedies seem to help. In a recent topic from Stanford University of Medicine and a Spark People in-depth discussion, some methods for dealing with pain in a drug-free way were revealed.
1. Stay positive: Although sometimes it is extremely hard, making a conscious effort to have a positive attitude is very helpful to those in pain.
2. Breathe deep: Breathing techniques may be helpful, particularly with sharp, acute pains. Think about the almost hypnotic, Lamaze-style breathing that helps women in labor. Consider learning breathing strategies from a yoga teacher or study other meditation techniques that focus on breathing.
3. Dial down the stress: Stress not only makes an emotional impact — it can affect you physically, too. You can’t rid your life of every stressor, but you can try relaxation techniques to dial down the stress in your life.
4. Rest up: There are some types of pain that just wipe you out. But sleep and pain have a love/hate relationship — it’s hard to sleep when you hurt, and hard to feel better when you’re not well-rested. Some studies link pain, poor sleep, and fatigue together. It’s often overlooked, but a restful night’s sleep of 8 or so hours really can help reduce pain and discomfort levels.
5. Massage envy: Massage therapy can help chronic pain on many levels. It’s relaxing and soothing, and it provides contact with another person, valuable if you often feel isolated or alone. Massage may directly address sore muscles, and it can provide counter-stimulation at the skin level that actually interferes with the pain-signaling mechanisms to ease deeper, achy pains.
6. Topical talk: A mustard pack, a long-standing home remedy, is made by making a paste of ground mustard and applying it under a cloth close to the pain. There is also healing bentonite clay, and the ever-classic epsom salts soak.
7. Alternative help: If your bad days outnumber or equal the good ones, you might need to change your pain management techniques. Among the complementary and alternative medicine approaches that have been shown to help pain is acupuncture, chiropractic, and cognitive behavioral therapists.
8. Exercise responsibly: Moderate exercise should be part of everybody’s pain management program, so ask your Legacy Fitness Coach to help with any specific injuries or pain you may be having during your routine.
Pain relief outside the pill bottle may be hard to fathom, but could very well be worth its weight in gold. Seek out alternatives that could not only help relive your pain, but build your health and fitness lifestyle and legacy from the inside-out.
Some sources for this article:
Natural Sciences Degree Program
Stanford University School of Medicine