When most people think of pain, it is related to wanting it to be gone – pain obviously hurts, and sometimes there is a reason for it. It can warn you that something is wrong – if you’ve pulled a muscle, have an infection, or have a graze or fracture to take care of. But for many of us, this primordial pain may persist long after it is useful. Once we know we have a problem, it’s better to fix it without being hindered by the pain around it.
Most people immediately resort to anti-inflammatory drugs or even consider surgery or other medical procedures to relieve the pain. Before you go there, however, there are natural tricks you can use to ease and relieve your pain.
1. Cold and heat therapy
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Do you remember sprained your ankle in physical education class or in the field in high school? Bump your head or hit the funny bone in middle school? Those crack-and-shake ice packs came out every time.
Using ice packs helps numb the pain in two ways: First, it reduces swelling, which is your body’s response to trauma but can also hinder healing. It also slows down your nerve impulses, which slows down the pain messages from the affected area to your brain. The recommended ice therapy lasts only 15 minutes each, with a 2-hour break between applications.
On the other hand, you want to use heat for sore muscles, stiffness, arthritis, and muscle spasms. You can use a heating pad or immerse the affected area in warm water.
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It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise can actually break the pain cycle. One way to increase the range of motion that the pain has reduced is to gently exercise the area, such as walking around the area. B. walking, cycling or swimming. This is especially true for chronic pain conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Endorphins exist in your body and they are natural pain relievers. Exercise releases endorphins that bind to the opioid receptors, thus blocking the perception of pain.
3. Mindfulness Techniques
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Keeping mind and body connected at all levels can be achieved through meditation, yoga, physiotherapy, or occupational therapy. Breathing techniques won’t eliminate all pain, but they can help alleviate the more traumatic feelings of that pain by grounding you and restoring a sense of control over your own body that the pain can take away. You can go a step further with the guided therapies that improve flexibility and strength and allow you to find techniques to carry out your daily activities without activating your pain sensors. Yoga involves breathing and stretching into a relaxation ritual that can help relieve back and neck pain.
Studies show that mindful meditation can improve pain symptoms, depression, and the general quality of life.
While acupuncture is an Eastern method, studies have shown that the ancient Chinese practice of piercing tiny needles into the skin can relieve pain by releasing serotonin from the body. Research says acupuncture can help relieve low back, neck, and knee pain. In addition, tension headaches can go away, and one study showed the practice helped manage chronic pain among hundreds of other conditions.
Although known for its self-nurturing properties, proper massage can relieve pain by relieving tension held by muscles and joints. It also relieves stress and anxiety. Manipulating soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments, increases blood flow and reduces overall tension.
6. Herbal Remedies
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Herbal pain remedies have been around for as long as herbs have been around, yet they have not yet been thoroughly studied. Remember 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 purpose. Capsaicin, for example, breaks down a compound that transfers the sensation of pain from the peripheral to the central nervous system. Ginger has phytochemicals that help reduce inflammation. Feverfew treats headache, stomach ache, and toothache, but studies are needed to prove its real effectiveness. KavaKava is brewed in a tea for tension headaches; Ginseng is said to thwart symptoms of fibromyalgia; St. John’s Wort may be effective in treating pain related to sciatica, arthritis, and neuropathic pain.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which protects the body from free radicals that damage the body’s cells. It treats indigestion, ulcers, psoriasis, and even cancer. Cloves, meanwhile, treat topical pain and even fungal infections, although more research is needed. This is because a key ingredient in cloves is eugenol, which is a natural pain reliever, especially for dental work.
So before spending time with the doctor or signing up for medical treatments, which can be expensive and time-consuming, try some of these home techniques. These techniques can provide an alternative for those who want to manage pain with fewer side effects than traditional medication pain relief.
Keep in mind that they may not be as effective as traditional methods, especially for severe pain or aches and pains resulting from certain, intense conditions. Do not take these agents as a substitute for medical treatment and always ask a doctor if you experience any new pain.
Darlena Cunha is a freelance writer and professor at the University of Florida with degrees in communications and ecology.