Chronic pain is persistent and can last weeks to years. Symptoms can range from a dull ache and stiffness to burning and throbbing pain. Pain might cause other problems, like trouble sleeping, mood changes, and fatigue.
Treatments for persistent pain can include medication to heal symptoms, such as inflammation. Many natural remedies provide patients with pain relief and help them enjoy a better quality of life.
Natural pain management can help if you have medication sensitivities or prefer a more holistic approach to your condition. Continue reading for tips on how to manage chronic pain naturally.
Tips for Coping with Chronic Pain
While your body recovers and heals, you can practice techniques that help you deal with the pain. Natural pain management techniques include:
- Deep breathing and meditation. ‘Relax, just breath,’ is a way to cope with pain, particularly discomfort from tension and muscle soreness. Meditating and falling into a relaxed state can ease tightness. Focusing on your breathing can refocus your thoughts from pain to a mantra – or statement to help you concentrate.
- Reducing stress. Your body’s sensitivity can increase with negative feelings like stress, anxiety, depression, and anger. Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which increases pain perception.
- Exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins that improve mood and block pain signals. Stretching for chronic back pain can alleviate stiffness, tension, and tightness.
- You can also strengthen your body to prevent future pain from an injured area. If your weight is a contributing factor to your chronic pain, workouts can help you burn calories.
- Join a support group to learn how to manage chronic pain. Others with chronic pain issues can share their experiences and coping recommendations and help you feel supported.
- Get a massage. Massages are the earliest forms of natural pain management, as they decrease pain, fatigue, and swelling. Stimulating soft tissue improves circulation, stimulates the lymph nodes, and releases toxins. A massage can also reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Distractions. Activities, entertainment, and projects can shift your focus from pain to the task at hand. You may be able to distract yourself if your pain is unavoidable.
- Acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. These treatments encourage the body to heal faster, release endorphins, and reduce inflammation and pain.
Pain relief is not a one-size-fits-all situation. You might need to try multiple things to achieve reduced pain. Likewise, natural pain relief or alternative medicine can take a slower time for you to notice their effects.
Managing Pain Naturally
Certain foods provide the same or similar effects of medication. For instance, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can improve inflammation pain. Most anti-inflammatory foods include the following:
- Berries, like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, contain an antioxidant that has an anti-inflammatory effect and boosts your immune system.
- Fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies, contain omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation.
- Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects and decrease heart disease and cancer risk.
- Nature also provides natural pain relievers. Many herbs and spices treat conditions as alternatives to pharmaceutical medications. Three of these natural pain management remedies include:
- Willow bark, which eases inflammation, pain, and fevers. It contains a chemical that is similar to the primary ingredient in aspirin. You should avoid willow bark if you have an allergy to or are currently taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
- Turmeric, which treats indigestion, ulcers, stomach upset, psoriasis, and inflammation. The spice has an antioxidant that protects the body from damaged cells and tissues.
- Cloves, which alleviates nausea, headaches, toothaches, and arthritic inflammation. It can also work as a topical pain reliever since it contains eugenol, a natural pain reliever. Clove oil can increase bleeding risk, so you should be cautious if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners.
It would help if you also cut out alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol might confuse the nervous system and dull sensations, but it makes chronic pain worse in the long-run. Combined with pain medication, alcohol consumption can be dangerous. Smoking also worsens pain by impairing your body’s ability to heal and negatively affecting nerves.
Identifying Doctors and Types of Pain
Many conditions can cause chronic pain. It is beneficial for you to identify the pain type to select the right treatment and medical professional. For instance, you might have chronic pain relating to:
- Your back. The vast majority of people experience back pain at some time. Unless you know how to manage chronic pain, long-lasting back conditions can feel debilitating.
- Cancer. Symptoms and treatment for the condition can cause a wide variety of discomfort and agony, from stiffness to nerve pain.
- Carpal tunnel, which is a pinched or compressed nerve in the wrist. This syndrome can stem from overuse and other conditions.
- Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which is damage to nerves, diabetes can cause.
- Fibromyalgia. The syndrome creates widespread chronic pain through soft tissues in the body, like joints, muscles, and tendons.
- Headaches and migraines. There are too numerous causes of chronic headaches to list, but they can stem from genetics, environments, injuries, allergies, and sensitivities.
- Herniated disc. A herniated disc can cause radiating and shooting pain through your back from your shoulders to your feet.
- Your neck. Neck pain can come from a chronic condition or from just sleeping poorly.
- Osteoarthritis or osteoporosis. Both of these conditions are degenerative, which means symptoms become worse without treatment.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. RA causes inflammation as the body attacks its joints.
- Sciatica and pinched nerves. When nerves become irritated, they trigger the sensation of pain.
- Spinal stenosis. When the bone channel in your spine narrows, the pressure on nerves sends feelings of pain and numbness.
- Tennis elbow, which is another way of saying damaged tendons in your forearm.
The type of doctor you see for your chronic pain will depend on your condition. For example, you would see an oncologist for cancer or an endocrinologist for diabetes or a bone disorder.
Contact ChiroCare of Florida to speak with one of our team members about your chronic pain and corresponding condition. A treatment appointment at one of our offices could help you manage your long-term discomfort.