EVERYONE experiences pain at some point in their lives whether it is stubbing your toe on the coffee table, dealing with joint pain or fibromyalgia, straining your back playing golf or recovering from surgery. People can have acute pain (pain lasting under three months) or chronic pain (pain lasting longer than three months). The actions you take to treat your pain will effect the outcome no matter how big or small.
I’ve compiled a list of natural methods to try (along with professional medical treatment) to help you find the relief you deserve.
- Get Moving- You know the saying If you don’t use it, you lose it ? Well this is true for joint mobility. Studies show time and time again that immobility is the worst thing you can do for chronic pain and overall health. Critical care research actually shows that patients who stay active and walk each day in the hospital have shorter stays in the hospital and better outcomes (1). This principle can definitely be applied to treating chronic pain day to day. Do not start out running a 5K! Set a small goal first, like walking down the street each day. Click here to read more about physical activity and benefits of walking. Other easy ways to get moving include:
- ROM exercises- Choose any joint on your body and really focus on using your full range of motion in this joint. Take it slow. If you are experiencing extreme pain STOP. But a little discomfort is OK. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.
- Positive affirmations– Develop a positive affirmation or a mantra. Pinterest is my favorite place to find new positive affirmations. Choose a few that resonate with you, write them down, and say them habitually like you mean it. It will seem silly at first but it will become second nature after a few days. Make sure your affirmations are positive. Click here to read the research on the powerful effects of self-affirmation in the brain. Avoid the word “pain” in your affirmation. Here are a few that I really like:
- “I choose wellness and health”
- “I believe in myself and my body”
- “My body is getting stronger and healthier each day”
3. Natural Remedies-
- Heat therapy– Heat is best to use for muscular stiffness or pain. It stimulates the flow of blood and oxygen into certain areas of the body. Heating pads can be purchased at your local drug store for a very reasonable price, a cheaper alternative is using a warm wet towel. Warm showers and whirpools can also provide some of these therapeutic effects to sore areas of the body.
- Ice therapy– Cold therapy actually works to decrease blood flow when applied to the skin. Cold therapy is best for areas of bruising, swelling, hives or blisters. A cold compress can be easily made with ice from your freezer or a frozen bag of vegetables wrapped in a towel. Cold therapy should be applied to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time.
- Essential oils– aka volatile oils, are used in aromatherapy which is all about our strongest sense, smell. They are the concentrated, fragrant essences found in many plants and herbs. A study found that patients with chronic neuropathic pain, a pain that is often times resistant to opiates, found relief of their symptoms using bergamot essential oil aromatherapy. Another study suggests that lavender is an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Read more about my favorite essential oils.
- CBD oil– CBD has been used in medicine dating back to 2900 BC. It is referenced in many ancient greek and Chinese literature. Research overwhelmingly suggests that CBD oil is a powerful pain reliever in people with a variety of conditions and has a long list of other medicinal benefits (6, 7). Read more about my take on CBD oil here.
4. Relieve Stress- Pain and stress are very closely related. They have conceptual and physiological overlaps- both challenge the body’s health and impair necessary activities of daily living. According to studies, both can actual change the chemistry of your brain. Click here to read more about ways to deal with stress.