Struggling with a chronic pain condition or illness can quickly become overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. Whether you have experienced surgeries in your lifetime that have triggered debilitating pain or if you have a chronic condition that causes pain throughout your entire body, you may have been offered the option of painkillers and other prescription medications.
In 2016, the American Association of Addiction Medication estimated that more than 1.9 million individuals living in the US struggle with an addiction to prescription pain medication. With overdoses and fatalities continuously on the rise due to medications, it is no wonder turning to alternative medicine is also garnering widespread attention. Learning about various alternatives to prescription medication when managing pain is a way to avoid potentially dangerous chemicals while getting the relief you need.
Increase Water Intake
Remaining hydrated at all times as a chronic pain sufferer is an absolute must to keep your body functioning at its best. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day when you struggle with pain is necessary to avoid dehydration and additional symptoms that contribute to the pain you experience. If possible, eliminate drinking high-carb fruit drinks and soda packed with sugar, as these can trigger inflammation in some individuals, depending on your diagnosis.
Improve Your Diet
Improving your everyday diet is another lifestyle aspect to consider when seeking alternative treatments for managing both chronic and acute pain. Eliminate as much processed food as possible from your diet and grocery shopping, along with sugary and carbohydrate-packed options.
Instead, opt for foods that reduce inflammation such as cranberries, blueberries, cherries, asparagus, and plenty of leafy greens. Steer clear of wheat and gluten if your pain is due to inflammation under the skin (whether from a chronic pain condition or an autoimmune disease).
Use Natural Herbs and Spices
Natural herbs and spices can be useful to reduce inflammation and subside pain you have, regardless of your current condition. Whether you enjoy various types of tea or prefer cooking your own meals, there are plenty of options available to avoid prescription medication. While some teas offer anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is another spice known to help curb extreme pain while managing it without chemicals. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been known to reduce inflammation while also adding ligament flexibility properties when consumed. Use turmeric in meals you are preparing with meat or even in your favorite tea each day to experience the effects.
Meditation, Yoga, and Stretching
Although at times it may be nearly impossible to move without extreme agony when you have a chronic pain condition, stretching the body and incorporating yoga techniques is highly advisable when it is doable. Following basic yoga and stretching tutorials online with videos and imagery is a way to get started without traveling to a local studio or gym. Keeping the body as limber as possible reduces pain triggered by stiffness which contributes to the overall stress put on your body.
Another alternative to help with easing and managing pain is to implement meditation as an everyday practice. Studies have shown that simple meditation techniques that require as little as ten minutes each day can be highly beneficial when managing pain emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Having the ability to release focus and remain in the “now” is a way to assist in coping with chronic pain conditions without the use of prescriptions. Practicing meditation regularly over time has shown to help improve mental states and clarity in patients regardless of the struggles they are experiencing.
Stress Management Outlets
An important outlet that should not be forgotten is the ability to access stress management outlets when overcome with pain and chronic conditions. Seeking group therapy or individual counseling is highly recommended for those who are looking to manage pain and debilitating diseases without constantly turning to pharmaceuticals to help.
Although having friends and family by your side during times of struggle is comforting, talking with others about your condition who can also relate to you is a way to feel less alone and isolated, keeping you from the temptation of turning to painkillers and prescription pills. Seek out support groups in your area and when possible use counselors and therapists to talk to about your concerns and struggles.
While not all diseases and chronic conditions are manageable without some form of medication, taking the necessary steps to ensure you are providing your body with the right regimen can ultimately deter the need for reliance on painkillers.
Remaining in tune with your body’s reaction to various foods, exercises, and experiences is a surefire way to remain as healthy and positive as possible during a time of struggle.
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