Pain management is an area of healthcare that requires careful consideration. If you are dealing with chronic pain, you may want to rely on modern medicines, but those can cause troublesome side effects or can lead to addiction. Drugs like Percocet, Vicodin, Codeine, and other pain management drugs are very powerful pills that more often than not do more damage than help. They change the body’s pain receptors which in turn doesn’t solve the problem—only making things worse.
In early times in human civilization, healers developed simpler methods of dealing with pain in their patients, and these can still be of use today.
Heat and Ice
Heat and ice are the old standbys for pain relief; from simple sprains and strains, to chronic conditions such as back pain or arthritis. A warm heating pad can relieve a number of common aches and pains, including back pain, neck pain, strained muscles and nerve pain. Gel-packs that can be warmed in the microwave oven are also available, which can be a handy way to provide heat for painful areas. An ice pack, placed on the affected area for 10 minutes on and 20 minutes off, can help to reduce inflammation and swelling, associated with pain.
Herbal Remedies for Pain
A number of herbal compounds can be helpful for painful conditions. Capsaicin, derived from hot chili peppers, has been used for many years to deal with pain from arthritis and neuralgia, fibromyalgia and even migraines. Willow tree bark, from which aspirin was once made, has analgesic properties that can be helpful for treating a variety of painful problems.
Turmeric root is another traditional herbal treatment for pain. The compound’s anti-inflammatory properties help to calm inflamed tissue and relieve pain. Glucosamine-chondroitin compounds can be used to manage pain from osteoarthritis.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that uses very fine needles that are inserted into specific points in the body, to block pain signals to the brain. Scientific studies have found that acupuncture can be an effective method of relieving many kinds of discomfort, including arthritis pain, migraines, back pain, neuralgia, cancer pain and even mood disorders. Patients report a significant reduction in discomfort, along with increased well-being and ability to function.
Chiropractic is a method of healing that uses a practitioner’s hands or small instruments to re-align spinal structures to provide better function. It has been used for many years for back and neck pain, but has also been found to have value for shoulder pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia and other painful conditions.
Touch has long been known to have a beneficial effect on health. The use of massage to relieve pain and improve health goes back thousands of years. Massage therapists may use a variety of actions, such as kneading, stroking, tapping, or rubbing, with the hands, finger or elbows, to release tension from muscles and improve circulation of natural pain-relieving chemicals throughout the body. Massage may use additional features, such as hot stones, aromatherapy, cupping or other methods to enhance the effects.
Meditation not only improves concentration and focus, it can also help individuals with their experience of pain. The patterned breathing, mental focus and physical relaxation of meditation can reduce the sensation of discomfort and encourage a sense of calm and control. These features can have a beneficial effect on anyone who is experiencing a painful condition.
Yoga uses formalized positions, called “asanas,” that strengthen muscles and improve both balance and flexibility. The positions are accompanied by patterned breathing exercises that enhance lung function, circulation and oxygenation of tissues. Many physicians recommend yoga for their patients experiencing pain, to improve their physical condition, mental function and emotional well-being.
Like yoga, tai chi can provide increased muscle strength, flexibility and better circulation throughout the body. The slow, formalized movements of tai chi can also help promote better mental focus and can regulate moods. Combined, these benefits can help to relieve pain and provide a heightened sense of well-being that can improve the perception of painful symptoms.
Throughout history, dealing with painful conditions has been a part of the human experience. A variety of methods were developed over time to relieve both large and small discomforts, often using material in the natural environment and often using the ability of the human body to heal itself. These natural remedies for pain can still be used today to help you reduce your use of pharmaceutical compounds that often have high costs and unpleasant side effects.
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