It’s likely that you, or someone you see every day, is fighting to manage chronic pain, a condition that affects 100 million Americans. This is more than the numbers dealing with heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined. Chronic pain is considered any pain that lasts longer than three months, and it can cause changes in your nervous system that get worse over time. Relief seems like an impossible goal. Many rely on strong pain medication to manage their problem, though this has the risk of dependency and accidental overdose.
If you’re dealing with chronic pain and looking for a more natural way to manage it, try one of these practices and see if your pain doesn’t get better.
It sounds like expensive pampering, but massage is a treatment option that’s backed by research showing how effective it is in treating chronic pain in many parts of the body, including the lower back and shoulders. Painful knots or trigger points are often the reason for this pain. Because those with chronic pain are super sensitive to touch, a massage therapist (no matter what technique used) needs to take care not to over stimulate the area of pain. A skilled practitioner with experience working with trigger points and chronic pain will know where to put their hands to ease out the knots, without making things worse.
Another costly treatment, this option often makes people cringe at the thought of being stuck with needles, but they are sterile, hair thin so you feel little if anything when they’re inserted. Acupuncture has been used safely for centuries to treat chronic pain and other conditions. Its gained wider acceptance in the U.S. with studies showing that it can successfully reduce levels of discomfort that are part of life when dealing with chronic pain. It can be very effective for those who can’t tolerate medication or who don’t want to take it.
You should be sure that the source of your pain is not a ligament tear, break in a bone or another structural issue before you consider acupuncture. Usually 6 treatments are needed before you can tell if your pain is getting better.
3. Proper Workouts
If a particular exercise ups the intensity of your pain, then you’re not ready for that yet. It can help to gradually add strengthening exercise to your routine, however they can hurt you more if you start them before you have your pain under control. When you do an exercise you increase muscle tension and this can make soft tissue pain worse. Experts suggest you start with stretching exercises that are research proven to help chronic pain related to the lower back. Yoga can also be helpful, but you need to talk with the instructor to change poses as needed. Being in tune with your body, so you know what makes pain worse, is super critical here.
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Manage Chronic Pain in 5 Natural Ways Continued…
4. Stress Management
Studies show a link between sustained stress and chronic pain. When stress is pushed inward, this can bring on muscle tension. You need an outlet that’s safe and healthy to release that excess energy. There are lots of choices in terms of stress management (deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, guided imagery), so you’ll need to do a bit of research to find what feels right for you.
Research finds that skipping sleep may exacerbate your pain, so getting the good, quality rest you need is very important for keeping chronic pain in check. Sleep is one of the best medicines in terms of pain, just as Mom used to say. It can help to set up a pre sleep routine that helps you wind down and sends a signal to the body that sleep is soon to come. Chamomile, mint and passionflower teas are very calming. If you wake during the night, try to avoid walking about, putting on lights or checking your devices; relax quietly and rest instead.
To your good health,