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Joint and Muscle Health

Pain Management

9 Pain Management Choices Without Drugs

Pain can be a healthy way to let you know that something is wrong with your body. When acute problems turn chronic, the discomfort you feel turns into something that makes it hard to manage your daily routine.

If you have a headache that keeps coming back, lower back pain that limits movement, or joint issues that create discomfort, it might be tempting to reach for the pain killers in your medicine cabinet.

The benefit of medicine is that you expect relief. If you take these pain killers regularly, did you know that some can trigger even more discomfort with a rebound effect?

It is possible to feel better without needing to take drugs. Several pathways are available to help you overcome chronic pain problems.

What Can I Do to Start Managing My Pain?

If you are ready to take control of your pain management needs, here are the different choices that can help you start to feel better.

1. Reduce the stress triggers in your life.

There is a significant connection that exists between pain and stress. When your brain encounters chronic issues without relief, the lack of coping can cause tension that becomes a headache, muscle pains, joint stiffness, and more.

Meditation is a natural pain reliever when you have lots of stress in your life. If you can dedicate 20 minutes to this practice daily, significant improvements can develop in less than a week.

When you spend time meditating, the brain releases endorphins that work to relax the tissues and muscles around your joints. That outcome creates a calmer state that eventually helps you feel less pain. [1]

If you cannot reach the 20-minute mark, even five minutes is better than nothing.

2. Try to get 150 minutes of moderate-level exercise each week.

Although moving might be the last thing on your mind when dealing with pain, some gentle activities can start the recovery process. The goal should be to get 150 minutes of moderate-level exercise each week. [2]

When your heart rate reaches at least 50% of its maximum, you’re getting that recommended level.

Exercise acts as a natural pain reliever because it loosens stiff muscles while improving blood flow. Those attributes are what contribute to the healing process. [3]

The easiest way to calculate your heart rate is to subtract your age from 220 before dividing that number in half. If you are 40 years old, you’d need a pulse of 90 while exercising to reach the moderate level recommendation.

3. Use a pain relief oil. Natural oils rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) work well for acute pain, especially when cramping or discomfort is related to hormonal changes. [4]

GLA is an essential fatty acid that balances hormone levels to ensure the body can stay at or near homeostasis.

If you take prescription medication for high blood pressure, seizure disorders, depression, or a bleeding problem, you’ll want to check with your doctor before trying this option.

When you have bruises or joint injuries that cause nagging discomfort, arnica oil can help with the management of pain. [5] It works to reduce inflammation at the application point to start feeling better.

Additional choices include lavender, rosemary, and peppermint. Most pain-relief oils need to be applied between two to four times daily to maximize relief.

Please remember to read the label on all pain relief oils to reduce the risk for complications, including potential allergic reactions.

4. Incorporate integrative medicine techniques into your daily routine.

When acupuncture, tai chi, and yoga are part of the daily routine, these techniques can provide natural pain relief by tapping into the mind-body connection.

These activities combine mindfulness, gentle movement, and deep breathing to manage pain without drugs. It calms the unhealthy activities that happen in the mind while keeping your brain in the present moment.

It takes about 30 minutes per day to achieve results with these techniques. If you pursue acupuncture, you’ll want to work with a licensed and experienced provider to maximize your investment.

Since some yoga forms can be physically challenging to accomplish, you might get to double up on your pain relief efforts by participating in moderate-level exercises. [6]

5. Take a warm-water bath.

When sore joints and muscles receive targeted heat exposure, the body responds by stepping up its blood flow and circulation. You can achieve this management of pain outcome through a whirlpool tub, bathtub, or water therapy pool. [7]

The heat opens the blood vessels, encouraging the circulatory system to start working more efficiently.

This approach works better when you have injuries that are a few days old. If something just happened and you have swelling, ice is a better treatment option.

6. Invest in massage therapy.

If you receive a high-quality massage, the pressure and movement inspire blood flow improvements to the targeted areas. It also reduces muscle tension while boosting feelings of general wellness.

Although similar results are possible with targeted percussive therapy, a hands-on massage from a qualified therapist can manipulate soft tissues in faster, more effective ways. It is a practical approach for those times when pain triggers occur in the ligaments and tendons.

There is no way to tell if massage therapy will be effective or if a specific style is more helpful than others. That means it might take a trial-and-error effort to decide on the best pain management option in this category.

7. Change your eating habits.

When you experience chronic pain, the foods you eat could be contributing to your discomfort. Many starches and carbs have an inflammatory effect in the body that enhances the problem.

If you eat an anti-inflammatory diet, you’ll be consuming foods like whole grains, nuts, fish, beans, fruits, and vegetables. [8] You’ll be limiting saturated fats while boosting omega-3 fatty acids.

When you take this approach to pain management, you can also reduce your personal risk for heart disease development.

8. Allow yourself to laugh.

Laughter has a remarkable impact on the human body. When you laugh, the activity has a positive effect on the pain receptors that make a person feel uncomfortable.

When you laugh in a social environment, the pain reduction benefits increase. [9]

Several additional benefits occur when laughter is part of your daily routine. It can increase oxygen intake, improve blood circulation, and release endorphins.

9. Improve your sleep quality and quantity.

Restorative sleep is a crucial component of your body’s natural pain management processes. The average person needs between seven to nine hours of rest each night to engage this mechanism. [10]

If your sleep quality is poor, immediate adverse effects develop with brain function, hormonal balance, and exercise performance.

Poor sleep is also linked to increased disease risks and weight gain for children and adults.

You can improve your sleep quality by taking several specific steps during the day.

· Increase your bright light exposure during daytime hours.

· Reduce your blue light exposure within 60 minutes of when you want to go to bed.

· Avoid caffeine in the afternoon.

· Try to fall asleep and wake up at consistent times.

What Natural Pain Relief Option Should I Use?

If you want pain management benefits without drugs, the goal should be to release endorphins with a natural product or physical activity.

The endorphins produce results because they bind to your brain’s opioid receptors to block your perception of discomfort.

If you’re ready to tackle your acute or chronic discomfort, our natural pain relievers deliver results fast. You can avoid the rebound headaches, medication side effects, and addictive qualities of some prescription pain killers while working to feel better each day.

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