A Guide To Natural Pain Relief
The reasons you might find yourself requiring pain relief are numerous. It might be due to an individual injury that needs some extra attention. Perhaps it’s a chronic condition that needs constant monitoring. Or it may just be the monthly period pains that blight the lives of those with a uterus – but the need remains the same. Stripped back, whatever the cause, the process you require is as follows:
Step One: Something hurts.
Step Two: You don’t want it to hurt anymore.
Now, sure, there are some advocates of all things natural who will insist pain is a good thing. They will tell you that pain needs to be experienced because it pushes the body into releasing endorphins – nature’s pain relief. There’s some science behind this claim, but there’s a fundamental misunderstanding as well.
While your body can naturally relieve itself of pain, using the chemicals known as endorphins, it’s an exhausting cellular process. It takes a lot for your body to do it, and as a result, it’s only reserved for the most severe types of pain. Go out hiking and trap your leg in a bear trap, needing to limp your way to survival? That’s one for the endorphins to take over and give you some relief. Got a headache as you’ve been reading gossip online for too long? Your body isn’t going to do anything at all (except perhaps judge you for your gossip habit).
Above, I mentioned the different types of pain. Acute pain, which is caused by a short-term illness or injury. Then there’s chronic pain, which is defined as lasting a period of over three months. This too might be due to injury but is more likely to be due to health conditions. When dealing with management of pain, it’s important to differentiate between these two different types.
Why Deal With Pain Naturally?
Without any ideological slant on it (as the pharmaceutical versus natural argument tends to become a vicious one), there is one point to keep in mind: efficacy.
The more you take prescribed painkillers, the less effective they become. Your body adjusts to them and sees them as normal, so they don’t have the same painkilling properties. So even if you are pro pharmaceuticals, there’s good reason to try other sources of pain control first – so you save the big stuff for the big problems.
If you’re already convinced of the merits of natural remedies, then this is one argument that’s already been won.
Acute Pain – Short Term Tactics For Relief
Acute pain management is about providing immediate relief. You won’t find a massive amount of benefit to making dietary alterations for acute management, for example – these need awhile to kick in. Focus on fields that are going to work within 24 hours.
Heat and Cold
For any injury or illness, an application of either heat or cold will bring pain relief. There are competing theories as to why these work. Some suggest it’s a real relief in terms of relaxing muscles that are tense. Others argue that the application of temperature variation confuses the nerve endings, interrupting the pain signal.
Either way, they work. A headache; sinus infection; swollen ankle – all will benefit. Use wheat bags or ice wraps on the impacted area for instant relief. Keep the skin protected from extreme temperatures by using them over clothing or through fleece linings, just as an extra precaution.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The benefits of eucalyptus oil are substantial, particularly in an olfactory sense. If you have a head cold, sinus infection or a headache, then turn to Eucalyptus for relief. Use in a room spray, diffuser or just shake a few drops onto a tissue and inhale from a distance of two inches.
Tiger Balm is a soothing balm that has been used in certain parts of the world for centuries. You can buy the branded product or make your own, though the latter does require a lot of tinkering with the recipe to ensure you get it right. If you do make it, it will keep for an age, so it’s worth having on stand-by.
Chronic Pain Management – All About Long Term Gain
With long-term conditions, dietary choices really begin to make an impact.
There is little debate in either conventional or natural communities about the benefits of spice. Whether it’s shaking a little extra paprika onto a meal or using turmeric wherever you see an opportunity to do so, it’s beneficial. Spices have been attributed with all kinds of health claims, many of which check out when studied. If you see a chance to use a spice, then do it. And don’t forget cinnamon, which should be added to all hot drinks as a matter of course.
After years of anti-fat propaganda, the idea that some fats might be good for you seems bizarre. But they are; from Omega 3 and 6 to the fats found in avocados, coconut oil, and even butter.
Apple Cider Vinegar
An old remedy but one that millions across the world swear by. A small amount of apple cider vinegar on a daily basis has been claimed to ease arthritis and other chronic pain conditions. If skeptical, this is certainly one that goes into the “can’t do any harm” category, so give it a try. It’s an acquired taste, but given the health claims, maybe it’s one worth trying!
Stepping away from diet, TENS machines are medically-verified ways of handling pain. In the same way heat and cold is theorized to be beneficial, TENS interrupt the pain signals from the affected area to the brain. They are particularly beneficial for neuropathic pain, though those with severe period pain have also found them helpful.
Lymphatic massage can provide natural pain relief from a variety of conditions – and it can be done from home. The idea is that lymphatic fluid collects when your body isn’t working as it should, either from injury or illness and by releasing this fluid you will feel an improvement in symptoms. Millions swear by it, so give it a go and see if it helps you too.
Living with pain can seem unbearable and prescription medications can be loaded with side effects. There are always Natural Pain Relief options available.