Some 40 million American adults suffer from severe and frequent pain. If you’re one of them, knowing that you’re not alone can be comforting. But it doesn’t take the pain away.
Long-term prescription painkiller use is concerning. About 40% of opioid drug overdose deaths happen on prescription opioids, not street drugs. Even more mild NSAID painkillers like aspirin or ibuprofen can wreak havoc in your body when used long term.
There must be a better solution for pain relief than medication.
There is. Check out these 9 natural pain relief options.
Endorphins are the body’s own natural painkiller. Few people are aware of how effective this hormone can be at raising your pain threshold.
One of the best ways to release endorphins in the body is through regular exercise. For some people, though, pain is part of the reason they avoid exercise.
However, even starting small and gradually increasing your activity level can improve your symptoms. Gentle exercises like simple yoga moves and stretching can do wonders to get you started. Once you start feeling better, your body will actually crave exercise and you’ll enjoy it, further enhancing its pain diminishing effects.
2. Hot/Cold Compresses
For localized pain, alternating hot and cold compresses can be effective. This is especially helpful if exercise aggravates a certain pain. Exercise for the systemic effect and then use hot and cold compresses to relieve the most painful points.
Why does this work? The application of heat and cold cause the body to release heat-shock and cold-shock proteins. These help to reduce inflammation and naturally relieve the associated pain.
What if there were an anti-inflammatory you could take that was more effective than ibuprofen without the nasty side effects? Amazingly enough, there is!
Turmeric root contains the bioactive compound curcumin. This compound is highly effective at treating inflammation, one of the main underlying causes of pain.
You can get curcumin through eating turmeric root, but the concentration is very low (only about 2-5%). For best results, you should look for a curcumin supplement. Curcumin is fat soluble, so taking it with oil will help your body absorb it better.
4. Fish Oil
Fish oil is another powerful anti-inflammatory. The results are pretty impressive.
This study found that after taking fish oil for 75 days, nearly 60% of participants stopped taking their prescription painkillers. If you’re looking for a simple way to get away from medication, this could be it.
5. CBD Oil
Another oil that has been getting a lot of attention recently is CBD oil. Though it comes from the marijuana plant, it doesn’t have the same psychotropic effects as THC. Read more about the difference between CBD and THC here.
CBD oil is legal in 30 states but with restrictions and limited availability, hard evidence of its effects is still scant. Plus, without standard regulation, not all CBD oil is equal.
However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that CBD oil can be an effective treatment for pain. Just be sure to buy it from a reputable supplier.
6. Vitamin D
About 1 billion people globally are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is interesting in that simple sun exposure causes the body to naturally produce it. But with growing concerns about skin cancer, it seems that people are losing out on this important nutrient.
A vitamin D deficiency can affect your quality of sleep. Poor sleep can increase inflammation in the body and worsen your pain. If you don’t sleep well, trying a vitamin D supplement may help with that and your pain symptoms.
You could also try going for a walk outdoors every day to get a little exercise and vitamin D in one fell swoop.
7. Mediterranean Food
Processed foods and overconsumption of sugar can lead to excess inflammation in the body. If that tends to be the bulk of your diet, an overhaul might be in order.
Opting for a Mediterranean style diet full of fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, and olive oil can make a huge difference. This type of food will help regulate your blood sugar levels and control inflammation. If you’re overweight, this is a particularly good choice as it helps promote weight loss.
Acupuncture treatments have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. Modern medicine is catching on and there is compelling evidence that the treatment is effective for pain relief.
The treatment involves sticking tiny needles into certain points of the body. Not only does this stimulate the release of healing hormones but also can affect the brain and cause it to experience pain differently.
Do you feel like you need a little something extra on top of diet, exercise, and supplements? Acupuncture could be what you’re looking for. Of course, be sure to seek out a licensed practitioner for best results and safety.
9. Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy
This might sound more like something that belongs in science fiction. But there is evidence that shows sending an electromagnetic pulse through the body’s tissues can help reduce inflammation.
This is one of the pricier options for natural pain relief on this list. But it definitely worth it to stay off prescription painkillers and still enjoy some pain relief.
You Can Find Natural Pain Relief
All this to say, natural pain relief is possible. Every person’s body is different so you may have to experiment a little to find the right method of pain relief for you.
Just know that there are plenty of options out there. You don’t have to choose between taking potentially dangerous medication and living with chronic pain. There are ways to avoid both altogether.
For more great health tips and tricks, be sure to visit our blog. We’re constantly updating with new information to help you live the best, healthiest life possible!