Chronic pain occurs when pain in your body lasts longer than three months and you’re not seeing signs of improvement from current treatment. This typically means that your body is still sending pain messages to the brain, even if the original cause of the pain (such as arthritis or injury) may no longer be there.
What are the types of chronic pain?
Chronic pain is fairly common and affects about 1 in 5 people in the U.S. It can severely disrupt your life, making it difficult if not impossible to work and enjoy family and social time. Common types of chronic pain include back pain, headache pain, joint pain and chest pain. If you are currently suffering, continue reading this blog to learn how you can help treat chronic pain naturally.
Here are some ways to treat chronic pain naturally:
Working out releases endorphins, which are hormones that can increase your pain threshold and communicate with the brain to change your perception of pain. Low back pain is a common type of chronic pain, but certain stretches and exercise can help alleviate its symptoms. Effective exercises for back pain include yoga postures like child’s pose and cat/cow. For joint pain, try swimming or yoga.
Always listen to your body and do what feels right for you. If you are in too much pain to exercise, it’s alright to start slowly and then gradually build up. Go for a walk and then continually increase your activity from there.
Essential oils can do wonders for pain, and help calm your muscles. Massaging oils such as rosemary, clary sage and eucalyptus into the areas of discomfort can help to significantly reduce pain. These oils penetrate the skin and can enhance circulation and immune function, helping to clear inflammatory triggers from that area of your body. In addition to alleviating pain, the smells of these oils help calm and relax the mind, improving overall mental health.
According to a study in the Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, people with fibromyalgia who applied these oils to painful areas of their body regularly for one month experienced greater improvement than those who used a placebo oil.
Vitamin C consumption can help alleviate painful symptoms, particularly for arthritis sufferers. The vitamin acts as a protector of the cartilage and bone. A recent study by Arthritis & Rheumatism showed that osteoarthritis sufferers who consumed the most vitamin C (about 500 milligrams per day) reported less knee pain and were three times less likely to experience a progression of their symptoms over seven to ten years than those consuming the least. To up your vitamin C intake, snack on C-rich foods such as guavas and red peppers. For more nutrition advice, read these suggestions from Nutritionist Jill Borba.
Handling any anxiety and depression that could be associated with your chronic pain is also very important. Meditation can help with this. Do your best to research approaches and try out programs that work best for you. A 2015 study found that 109 patients with chronic pain who were assigned to a mindfulness meditation program reported more pain relief, in addition to lower anxiety and depression, than those who did not participate.
Chronic pain can be significantly improved with nutritional and lifestyle changes as well as with natural medicines. To learn more about how our Nutritionist or Naturopathic Doctors can help you lessen chronic pain, contact us to schedule an appointment today.