Natural ways to manage chronic pain
By Charlie Fletcher
Chronic pain is something that many people live with, and for some individuals it can reduce life to constantly thinking about and experiencing pain. While there are several different forms of chronic pain and many ways to treat it, the most common course of treatment is prescription medications and opioids. These drugs have serious and sometimes deadly side effects, so finding alternative ways to help manage your condition is essential.
If you’re interested in a holistic and harmless way to manage your chronic pain, you have many options. Pursuing general wellness through diet and exercise is a great place to start. Next, you might want to look into holistic practices like massage and even placebos. Finally, don’t forget that spirituality is an effective tool to battle chronic pain. With these approaches, you may be able to manage your chronic pain without opioids and the risks that go along with them.
Pay Attention to Diet and Exercise
When it comes to pain management, it is likely that no single holistic technique on its own will provide you with all the relief you need. You will likely want to combine several techniques to achieve your desired results.
Diet and exercise are two of those techniques that should not be overlooked. In fact, the natural endorphins produced when you exercise have great pain-fighting qualities. Experiencing chronic pain can make you want to just sit on the couch and rest your body, but the next time you think about the couch, consider a walk around the block, a swim, or a bicycle ride instead. These are all low-impact forms of activity that can help get those endorphins flowing.
In addition to exercise, eating a well-balanced diet is important for many aspects of health. Food has the power to help reduce aches and keep your body working well. Think of your diet like medicine or as a gift you give to yourself. When you adopt that mindset, it’s easier to avoid sugar and processed foods that may taste good but are essentially poison for your body.
A few small shifts in your diet and exercise habits can go a long way toward managing your chronic pain in a natural and drug-free way.
Utilize Holistic Practices
When it comes to holistic practices, there is an endless list of options to choose from: acupuncture, essential oils, meditation, yoga, and therapy are just a few. One you might not have thought of is the use of placebos.
Placebos sometimes get a bad name and evoke images of naive people in medical studies being duped into believing the placebo was the real deal. However, they are a great demonstration of the power of the brain to change a situation. According to Maryville University:
"The so-called 'placebo effect,' where patients improve simply because they believe they are receiving a particular treatment is widely known, and it is typically seen as a psychological response. However, recent research is putting a dramatic and intriguing twist on the concept of the placebo. These studies have used open-label placebos, where patients are fully aware they’re not receiving a real drug. Despite the transparency of the placebo use, many of these patients have shown promising results."
While research about placebos is not conclusive, it’s clear that even the act of interacting with a physician and taking a pill, even a placebo, can be an effective way to manage your chronic pain. The great thing about placebos is that they don’t cause any negative side effects.
Another great holistic practice is massage. While it may seem like something you would only do on a vacation, massages are an effective way to manage chronic pain. By loosening up tissue and getting blood flowing, massage therapists can help work through any blocks in your body that are causing you pain and suffering.
These are just a few of the many holistic ways to help treat your chronic pain. When developing your own treatment plan, cast your net wide and try everything before deciding what works best for you.
The Effectiveness of Spirituality
Taking a spiritual approach might not be your first idea when it comes to managing ailments like chronic back pain naturally. However, spiritual and emotional wellness is extremely important and should not be overlooked. In the world of holistic healing, the mind and body are not separate, so it logically follows that taking care of your emotional well-being should be a priority.
Spirituality is even making its way into the traditional healthcare system. According to Duquesne University, “With the focus on holistic care and respecting and responding to individual patient needs, nurses are increasingly being asked to identify and fill spiritual requests.”
Incorporating spirituality into your healing and wellness plan is beneficial for many people. In addition to general wellness practices like eating a healthy diet and exercising, as well as utilizing holistic healing techniques, you have a great chance at harmlessly managing your chronic pain without addictive opioids.