Prescription drugs are powerful and potentially addictive, which is probably why one in five Americans report misusing their medications at least once during their lives. Unfortunately, it you have a condition that causes chronic pain, such as arthritis or a back injury, you might wonder what you can do to cope with your symptoms. Here are two effective ways to manage your pain naturally, without popping any pills.
1: Take Time to Relax
Believe it or not, being stressed can actually make your pain worse. Research has shown that pain levels can be influenced by different social and emotional factors. When you get into a hurry, or find yourself worrying about something in your life, your muscles tighten, your blood pressure rises, and your heart beats faster. Being tense places undue stress on your body, which can exacerbate chronic pain symptoms.
Because of the problems that stress can cause, learning relaxation techniques might be able to help you to get a handle on your pain. In fact, one study conducted by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, researchers inflicted pain on 15 men and women on two separate days, and then interviewed them afterwards.
On the second day of the study, the participants were required to take a class on meditation before they experienced the pain. Data collected during interviews showed that the participants experienced 57% less discomfort from the same stimulus after they learned to relax.
If you suffer from chronic pain, set aside some time every day to relax. If you can, create relaxation areas in your home or office that give you a place to sit down and focus on your breathing. Think of the things that calm you and incorporate them into the space. For example, if you love the scent of lilacs and listening to jazz music, consider buying some aromatherapy oils and creating a special playlist on your phone. Tailoring the space to your needs will make the space more effective and help you to remember to take a much-needed time out.
2: Focus on Exercise
Have you ever noticed that you just feel better when you move around? Believe it or not, that pain relief wasn't a figment of your imagination. When you move around, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that alter your perception of pain, calm you down, and help you to sleep at night.
Scientific research on exercise has found it to be an effective method for pain treatment. In addition to treating your body with natural analgesics, exercise can also promote cell growth, build muscles, and improve your flexibility. One study that focused on neck pain found that patients who exercised were more than twice as likely to be pain free than people who relied solely on medications.
If you want to try incorporating exercise into your routine, talk with your doctor first to evaluate your health. Once he or she gives you the go-ahead, here are a few low-impact exercises that are great for beginners or people with injuries.
- Swimming: If you want an effective, low-impact workout, swimming is the way to go. The water will support some of your weight as you float, which will help to reduce stress on your muscles and joints.
- Dancing: Looking for a fun workout? Consider tagging along with your friends to that local line-dancing bar they are always raving about. Dancing can get your heart rate up, while you have fun with the girls.
- Simple Walking: If you want to incorporate more exercise into your routine but don't have time for scheduled trips to the gym, consider increasing the distances that you walk. Simple changes like parking farther away from store entrances can add up fast and make a big difference with your overall health.
One of the great things about natural pain relief methods like exercise is that they can be used as a complimentary therapy to other treatments. As you work with your physical therapist, doctor, or pain management centers like http://www.illinoispain.com, focus on relaxation and exercise to help you to cope with your condition.
By using natural pain relief techniques, you might be able to control your symptoms, without taking the risks that traditional medications can pose.