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The lives of those who suffer from chronic pain often revolve around pre-empting and trying to mitigate debilitating flare-ups. Even day-to-day activities such as cooking dinner or doing laundry can be difficult when it feels like your body is betraying you. You can do all the right things, take all the right pain medications, and still not find the relief you so desire.
According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, approximately 1.5 billion people across the globe suffer from some level of chronic pain. This staggering number of people can be affected by chronic pain in many different ways. Migraines, arthritis and joint pain, nerve pain, and tissue pain are all different types of afflictions that can occur. The CP (chronic pain) doesn’t just cause them to be hurt and uncomfortable, either. Sufferers of CP tend to have less and lower quality sleep, are more susceptible to depression and anxiety, and often go through generalised fatigue.
Many people turn to over-the-counter or prescribed medications to find relief from these symptoms, but they all tend to do the same thing: touch on the symptom without fully addressing the problem. Medications can also lose their stamina inside the body, meaning that when you are using them continuously, their potency may dip and cause the need for more of the medication to do the same job. So how do you deal with chronic pain without medication? What is the natural remedy for body pain, if any? Well, to avoid the need for a drug dependency to beat daily CP symptoms, the following natural remedies that relieve chronic pain may just be your best bet.
1. Essential Oils
Small studies on the different effects of essential oils have been circulating in many medical journals of late. One such study has given essential oils a new purpose, and that’s helping to manage the symptoms of CP. Lavender oil was said to have a great impact on those who suffer migraines. The study in European Neurology said that participants who inhaled lavender oil for a minimum of 15 minutes got either full or partial relief from their migraines. Due to its mood stabilisation, anxiolytic, sedative and antihypertensive properties, lavender also helps to reduce stress and insomnia, which could exasperate CP symptoms.
Eucalyptus oil has been known to help reduce inflammation, swelling and pain because of the chemicals a-terpineol, 1,8-cineole, pinene, sabinene, camphene, citronellol and limonene. The combination of these chemicals is said to have great anti-inflammatory properties when inhaled daily. Peppermint oil also has limonene, and the addition of carvacrol helps fight inflammation throughout the body. Last but certainly not least is rosemary oil – the holy grail of essential oils. Rosemary is said to help alleviate headaches/migraines, muscle pain and soreness, and help boost the immune system.
Ginger has long been used to help the body fight off nausea and other gastrointestinal problems, but it’s good for CP sufferers as well because of the naturally occurring anti-inflammatories it contains. These act in the same way as COX-2 inhibitors, which are generally used in a lot of painkillers today.
3. Dietary Changes
Changing your diet to include certain foods or eliminate others can be an effective way to help treat CP. Aside from helping with obesity, which can worsen CP symptoms, a healthy diet full of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables has been shown to help reduce inflammation through the body. Foods such as blueberries, pineapple, spinach, almonds, cherries, tomatoes and olive oil have all been attributed to lowering inflammation throughout the body, thus helping in the fight against CP.
Dietary changes have also been especially effective in treating CP in Lyme disease sufferers. By cutting out foods that cause inflammation (such as processed food, refined carbs and sugars, sometimes dairy and gluten containing products), Lyme disease patients could see a reduction in their CP symptoms, along with better immune and cognitive function.
Certain spices have been known to help ward off CP symptoms when used in cooking or teas. Turmeric, for example, is full of curcuma, an ingredient that helps lessen pain because of its ability to promote healing from the inside out. Cayenne pepper can also help reduce CP because it is loaded with capsaicin, a compound that is used in topical creams to help muscle and joint pain.
Those who suffer from arthritis pain can also find relief in adding certain spices to their diet. One example is cinnamon, which is high in cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, both of which are said to help eliminate free radicals from the body – thus reducing inflammation and pain.
Exercise is a great way to help build strong muscles and reduce pain caused by inflammation. It has also been proven to help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety and help insomnia sufferers get a better, more well rested sleep at night. Doing strenuous exercise, however, may not be an option for those suffering from severe CP.
Yoga is a perfect exercise because it’s low impact and strengthens your body, which will help in certain CP areas. It also increases oxygen flow throughout the body, stimulating muscle tissues. That, along with the deep breathing that goes along with a yoga workout, releases tension from the muscles to alleviate CP throughout the body. It also aids in the mind-body connection, thus helping the level of pain subside because of a changed awareness and perception of one’s CP.