Infection, surgical incision, and nerve injury are some of the major causes of pain. Pain can be either short-lived (acute pain) or last much longer in the case of chronic pain. Pain can make a person lose concentration on the work at hand, leading to poor performance. Pain is mainly related to conditions such as headache, shingles, low back pain, osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, and nerve damage. Every day professionals come up with different methods and drugs that promise incredible pain relief. However, not all these techniques can be used by all since different people have different genetic make-ups. The use of natural and drug-free methods of pain management is the best alternative since it is safe to all.
Ways of Managing Pain without the Use of Drugs
Doing some healthy exercise is the easiest and least expensive way to alleviate pain. It works by releasing endorphins, a naturally occurring neurochemical in the brain that has analgesic properties. In addition, exercise improves bone health and sleep, increases body flexibility, controls weight, strengthens the body, and boosts energy. It is advisable for patients with rheumatoid arthritis to do aerobic exercise regularly such as jogging, bicycling, swimming, and walking instead of driving. Other important exercise includes strength training such as gardening and lifting weights. All these activities strengthen the abdomen and back muscles, keep the circulatory system healthy, and improve endurance.
· Dieting Healthily
Eating healthy food prevents body tissues from responding to injury or infection characterized by swelling, redness, and pain in joints and muscles. The best food to eat includes soybeans, whole foods, lean meat, and fish. Other examples are vegetables and fruits such as, broccoli, lettuce, sweet potatoes, summer squash and carrots. It is best to refrain from foods with added sugars; canned food packed in syrup, and processed foods such as soft sodas, French fries, pastries, refined white flour, and candy.
It is a traditional Chinese medicine involving the insertion of thin needles at strategic points through the skin. This action balances the flow of energy (qi or chi) that flow through pathways (meridians) in the body. These needles do not hurt at all. This technique has become very popular in pain management such as fibromyalgia, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and chronic breakdown of cartilage in the joints.
· Hot and Cold Therapy
Heat therapy dilates the blood vessels, which facilitates the flow of blood and supplies nutrients and oxygen to various parts of the body. This action relaxes sore muscles, tendons and ligaments, and reduces muscle spasms and pain in joints. The best way to apply this pain management method is by relaxing in a hot bath or by using heat wrap.
Cold therapy works by contracting blood vessels and slowing down blood flow to an injury thus reducing inflammation, swelling, and numbing deep pain. One should apply a cold wrap, ice, or gel pack for about a day or two after an injury.
· Massage Therapy
It is a pain management method that involves techniques such as deep circular movement, kneading, pressure, and tapping. Research shows that massage increase endorphins levels in the brain, thus making the person manage chronic pain effectively. In addition, massage relaxes muscles, improves blood circulation and facilitating muscle soreness recovery from physical activity. This practice is crucial in cancer patients and those who have had heart bypass surgery.
Hypnosis is a technique designed to minimize one’s usual distractions, increase concentration, and heighten responsiveness to suggestions to alter a person’s feelings, physiological state, thoughts, and behavior. It is very effective in treating various psychological and medical conditions including pain management. In a research done of 18 published studies, three-quarter of the participants experienced both acute and chronic pain relief from this technique. Hypnosis alleviates pain ranging from backache, fibromyalgia, headache to cancer pain.
· Meditation (Mindfulness)
Meditation uses relaxation techniques to keep mind focused on the present, aiming at easing stress, anxiety, insomnia, and pain. Scientists argue that the degree at which one can perceive pain is what matters in pain management. Researches show that individuals who do not regularly meditate find pain to be more pleasant since they spend more time anticipating pain and its effects. Meditation involves practices such as deep breathing to boost relaxation, cognitive-behavioral therapy that aims at focusing on positive thoughts, concentration on positive visual images, and contemplative walking.
· Laughter Therapy
Laughing is another common technique used to raise endorphins levels in the body to relieve stress and pain. It also facilitates steady movement of blood to various parts of the body, improves the digestive system, relaxes the body muscles, and boosts the immune system.
The best way for pain management is by choosing some of the above methods that one feels comfortable doing.