How to Deal with Pain

April 12, 2016

Whether it’s chronic pain or just pain after a surgery or an injury, you don’t always have to reach for pain medication. Even if pain medication is the first thing that comes to mind, there are more natural, less addictive routes to pain relief. Since there are options to replace traditional pain medication, it’s actually our recommended first line of defense, especially when you factor in the risks of dependence when it comes to pain medication.

Here are a few ways you can manage pain without medication:

  • Alter your diet to include pain reducing foods. There are several foods with natural painkillers that can reduce pain without traditional analgesics. Adding turmeric to your food, or ingesting red onions, red wine (in moderation), tea, grapefruit, broccoli, squash, red grapes, cranberries, citrus foods, salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are all good choices that contain things like curcumin, quercetin and omega-3 fats that all help to reduce pain.
  • Buy new shoes. Studies have shown that high heels and narrow shoes can cause foot and lower-back pain. While the most common cause of back pain is poor posture, carrying your weight too far forward causes the pelvis to tip forward, the knees to hyper-extend or rotate inwards and may even push the head forward. All which can cause pain in the back, hip and knee joints, neck and head. Wearing shoes that correct your posture can help alleviate pain.
  • Give a TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) unit a try. The microcurrent in a TENS unit sends a very low-level electrical current through the skin, which blocks pain messages from being sent through the nervous system and can release a significant amount of pain from the source.
  • Walk or at the very least fidget. The human body was designed to be in motion, no matter what state of health you’re in. If you become inactive, your body begins to degenerate. This can lead to other problems, such as diminishing bone density and depression. Regular exercise or movement can help keep joints and muscles strong and help us deal with pain better. And, endorphins from exercise do a great job cheering on the body from pain.
  • Visit an acupuncturist. The Eastern school of medicine says you can control pain by balancing the ying and yang through tiny needles that stimulate the central nervous system. The needle stimulates blood flow to the area where the needle is inserted and can help reduce inflammation, ease muscle spasms and increase the presence of endorphins, the body’s most natural painkiller.
  • Meditate. Sit quietly and breathe deeply, in and out with your eyes closed and your stomach ‘soft’. Let the softness spread from your belly into your legs and upper body, breathing deeply. Now visualize somewhere you feel totally comfortable. Once you reach the place you feel at ease, build up an image that is all about your pain diminishing and imagine it going away moment by moment. Self hypnosis works by focusing the mind away from the pain.
  • Listen to music. A recent study of 60 patients at the Cleveland Clinic found that listening to music (regardless of whether it was the patient’s own choice or someone else’s) had a statistically significant effect on reducing pain, depression and increasing feelings of power. Looks like music is good for more than just the soul.

These are only a few ways to work on pain management without prescription drugs. If you’d like more suggestions, please just ask us. And, if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to pain medication, please get help. For more information, send us a note or visit one of our clinics, we’re open seven days a week and we’re here for life’s little emergencies.

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