While pain is a very normal human condition, chronic pain is something different. Although it affects approximately a tenth of the population, there are a variety of different causes, from arthritis to fibromyalgia. It can be frustrating to spend years taking prescription medications that make you feel fuzzy and don’t quite end the suffering. Here are a few natural remedies that may help with your chronic pain.
Having too much weight on your body can put added pressure and strain on bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and just about every other tissue on your body. If your extra pounds are the result of a sedentary lifestyle, you probably aren’t doing yourself much good -- not moving your body at all can be almost as damaging as moving it too much.
It can be hard to get active when you’re in constant pain, but you may be surprised at how much it helps. Just taking a walk for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week can make a huge difference -- in your weight and in the way your body feels. Additionally, getting exercise is a good way to strengthen parts of the body that aren’t painful, which allows them to make up for the parts that are. For example, strengthening the muscles around an arthritic joint allows those muscles to take some of the pressure off the joint. Exercise can also help with chronic pain by releasing endorphins, which makes you happier and your body feel better.
While making healthy changes to the way you eat can help by trimming those extra pounds off too, certain foods can have surprising effects on your body in other ways as well. There are the obvious benefits, like getting plenty of protein so your body has more energy to fight the pain, and eating good sources of Vitamin C to help keep your immune system healthy.
Additionally, there are less obvious benefits as well. Ginger is a great natural inflammatory that can help muscle pain, headaches, and arthritis. Calcium not only keeps your bones strong, it provides a host of other benefits. One study found that women who drank at least one glass of milk a day suffered less arthritis-related knee pain, and the Vitamin D in it is good for back pain and depression, which can be an instigator of chronic pain.
Relaxing appears to have an incredible effect on chronic pain. This can take several different forms.
Yoga is a great option for relaxation and meditation. It doubles as a totally customizable form of exercise, as it can be less harsh on the joints. Meditation is another form of relaxation recommended as a natural remedy for chronic pain.
Taking warm baths can help relax sore or spasming muscles and is also great for arthritis. Adding essential oils (1 or 2 drops per tub of water) or evaporating them into the air with an aromatherapy kit is a great bonus. Lavender is a great option for relaxing. Peppermint and vanilla oils can be mixed with natural oils (like olive or coconut). Peppermint oil will act much like a mentholated vapor rub, while vanilla is a vasodilator, which can open up the blood vessels, allowing blood and oxygen into the muscles to promote healing. Rosemary is also considered a sort of analgesic. Talk to someone trained in the use of essential oils before you use them in combination with other medicines, and make sure you understand any negative effects they may have.