According to the CDC, over 50 million Americans are currently living with chronic pain. And with more people becoming addicted to pain medications than any other illegal substance, pain sufferers are constantly seeking alternative ways to treat their chronic pain. Keep reading for some natural, unconventional, and innovative ways of living with your chronic pain and discomfort.
1. CBD Oil
CBD is all the rage as of late. The days of marijuana being coined a “gateway drug” are long gone. While THC will still get you high, CBD (which is one of 100 cannabinoids found in marijuana) offers users all the benefits without any of the psychoactive side effects. But what exactly does it mean for chronic pain sufferers? The main cause of pain for most people is inflammation. Research shows that CBD can actually stop your body from releasing glutamate and other inflammatory properties. In turn, it helps dull the common feelings associated with chronic pain, including tingling, burning, and prickling that most patients describe. What’s even better is that CBD is now available in countless forms from oils and ointments to gummies and other delicious treats!
2. Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture
When it comes to alternative medicine, these are two of the most popular forms. And both are said to offer chronic pain relief. Chiropractors believe that the proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure helps the body naturally heal itself, without the need for surgery or medication. Their practice is primarily focused on the spine, but their techniques benefit all areas of the body — including those that cause pain. If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain, headaches, or even shoulder or hip discomfort, a chiropractic adjustment might help. Acupuncture, similar to chiropractic care, isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly a viable option if you suffer from chronic, debilitating pain. During acupuncture, tiny needles are used to improve body function. Based on ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture is relatively popular among athletes and those suffering from a multitude of conditions including pain, infertility, and migraines. The practice is based on the premise that when the body’s life energy is blocked, it can’t function properly. These needles help return energy flow and balance to the body.
3. Increase Flexibility
If you suffer from chronic pain, flexibility may be something you’re lacking. Which is even more reason to adopt activities and practices that increase flexibility. How many times have you tried to stand up, get out of bed, or move in a certain way only to be met with resistance from your body? Often in the form of sharp, stabbing pain or a constant, dull ache? Increased flexibility helps relieve pressure and reduce inflammation — two leading causes of pain. Physiotherapy is known to improve both flexibility and balance, which means a reduced risk of injury. You can also incorporate a stretching routine into your daily activities. Many people believe stretching is only required before and after intense activity, but this isn’t true. If you suffer from chronic pain, you can benefit from stretching every morning. Stretching helps lengthen your muscles, increase your range of motion, and ease pain and stiffness. As you age, your muscles get tighter, restricting your joints and triggering unwanted pain cycles. Prevent this by performing basic stretches at least twice a day.
4. Breathing Exercises
Sometimes, dealing with chronic pain is a thing of mind over matter. Breathing exercises work wonders for people dealing with stress and anxiety. And the same methods can be applied to chronic pain sufferers. How is breathing beneficial? It helps your body and mind to relax. When you’re focused on your breathing, it helps distract you from other things — like your pain. When you are tense, your muscles tighten up, causing your pain to worsen. Meditation is one of the most popular and effective forms of deep breathing and internal focus. Try to always practice your meditation or breathing exercises in a quiet place, free from distractions. These breathing exercises are sometimes similar to those pregnant women practice during lamaze class!
5. Kick Bad Habits
You already know that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption aren’t good for you, but did you know they could actually be making your chronic pain worse? Some people turn to alcohol thinking it will numb the pain. Sadly, all alcohol will do is make it harder for you to sleep at night. And those suffering from chronic pain know that achieving quality sleep is already difficult enough. Alcohol will only make matters worse. Smoking cigarettes is another unhealthy habit that does more than just compromise your breathing. If your pain is related to poor circulation, smoking will exacerbate symptoms. Not only can smoking make your current pain worse, but it might actually cause chronic pain, especially in those with back injuries or preexisting conditions. Nicotine slows the healing process and compromises your body’s ability to deliver blood and oxygen throughout the body. If you’re looking for simply chronic pain relief, ditch the bottle and the cigarette.
6. Find Support
There are support groups for all types of conditions – from alcoholics and drug addicts to widows and parents struggling to raise difficult children — so why not a support group for chronic pain sufferers? Such groups do exist and if you’re at your wit’s end dealing with chronic pain, a support group might help. Members can share their own tips and tricks for dealing with chronic pain. It also helps remind you that you’re not alone in your struggle. Some of the best support groups work to find events, projects, and activities to do together. This helps take your mind off of the pain and focus on living your best life! Chances are, you’ll make a few friends along the way that last longer than your chronic pain.
Living with chronic pain sometimes feel like no life at all. If your pain has you down or is interfering with everyday life, why not give one of these tips a try? Sometimes all it takes is an open mind and some unconventional methods to find the relief you’re after.
Article Submitted By Community Writer