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October 21, 2009 at 8:38 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

6 Natural Ways to Manage Pain

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Pain is your body's way of saying that something desperately needs your attention. The best attention you can give is natural methods that care for the whole body, rather than toxic and harsh chemicals that mask pain. You need to help treat the underlying cause of pain if you don't want it to continue or get worse. Taking over the counter pain relievers is like putting a band aid on a bleeding ulcer. It might mask the problem, but it won't heal it.

There are four basic types of pain:

  • Nerve pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Inflammatory pain

You should try to identify where your pain is stemming from so you can find a natural treatment that is most effective for you.

6 Natural Ways to Manage Pain

#1. SLEEP

Sleep is important in pain relief, specifically deep REM sleep. In the United States, the average night's sleep a hundred years ago was over nine hours, and today is less than seven. Every adult should get eight to nine hours of quality sleep per night because that is when the body can devote full attention to healing, producing growth hormones that heal tissues and rid the body of pain.

Quality of sleep can be just as important as quantity. Make sure your mattress is comfortable to sleep on, and practice sleeping on your back to promote good posture and reduce back pain. Buying an orthopedic pillow can also help people who suffer from back and neck pain to regain their correct posture while sleeping, and start down the path of a pain free life.

#2. DIET

Nutritional support is also important to healing. Make sure to get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet or through supplements. Inflammatory pain can be caused by deficiencies and reactions to environmental stressors, both of which can be treated through proper vitamin and mineral supplementation. Your doctor can test your blood to see if you have any deficiencies, such as a vitamin D deficiency which is common in the United States and can have serious health consequences such as chronic back pain, nerve pain or neuropathy, bone pain, musculoskeletal pain, and inflammatory pain such as IBS and Crohn's Disease.

#3. HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS

Many herbal remedies and plant based foods have anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as beta-carotene, found in parsley, broccoli, and spinach and copper which is found in carrots, apples and ginger. Basil is another plant with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Celery is a versatile plant that is rich in minerals and contains anti-inflammatory as well as antispasmodic properties.

Red pepper and cayenne pepper have a chemical compound called capsaicin that interferes with pain perception and triggers the body to release endorphins. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may also hold promise to decrease chronic pain while promoting the body's natural healing powers.

#4. GLUCOSAMINE

Joint pain is usually caused by inflammatory pain and can be aided by taking the nutritional supplement glucosamine. Glucosamine is naturally synthesized in the human body and is a basic building block of connective tissue. Though you have an ample amount of glucosamine when you are young, you lose it with age, which leads to the thinning of cartilage and progresses to conditions such as osteoarthritis.

Taking supplemental glucosamine can't rebuild lost cartilage, but it can reduce symptoms of pain, swelling, and stiffness or noise in joints. Glucosamine supplements are often paired with chondroitin sulfate, another building block of connective tissue that stimulates the cartilage cells. Chondroitin can decrease pain and slow the rate of cartilage loss in people with osteoarthritis. If you suffer from joint pain, these supplements may help to naturally ease your life from pain.

#5. THERAPY

Alternative methods such as acupuncture and Reiki light touch have been used to alleviate pain for thousands of years. Other methods like reflexology and chiropractic treatment also hold promise in relieving pain naturally and effectively. These methods can help to ease pain, but exercise should accompany natural healing treatments to fully utilize the benefits.

#6 EXERCISE

Exercise strengthens your body and can reduce neuropathic pain and help regenerate nerve fibers in patients with impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetics). Exercise creates muscles and soft tissues that are stronger and better conditioned, and can help stabilize knees, protect joints and allow people with pain to move with less discomfort. Regular exercise also reduces anxiety and depression, which can worsen perceived pain and grow worse when experiencing pain.

The idea behind natural pain management is to build health, not hide the symptoms or poor health like some traditional medications do. There are many avenues to explore in the arena of natural pain management, so try some out and start down the path to a naturally pain free life!

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