Pain can leave you curled up in bed for days. Whether you suffer from chronic pain or are recovering from an injury or illness, you know how debilitating pain can be.
Sure, you can take pain medication, but if you’re looking for a more natural way to find relief, these five methods may help.
1. Massage Therapy
We all know that massages melt away stress and tension, but they can also help ease pain. Massage has been shown to increase levels of serotonin and endorphins in the body, which are the body’s natural painkillers and mood boosters.
Sometimes, pain can also be accompanied by other symptoms, like anxiety and depression. In this case, massage can also help you relax and get rid of your pain.
One study published in Science Translational Medicine found that massage therapy can also work on a molecular level by switching off the genes that are associated with inflammation.
Massage therapy has been shown to be so effective at easing pain that it’s now available to all surgery patients at the Mayo Clinic.
2. Willow Bark
Willow bark is a centuries-old remedy for inflammation, the root cause of most pains. The bark of the white willow tree contains salicin, which is the main ingredient in aspirin.
Before modern medicine, people just chewed on the bark to alleviate pain and get rid of fevers. Now, you can buy willow bark in capsule or supplement form. It can be used to treat pain in the lower back and headaches.
But be warned: willow bark can cause an upset stomach, prolong bleeding time and even slow your kidneys. These are the same risks and side effects associated with aspirin. Willow bark can also be poisonous in children, so this is a remedy that only adults should use.
3. Hot and Cold Therapy
Doctors often recommend alternating between hot and cold packs to help alleviate pain and inflammation.
Taking a hot bath relaxes the mind and alters the nerve input to the brain. Try adding Epsom salt for an even more relaxing effect.
Cold packs are a well-known and supported method to decrease inflammation in the body.
If your injury is fresh, place an ice pack on it right away. Using heat on a fresh injury would only increase blood flow to the area and actually increase swelling.
For lingering injuries, alternating between hot and cold packs can help provide you comfort and relief.
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is an excellent natural pain reliever. A staple in the Indian diet, turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage.
Curcumin helps reduce inflammation in the body by lowering histamine levels and also triggering the body’s adrenal glands to make more cortisol.
People often use this spice to alleviate pain caused by fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, gallstones, kidney stones, diverticulitis, ulcers, gout, backaches, headaches and more.
You can find turmeric in most grocery stores either in powdered or fresh forms.
Acupuncture has long been touted as a potent pain reliever. While it may still be a relatively new concept to those of us in the West, it has been a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries.
This natural and painless therapy is great for tension headaches, back pain, migraines, sciatica, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.
With acupuncture, tiny needles are placed at specific parts of the body to help correct qi (energy) imbalances.
If you’re suffering with pain, talk to your doctor about your options and consider these five natural pain relievers. Sometimes, a hot bath and some relaxation is all you need to get rid of the pain.