There may be as many reasons you experience pain as there are places where it may happen.
Pain can affect every part of your life, stopping you from participating in favorite activities or even enjoying time with your loved ones. As scrutiny of over the counter pain medications increases, having natural alternatives to pain management is a welcome relief. So, the next time you think about reaching for a pill, consider trying one of these alternatives instead.
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1) Spice things up
People are turning to spices more and more to help relieve pain and inflammation. Some of the more popular -and studied- ones include turmeric, ginger, and chili peppers. Turmeric’s qualities come from the high levels of curcumin in it, which was shown in one 2014 study to be as effective as ibuprofen in reducing arthritis pain. Chili peppers, on the other hand, are loaded with capsaicin, a common ingredient in many pain creams and patches. Try to use whole food sources of these spices when cooking, or add a pinch to a breakfast smoothie to get your dose.
2) Add a supplement
Supplements can offer a great way to fulfill nutrient needs that your diet isn’t meeting. Whenever possible, boost your levels of antioxidants, probiotics, and vitamins with a supplement like heal-n-sooth that is designed specifically to address pain and inflammation. You should try to find supplements that supply ingredients that have been shown to work through studies and think twice about those that seem to make miracle claims.
3) Walk it out
This may seem counterintuitive, but moving more can be one of the best things you can do for sore muscles and achy joints. Light exercise like walking helps boost circulation so your body can better get rid of waste after exercise, which may help relieve exercise-related soreness.
If you have chronic pain from a condition like arthritis, try joining a walking program designed specifically for your condition. There are just so many ways that walking and other gentle exercises can help improve your quality of life when you have chronic pain that it makes sense to give it a try. It helps strengthen muscles, which can increase stability in your joints. You should also look for improved balance and coordination as a result of that newfound strength.
4) Stimulate your meridians
Acupuncture is widely accepted as an effective treatment option for many types of pain. In traditional Chinese medicine, it works by stimulating along the 14 energy meridians in your body. Modern science has revealed that these are closely related to the nervous system, which may explain why they stimulate the brain to release endorphins which can help block the body from perceiving pain. If needles aren’t your thing, consider opting for the less invasive acupressure, which is a massage-like experience focusing on your energy meridians and acupoints.
5) Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is more than a buzzword. It is a form of meditation where you focus on yourself in the present moment without judgment. It helps create awareness of feelings and sensations as they happen which can help promote relaxation and lower stress levels. Mindfulness practices have been shown to help with a host of health conditions including pain. Try a mindfulness technique like breath meditation or a scripted guided imagery program to start and then build up to more in-depth practices.
6) Diffuse an essential oil
This requires very little effort on your part and is largely a passive effort. Make sure you find high-quality essential oils and not fragrance oils. Effects aren’t from the smell of the oil, but rather from the plant-derived chemicals concentrated in essential oils. So, the next time you think about popping an aspirin, place a few drops of a soothing essential oil into a diffuser and take a few deep breaths. Try lavender, lemongrass, and bergamot to relieve pain and help ease tension. Cinnamon and ginger are other good choices.