Suffering from chronic pain is overwhelming and can interfere with performing everyday tasks. Pain relievers might help lower or alleviate pain, but they all come with lots of side effects and may lead to a host of health issues.
Prescription pain relievers, like opioids, are extremely effective for most cases, but they increase the risk of addiction and overdose. Fortunately, you have many natural non-pharmacological options that can help manage chronic pain and improve your well-being. Here is a list of alternatives you can try to relieve your pain naturally:
1. Get more vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays a big role in your overall health. Scientists have found that it can help manage chronic pain and improve sleep. Taking supplements containing vitamin D is linked to a good sleep regimen which can help not only treat sleep conditions, but also prevent and treat chronic pain issues.
It’s important to note that lack of sleep may contribute to overall inflammation making you extra sensitive to pain. Low levels of vitamin D are also connected with both pain conditions (such as fibromyalgia) and poor sleep. How to know how much vitamin D you need? Talk to your healthcare provider before buying a supplement.
2. Add turmeric to your diet
There are so many health benefits turmeric can provide. The good news is that it can also help you manage chronic pain. Turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory compound, known as curcumin (which gives it its yellow color). Curcumin has historical and now solid clinical evidence for lowering inflammation and chronic pain.
Turmeric extract has been shown to be effective in treating arthritis, but more research is needed. But it’s worth it to add the spice to your diet. You can add turmeric to your morning smoothie or sprinkle it into the water while rice cooks. Ask your doctor if turmeric supplements are an option for you.
3. Consider trying acupuncture
Acupuncture is a natural treatment option for chronic pain that’s effective for many people.
Acupuncture can be helpful in reducing lower back pain, headaches, and arthritis pain. The benefits of acupuncture accumulate with ongoing treatment.
This type of chronic pain treatment rewires the brain by tapping into cognitive areas that are responsible for memory and pain signals.
4. Try following a Mediterranean diet
There’s some evidence that blood glucose management can lower the progression of pain in knee arthritis and that following the Mediterranean diet can decrease pain sensitivity.
Consuming foods that possess anti-inflammatory properties can reduce long-term discomfort, particularly in people with obesity. Therefore many doctors recommend their patients try to follow a diet that’s low in sugar and high in omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory foods, like the Mediterranean diet.
5. Engage in cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people recognize and change self-defeating thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that provoke pain. It will teach you to relax, identify, and change destructive thought patterns, as well as identify behaviors that enhance and decrease pain.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy along with other psychotherapeutic techniques, such as biofeedback and mindfulness can help lower your pain levels as well as modulate brain activity similar to acupuncture.
6. Get regular exercise
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to lower chronic pain. Being physically active allows you to boost your levels of endorphins, dopamine, and tissue oxygen, all of which can help lower pain and improve mood and sleep.
Aerobic exercise can improve your quality of life and might lower pain intensity in people with fibromyalgia. But some people report that exercise increases discomfort, so it’s essential to visit a doctor or physical therapist who can work to start a program that works best for you.