Home Health Natural & Alternative Pain Management Tips
Natural & Alternative Pain Management Tips
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Pain management is a tricky challenge, and while we’re lucky that our doctors can prescribe some powerful painkillers, prescription medication isn’t always the best route to take. Prescription medications can have unpleasant side effects , maybe highly addictive, and some are prohibitively expensive.
The good news is that prescription medications aren’t the only way to manage pain. There are a variety of natural and alternative pain management techniques that may help when used in conjunction with or in place of pain medication.
Why Alternative Pain Management Matters
Prescription medications are commonly used to treat pain, but in the case of some medications, like opioids, these medications can be highly addicting. This problem is widespread, and in many cases, it can begin when young athletes are prescribed pain medication. A survey of retired NFL players who had been exposed to prescribed pain medication while playing professionally revealed that 26.2% of the players had used prescription opioids within the past month, and 11.9% of players reported having misused opioids. Approximately 1.4 million athletics injuries occur each year in kids who play sports at the secondary school level alone. If the statistics regarding retired NFL player opioid use is even mildly applicable to student-athletes, it’s easy to see how widespread the opioid problem is.
This raises the issue of ethically prescribing opioids and pain medication . While opioids can be highly effective, prescribing them to treat chronic pain often isn’t ideal, and can increase the chance of opioid addiction.
Pain medication is needed and warranted by many injuries and ailments, but the more that you can explore natural and alternative pain management tips, the more you can avoid downfalls of pain medication, like its sometimes addictive nature, and its side effects like constipation, nausea, and drowsiness.
CBD oil is becoming an increasingly popular pain management option . While CBD’s pain-relieving effects have yet to be clinically proven, plenty of people are using CBD oil to manage pain, including pain that’s caused by inflammation. It’s ideal for people dealing with chronic pain, but may not be the right choice if you’re experiencing acute pain.
CBD oil is available in multiple strengths, and everyone responds to it differently, so finding the right strength and dosage may take some time. Your doctor may be able to advise you about an appropriate dosage to start with.
Warm baths can help to relieve pain and stiffness, loosening up tight muscles and leaving you more comfortable. Thanks to the availability of walk-in tubs, you can participate in hydrotherapy right in the comfort of your own home even if you have difficulty stepping into a traditional tub. A tub equipped with jets can even offer massage benefits.
To get even better results from hydrotherapy, consider putting Epsom salts into the bath . Epsom salts are believed to help relieve swelling which, in turn, relieves pain. Add just two cups of salt to a full bathtub; the salt will dissolve and make for a soothing and relaxing soak.
Some pain can be managed by simple changes in your lifestyle and habits. For instance, it can be easier to sleep with lower back pain if you invest in a quality mattress and alter your body position. The right options will depend on the type and location of the pain that you’re experiencing, but some people find that putting a pillow between their knees or sleeping on their side can relieve back pain.
If you spend a lot of time sitting behind a desk for work, you may need to make some changes to your equipment and posture to relieve pain. Ergonomic office equipment can help with ailments like lower back pain, stiff necks, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Your doctor or a physical therapist may be able to recommend specific types of equipment that will help you, based on your particular ailments.
Cross-training, or participating in an exercise that’s different from your main form of exercise, offers many benefits. One of the most important benefits is that cross-training may help to prevent future injuries. Because you’ll work some different muscles when training in a different activity, you can reduce some of the strain on your body and reduce the risk of injuries that can occur with overuse. If you’re experiencing sore muscles and joints because of overuse, cross-training can help you to stay active while giving those areas of your body some time to recover.
For instance, if you’re a runner and are dealing with shin splints, cross-training by swimming three days a week can help to minimize that pain. You’ll still get a good workout in, but you’ll spare your legs the concussive forces that come with running, giving your shin splints some time to recover.
As an added bonus, many sports can help to improve your mental well-being. Consider cross-training in sports like jogging, cycling, or even mountain climbing for a workout that offers both mental and physical benefits. If you need even more incentive than that, there are apps that monetize your fitness efforts by rewarding you when you achieve personal health goals.
If the above strategies don’t effectively manage your pain, be sure to see your doctor to ensure that the cause of your pain has been accurately diagnosed and that you’re treating it appropriately.