For some people pain is everything. It rules the way the day moves forward, it prohibits daily activities, it immobilises some and it sometimes has no end in sight. Pain can be there and you can sometimes not even know where it came from, what caused it, know where it is in the body or even describe it. Although this is true, we do need to have pain receptors to warn us of danger to the body and when to stop something which could potentially cause damage or more damage. Pain is annoying, we both need it and hate it!
A study which is mentioned in the book by Bill Bryson, The body, talks about how 75% to 85% of people did not benefit from pain killers and those that do get benefit, don't get much. That is shocking considering how many people that I know, who will go to tablets for their first thing to get out of pain. It got me thinking, what else is their for pain relief that we can try and manage ourselves and is their anything that can be used for those that suffer with chronic pain and taking a life long prescription of pain killers?
1. TENS Machine
Electrotherapy has been around for so so long and many people use handy TENS machines to deal with pain through diverting the pain signals away from a pain point. I have used these briefly with clients and also on myself for lower back pain (seems to be a golden place for the patches). The good thing about using a TENS Machine is that it has no side effects.
2. Hot and Cold Therapy
Using temperature changes to help deal with pain can be really powerful and useful for various different pain types. That could be period pains, neck tension, new injury pain and much more. If you have a new injury, try putting something cold like ice, ice spray, cold showers, ice packs and this can help keep the inflammation to a minimum and reduce pain. Hot and warm treatments are great for older injuries or chronic pains.
Sports massage has been known to help deal with the aches and pains we put on ourselves not just through sport but also through work and home related issues. It can be a little too much for those who are sensitive to pressure points on the body but their are other forms of massage. Massage in general, whether this is a relaxing type, deep tissue, head massage or sports, are all great for helping deal with various types of pain. Not only does it deal with pain but also helps reduce stress levels which can play a role in why you may be in pain.
Evolution has not been kind to us in many ways, one being that most people suffer at some point in their life with lower back pain. This is likely due to posture issues and the way we have gone from an upright living creature, to us slowly turning into hunch backs all over the world due to work. Modern lifestyles require a lot of crouching forward, sitting at desks for long periods of time and this is a major cause for back pain across the world. Ultimately, we are designed to move, specifically run. With frequent exercise added into your weekly habits, you can reduce back pain by working the muscles designed to run, loosening up tension and stretching out what was once tight. This is not to say other exercises help, because they do. Any exercise you can do to get your body moving and blood flowing in and around your muscles is going to help you. Whether you choose yoga, high intensity training, swimming, cycling, weight training, it doesn't matter as long as you are making it regular and sticking to it. Muscle soreness is another thing but most people kind of like that feeling secretly.
5. Food and Drink
Not really something I know a lot about or have done major research into but I can talk from my own experience and those that have told me about theirs.
Starting with drink, staying hydrated plays a major factor in how I perform through the day and when I am dehydrated everything is so much effort and it feels like pains just appear from nowhere. Hydration is so important to the body and keeping the muscles pumped and aiding circulation around the body. If your muscles are dehydrated, they tighten up causing tension and this can then cause pain.
Nutrition is big at the minute and so many people are using meal plans or nutrition coaches to try and get the right ingredients to keep the body at its optimal level. If you are eating fast food all day, do you notice you feel fatigued both physically and mentally? If you eat the right stuff, this does not tend to happen.
Have a good balanced diet and stay hydrated and it can help the body stay on form and in turn, reducing the likelihood of aches and pain.
7. Sensory Deprivation
You might be thinking, WTF is this haha! You will likely have heard of the salt baths or float tanks. This type of therapy forces the body into the parasympathetic state, causing all stress, anxiety, tension and pains caused by these to melt away. You usually lay in the tank for an hour, floating on a high concentration of salt water, in the dark, alone and no distractions. This type of therapy is just as old as is massage and is used around the world to help deal with different types of pains from headaches, stress pains and muscle soreness.
Their are other none drug alternatives to dealing with pain but these are some of the popular ones I know of, have used and work. Having a partner who deals with chronic pain on a daily basis, we try whatever their is out their to try and help her deal with the pain. All of the above help and not only that but they are great for her mental wellbeing. If you suffer with chronic pain, it can really take the life and soul out of a person so doing what you can to help yourself feel better is part of the battle.
Hope you have found this useful and if you have any questions or ideas I have not covered which you think I should of then drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org