7 Natural Pain Relievers for Injuries
Millions of people suffer from chronic pain caused by injuries or arthritis. In 2011, almost 250 million prescriptions were written for narcotic pain medications. Most people are aware of the dangers associated with using opiate painkillers, but doctors often don’t offer any alternatives. The good news is there are many natural alternatives that might help alleviate your pain, including the list below. Some of these natural pain relievers, especially the herbs, may not be suitable for everyone. Trying them one at a time may make it easier to determine if they cause you side effects.
Release your endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain relievers that block pain signals from reaching the brain. Endorphins also cause the brain to feel pleasure and help alleviate anxiety and depression. They can also be more effective at alleviating pain than the strongest pain medications.
So how do we release our endorphins? Exercise is one of the easiest ways to stimulate endorphins, and the “runners high” is not limited to runners. Any type of sustained physical activity, including walking, releases endorphins and lessens pain. Conversely, remaining sedentary often has the opposite effect of increasing pain. This creates a challenge for people with injuries that limit mobility. One strategy is to start with a small exercise goal such as a fifty yard walk. Even this seemingly small activity will release pain relieving endorphins. Getting fresh air and sunlight also stimulates endorphins, and walking outside increases their positive effects.
Turmeric. This spice has been used for over 2,500 years in India to relieve pain caused by arthritis or injury. Turmeric’s pain relieving effects may be due to a chemical called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is generally considered safe, but high doses may cause indigestion. People with gallbladder disease should avoid using turmeric. One of the most popular natural pain relievers is Zyflamend. Click here for Amazon reviews and a product description. Zyflamend has several other herbal ingredients, however, so if it causes you side effects, consider trying turmeric by itself.
Don’t just do something, sleep. Getting enough sleep is critical to managing pain and healing injuries. In fact, lack of sleep causes depression, weight gain and can contribute to heart disease. However, those with chronic pain often have trouble sleeping, which creates a vicious cycle. That’s why it’s important to employ as many sleep aids as necessary to help you get a healthy amount of sleep. Exercise is one of the best ways to insure a good night’s sleep. Avoiding bright lights and television before bed also helps. There are also a number of audio recordings available to assist with falling asleep including IPhone sleep apps. Caffeine stays in the body for up to twelve hours after consumption, so avoiding caffeine after noon may help, too.
Vitamin D – the Sunshine Vitamin. Studies show that people who get the recommended daily 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D have more energy and experience less pain than those who didn’t. There also appears to be a link between unexplained sources of pain and Vitamin D deficiency. Sunshine exposure without sunscreen is the natural way to get Vitamin D. However, too much exposure to sunlight can cause skin cancer, so it’s important to avoid excessive exposure without sunscreen. There are also many Vitamin D supplements on the market that are especially useful during the winter months. Additionally, if you experience unexplained pains or a lack of energy, you may want to have your Vitamin D levels checked.
Enjoy a massage. A good massage gets the blood flowing and helps the body heal itself. Massages also release endorphins, which as discussed above are powerful pain relievers. If a doctor prescribes you a massage for pain or injury, many health insurance policies will pay for it.
Melt the pain. Applying heat to an injury can both relieve pain and heal injuries. Heat helps the body heal by increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the injured area. Heat also reduces the body’s pain signals, so you feel less pain. There are a variety of ways to apply heat such as hot water bottles, electric heating pads, and hot baths. Some prefer low level heat wraps because they can be used for hours and worn under clothes. Others prefer more intense forms of heat such as gel-filled pads that can be heated in the microwave.
Freeze the pain. Injuries involving back or neck pain almost always involve inflammation, and ice is the best natural way to reduce it. Ice also helps reduce pain by disrupting pain-spasms in the affected area. Ice is also a great way to temporarily numb some types of pain.
If your pain is related to an injury you sustained in an accident or at work, consider contacting a West Virginia personal injury lawyer at West Law Offices for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 1-877-943-9378, and we are located in Charleston, West Virginia.
Brooks West is a West Virginia personal injury lawyer who helps people who have been injured by negligence or wrongful conduct. He is the President and founder of West Law Firm and has been an attorney since 2005. Brooks is a Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum member and has been awarded the AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.