4 Natural Remedies for Chronic Pain

A backache, a toothache, arthritis, or even just a sprained joint might be a reason for someone to go to their doctor and obtain a prescription for a pain reliever. Some are able to use over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen for pain relief. But for those who suffer from chronic pain, both prescription and over-the-counter medications aren’t a good long-term solution. If you suffer from chronic pain, there are other remedies to try that won’t result in addiction or have terrible long-term side effects. Try these instead.

1. Exercise

If you suffer from back or joint pain, exercise may seem like the last thing that you want to do. However, working out causes our bodies to produce natural painkillers called endorphins. Endorphins actually work to increase a person’s pain threshold. If you think that you are in too much pain to exercise, start with a small burst of activity such as walking for a few minutes at a time. Build up from there. 

Researchers studying non-pharmacologic treatments for chronic pain determined that exercise was a moderately effective remedy for chronic pain.

Another form of exercise suitable for chronic pain is qigong, which is used in Chinese medicine for all manner of ailments, including chronic pain. Women suffering from fibromyalgia reported experiencing 73% less pain after 5-7 sessions with trained qigong professionals. 

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2. Cannabis

While it has been well-known anecdotally that cannabis helps those suffering from chronic pain for years, a 2010 study found that just a few puffs a day helped people suffering from chronic nerve pain due to injury or surgery improve sleep and pain management. Despite the misconceptions about the herb and with the concern of a rising opioid epidemic, cannabis can be a viable alternative to opioid medications and help those suffering from opioid dependency. A March 2016 study at the University of Michigan published in the Journal of Pain found that cannabis helped to decrease side-effects from other medications. Cannabis also reduced the use of opioids by an average of 64% as well as increased the quality of lives of patients.

The best way to get the pain-relieving benefits of cannabis quickly is to either choose a cannabis oil and use a concentrate pen-style or desktop vaporizer. You can also grind dry herbs to a fine consistency and use a dry herb vaporizer. Vaporizing is preferable to carbonization by many medical marijuana users. 

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3. Fish Oil

Inflammation plays an important role in pain. Because fish oil is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a supplement to consider in the fight against chronic pain. In one study, researchers instructed patients who were suffering from back and neck pain to take 1200 milligrams of a fish oil supplement with eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid. After 75 days on the fish oil regimen, more than half of 125 patients said that they had discontinued prescription pain relief. Fish oil is especially helpful for those that suffer from arthritis because the omega-3 fatty acids help to decrease the production of various chemicals that lead to inflammation and pain in the joints. 

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4. Heat and Ice

One of the most common home remedies for pain and inflammation is utilizing heat and ice. However, it is important to know which to use. For situations immediately following a strain or a sprain injury, using an ice pack may help reduce inflammation and swelling. Using heat at this point may actually increase blood flow, leading to increased inflammation and swelling. Using a cold compress or an ice pack at the onset of a headache may bring relief as well. 

Hot baths that include Epsom salts relax the mind and change the nervous input from the body to the brain. Utilizing heat from a hot bath or a heating pad or a hot-water bottle to calm back spasms is also useful. For those that suffer from arthritis or chronic menstrual cramps, applying heat to the joint or to the back or stomach may also help to reduce pain. 

These are just a few natural remedies for chronic pain. Some of these remedies are low-cost or free, while others may require an investment – such as purchasing a portable or desktop vaporizer. However, by investing in or utilizing these holistic remedies, you may be able to free yourself completely or greatly diminish your need for prescription or over-the-counter pain medication. 

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Michael is a writer and content marketing strategist with 10+ years of experience currently enjoying his work at GotVape. His idea is to break some of the stereotypes people have towards health, providing educational pieces. He is constantly writing, trying to combine it with an active lifestyle. He gets motivation by doing things he always assumed he couldn’t do but secretly wanted to try. Work hard, challenge yourself, stay focused, take a rest, and surround yourself with good people – this is the path to a balanced life.