When you are in the throes of pain, all you want is relief. For most, this means reaching for an over-the-counter painkiller. Others prefer to find pill-free pain relief but aren’t sure where to find it. Below are some options you may want to consider the next time you’re in pain.
Acupuncture is a form of therapy used in traditional Chinese medicine. Very thin, sterile needles are placed just under the skin on specific points of the body. Studies show that acupuncture is effective in treating up to 100 conditions including chronic pain. While acupuncture hasn’t always been accepted in Western medicine, more doctors have referred patients to acupuncturists than any other “alternative” medicine available today.
Massage therapy is another pain-free pain relief. Think about it – when you have a headache, what do you instinctively do? You rub your temples or the area that it hurts. Massage therapists are knowledgeable not only of massage techniques but also human physiology, so they know the right muscles to massage to get the most pain-relieving benefit.
Mind-body techniques are also used to treat pain without resorting to pills. Techniques like relaxation, biofeedback, guided imagery, and meditation help those suffering from pain effectively. Another type of mind-body therapy is Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art that combines deep breathing and slow, fluid movements. While there have not been studies regarding using Tai Chi specifically for pain, it improves general overall health and mood.
History shows that people have used herbs to treat pain for thousands of years. Herbs that have anti-arthritis properties include black cohosh, dandelion, devil’s claw, juniper, feverfew, meadowsweet, white willow, rosemary, and turmeric. While you can take these herbs in capsule form, they are also used in herbal teas, tinctures, and salves.
Hot or cold therapy can be used to treat arthritis pain. Normally either ice (or a bag of frozen vegetables) or a heating pad are placed on the painful area. It is important to remove the treatment after 20 minutes but it can be repeated two to three times daily.
Losing weight can also help reduce pain. What most people don’t realize is that every extra 10 pounds of body weight is 30 to 70 extra pounds of pressure on your knees, ankles, and feet each time you take a step. Along with reducing pain, losing weight will also improve your health in other ways.
Amazingly, even the foods you eat can help you fight pain. Adding whole grains to your diet is not only healthy for the fiber it contains but also for the magnesium, which aids in fighting muscular pain. You probably know salmon has omega-3 fatty acids but it also contains vitamin D, which helps fight pain. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants that can block pain-causing mechanisms in the body. Ginger and turmeric both contain several substances that contain pain-relieving properties.
No one wants to feel pain, but it does happen on occasion. If you don’t like taking pills, try one or more of these pill-free pain relief options.