7 Steps to Chronic Pain Relief
Is it estimated that over 100 million people suffer from some type of chronic pain condition. This surpasses the number of people affected by diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined!
Most physicians are trained to prescribe pain-relieving drugs to combat chronic pain but unfortunately, this approach doesn't end chronic pain, it only provides temporary relief. In order to stop chronic pain, it's important to find and eliminate the cause.
End Chronic Pain Naturally Regardless of Diagnosis
Regardless of the type of chronic pain condition you live with, there are seven steps you can take right now to relieve your discomfort and live a healthier, more fulfilling life.
1. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
When it comes to healing from chronic pain, diet is critical. I can't stress that enough. If you're eating highly-processed food, you will never truly heal because that food is nutritionally-void and contains chemicals that worsen inflammation.
Dr. Andrew Weil, noted medical doctor and naturopath, designed his own anti-inflammatory food pyramid several years ago to help his patients naturally reduce and heal their chronic pain. He recommends eating a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like raw coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, and walnuts, omega-3 and fiber-rich flax seed, wild-caught fish, and moderate amounts of free-range poultry and grass-fed beef.
In addition, he recommends adding plenty of anti-inflammatory and immune-building spices like turmeric, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper.
Those with chronic pain or autoimmune disease should take it a step further and cut gluten, soy, and corn from their diet, at least for a trial period of 6-8 weeks. Gluten has been found to be highly inflammatory, even for those who have shown no diagnosable sensitivity to it. Instead of gluten, enjoy alternative grains such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and amaranth.
Furthermore, most of the corn and soy produced in the United States is genetically-modified. This means they are manufactured with pesticides built right in so they can't be washed off. Ingesting pesticides has been shown to cause serious neurological, digestive, and immune system irregularities.
Chronic digestive disorders have also been linked to chronic pain due to malnourishment. Try incorporating more fermented foods into your diet like sauerkraut, kefir, and organic yogurt to improve your digestive health.
2. Address Nutritional Deficiencies
There is an epidemic of nutritional deficiencies in the United States. This is largely due to poor diet, poor soil quality, and digestive disorders. Two of the most common nutrient deficiencies associated with chronic pain are vitamin D and magnesium.
Those who suffer from chronic pain have often been found to have marginally low levels of these essential nutrients.
Adding a vitamin D supplement can help boost your immune system and decrease your inflammatory response while adding magnesium can help you get a deeper, more restful sleep (essential and often elusive for those with chronic pain).
Excerpt from University of Maryland Study:
“Exposure to various chemicals and environmental toxins such as solvents, pesticides, or heavy metals (cadmium, mercury, or lead) can cause fatigue, chronic pain, and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.”
3. Get Rid of Harmful Environmental Toxins
Even if you remove as many harmful chemicals from your diet as possible, you're still exposed to them in the form of make-up, air freshener, and cleaning products. Many of these common household products contain neurotoxic and immune-destroying chemicals like parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and synthetic fragrances. Furthermore, neurotoxicity can mimic the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. If your make-up and cleaning products aren't natural, get rid of them.
4. Decrease Your Stress Levels
Research conducted at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh has shown that excessive stress can significantly decrease your ability to regulate your body's inflammatory response. If you under prolonged periods of stress, it can alter the effectiveness of cortisol, a hormone responsible for regulating the inflammatory response. When your immune cells become non-responsive to the regulatory effects of this hormone, it can contribute to the progression of many chronic pain disorders.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation produces hyperalgesic changes in the body's of those with chronic pain. Hyperalagesic individuals have an increased response to pain stimulus. Furthermore, chronic sleep deprivation may counteract the analgesic effects of pharmacological treatments, resulting in the need for an increased dosage. This could lead to tolerance and the possibility of addiction.
As mentioned above, many chronic pain patients are deficient in the essential mineral, magnesium. Adding a magnesium supplement to your diet can help decrease your pain, relieve your stress, and help ease you into a deeper, more restful sleep.
Conventional vs. Alternative Therapies
What Methods are You Currently Using to Treat Your Chronic Pain?
6. Invest in a Massage
Massage therapy has been proven effective in managing a wide variety of chronic pain conditions. Massage therapy aids in stress reduction while improving your blood circulation and increasing your body's natural detoxification process. Massage therapy also helps improve your range of motion. (If you have fibromyalgia or are extremely sensitive to touch, you may prefer very light massage to deep tissue).
7. Explore Energy Therapies
You can also stop chronic pain by exploring energy therapies such as acupuncture and reiki. Both treat the body's invisible life-force energy (called “chi”) to facilitate healing and deep relaxation.
In acupuncture, small, hollow-pointed needles are inserted into areas of your body called meridians, the purpose being to release energy blocks that may be contributing to chronic pain.
With reiki, an attuned healer uses the gentle laying of hands to direct life-force energy throughout your body to release energetic blocks. It may sound like hocum to some but both of these healing modalities have been backed by scientific studies and have been proven very effective.
Your body's ability to heal is far greater than anyone has permitted you to believe. No matter how long you've been suffering, you have the power within you to end chronic pain and live a more fulfilling life.