Since September is Pain Management Awareness Month, we couldn’t let the month end without talking about this topic. It can be hard to believe but according to the National Institute of Health, pain affects more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. We must wonder what the best natural ways to manage pain are. Here are five steps to help manage pain:
1. Massage Therapy (of course).
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, about 25% of adults have received at least one massage in the past 12 months, with 50% using massage for health reasons including for pain relief.
So how does massage help relieve pain you ask? Well, massage helps with several different things. Massage helps to increase blood flow and brings warmth to the area being massaged, massage also triggers the brain to create its own natural painkiller. Massage creates a relaxation response with the use of touch and massage techniques.
2. Deep Breathing.
Did you know that deep abdominal breathing can alter your psychological state? Our brains are designed to create their own morphine like pain relievers, called endorphins and enkephalins. These are hormones that are associated with happy, positive feelings and they can help stop stress hormones from sending pain signals from our brain to the area of discomfort.
3. Reduce Stress.
Feelings of negativity such as stress, depression, and anxiety can intensify sensitivity to pain. Several techniques can help to reduce pain such as Deep Breathing, Guided Meditation, Massage, and Exercise. Take some time every day to do something relaxing to help manage your pain.
Exercise is good for us, as it encourages the brain to release endorphins, which help improve our mood while blocking pain signals. Not only can regular exercise improve our general health, decrease the risk of diseases, and the progression of chronic illnesses; but when exercise is applied to pain management, it can significantly improve pain and related symptoms, such as poor sleep.
5. Healthy Diet.
Eating a healthy diet can reduce inflammation, which can contribute to chronic pain. Certain foods are even suggested to help with this, such as Ginger, Coffee, Olive oil, Salmon, and Turmeric among others. A healthy diet also helps to maintain a healthy body weight which can take an excess strain off joints and muscles, that may be experiencing pain.