Yoga for pain relief is widely known, but are you aware of the other possibilities?
People who often experience chronic pain tend to assume that their options are limited to two choices: tough it out or take pain pills. However, medical experts have increasingly started looking to natural alternatives such as meditation, hypnosis, yoga, and acupuncture to assist patients in experiencing some relief. Today, chronic pain is one of the leading reasons why many Americans are turning to alternative medicine and methods.
Whether you are suffering from arthritis, neck pain, fibromyalgia, or back pain, the following are natural ways you can use to get some relief.
Tai Chi and Qigong
Fibromyalgia, Lower back pain and Arthritis
Recent studies have indicated that these two exercises, which are associated with very slow movements may provide the same relief from pain as that obtained from prescription painkillers. Women suffering from fibromyalgia have reported experiencing some relief, after combining Qigong with meditation, according to a study conducted by Maryland University. Although its underlying mechanisms have not yet been fully understood, researchers have noted that these findings prove the benefits that tai chi can provide for musculoskeletal pain.
It is very tempting to stop exercising whenever you experience chronic back pain. However, it’s typically recommended that you keep moving. You can accomplish this by taking part in Pilates. According to a 2014 medical study published in the European Journal of Physical Rehabilitation, researchers noted an improvement in psychological health, disability, and pain in patients suffering from chronic low back pain. The participating patients had been taking Pilates classes for five hours a week for a period of six months.
Pilates uses a combination of different exercises such as chest lifts, which strengthens your abdominal muscles, using a pelvic tilt to pelvic curl which teaches you to use your muscles to support and lengthen your lower back. Another exercise, the swan prep, strengthens your back extensors. The extensors are the muscles that hold your body upright. For each Pilates variation, there are steps that must be followed to ensure that you execute it correctly and safely.
Several studies have shown that meditation can be used to reduce chronic pain. Duke University Researchers established that patients experiencing chronic back pain got some relief when they engaged in meditation. They were also able to reduce psychological distress by focusing on a type of meditation that assisted them in releasing their anger. In a different study, it was noted that participants experienced a 40 percent decrease in pain after a few sessions.
Meditation is believed to assist with back pain as it is not scripted. Even though you can find instructions on how to proceed, you also can look up different approaches on how to practice mindful meditation. The practice can also assist in lowering depression and anxiety levels.
Many people suffering from back pain are not open to the idea of acupuncture because of the use of needles. However, maintaining an open mind could be instrumental in helping you relieve the pain that has been nagging you for too long. Recent studies have indicated that people receiving acupuncture treatment are often more likely to experience relief from back pain in comparison with those who are utilizing conventional medicine.
Acupuncture not only helps with chronic back pain, but it can also be useful for people with arthritis and chronic headaches. The benefits are seen with ongoing treatment. The Eastern treatment assists in rewiring your brain by tapping into the areas responsible for controlling your memory and your responses to pain.
Acupuncture is done by inserting very thin needles at certain points in your body. The body, according to traditional Chinese medicine, has close to 2000 pressure points. All these points are connected by meridians or pathways. The meridians create an energy flow known as Qi. The needles are used to stimulate these points, which assist in correcting the Qi imbalance and improving the energy flow. Acupuncturists believe that correcting this imbalance assists in relieving pain.
5. Try out Yoga
Yoga is one of the best methods of promoting flexibility and core strength. It has been time and again been proven to help reduce pain, especially lower back pain. In fact, one study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that lower back pain sufferers who took at least one yoga class every week for three months saw a reduction in pain compared to those who received conventional care.
And the good news is that yoga is all natural and absolutely cost-free if you do it at home. If you’re a yoga newbie, there are numerous online videos you can use to train yourself on how to perform these poses or you can go find a class at a local studio. Trying yoga for pain relief can lead to a wonderful, life-long love affair with the practice. But be mindful of your limitations and approach the practice with a non-competitive spirit.
When it comes to natural medicine, Comfrey Root is highly regarded for its ability to reduce inflammation and heal sprained, pulled, or strained muscles and ligaments. The extract if the comfrey root contains powerful compounds that may significantly reduce back pain as well.
In a 2009 study that was conducted by Merck, it was reported that the participants who used an ointment containing the comfrey root extract for approximately 5 days experienced significantly reduced intensity of lower back pain by a whopping 95%. During the same time, the placebo group only had a 38% reduction in pain, making it evident that comfrey root really may have merit.
You can either purchase the comfrey root ointment from online stores or crush some of the plant’s roots and leaves and topically apply on to the affected areas.
Chronic back pain might make it impossible for you to engage in ordinary day to day activities. But as explained above, you do not have to tough it out or necessarily resort to taking pain medication whenever you experience discomfort. Try all of the natural pain relief methods discussed above and witness your pain levels begin to reduce, offering you a better quality of life.