Pain Relief That Doesn’t Break the Bank
Chronic pain is just that, painful. If you struggle with recurring pain, you know how frustrating and debilitating it can be. Doctors visits, surgeries, medications, and professional aid can really add up. But suffering from chronic pain doesn’t have to be expensive. There are several at-home, inexpensive methods of pain relief that could provide you, and your wallet, with the respite you need. These practices are all safe, low risk, and shown to produce positive results in patients.
Pain Relief Tips
Stretching is one of the most accessible forms of pain relief. You don’t need a gym or a yoga studio to practice daily stretching. Over time, stress builds in muscles and tendons. Without stretching, there is no respite to the repeated tension. It is recommended to stretch two or three times per day. Generally, it is best to do some in the morning, some midday, and some before bed. If you are starting out with stretching, go slow. The last thing you want to do is hurt yourself even more. Even once a day is better than not doing it all. There are many online resources that outline stretches for specific types of pain.
Fish oil is a natural supplement that can help with pain relief. It has anti-inflammatory properties which can help relieve pain specifically around the joints. When a part of the body is injured, the surrounding bone and muscle become inflamed. This inflammation irritates the area and causes pain. Without treatment, this can become chronic pain. Supplementing your diet with anti-inflammatory foods like fish oil helps reduce inflammation. Aim for 3 grams of fish oil each day. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil also help with better blood circulation. Increased blood flow also helps aid in the reduction of joint swelling.
While meditation is an ancient practice, it is just recently coming to the forefront of pain relief. It is the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment. By blocking out any distractions or intrusive thoughts, you focus on only the “now”. Studies show that over time meditation can rewire the brain to better deal with pain. There are various methods of meditation that you can try. There are YouTube videos and applications that provide “Intro to Meditation” courses for beginners. Following a guided meditation can be helpful if you’re not sure where to start. As you get comfortable, you’ll be able to guide your own practice. Aside from pain relief, meditation can help with stress, anxiety, and depression.
You may have heard it is best to “ice” your injuries, but this isn’t always the case. While there are benefits to icing sore spots, heat can be just as helpful (and even more enjoyable!) Applying heat to the area of pain dilates the blood vessels. This increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the injured area. The heat also stimulates the nerves in the skin which decreases the transmission of pain signals. It even helps loosen the muscles so stretching them is easier and less painful. Heat therapy can come in various forms. There are store-bought adhesives, electric heating pads, and microwavable gel packs. You can even make your own heating pad at home. Start by taking an old sock and filling it with rice and seal it off. All you have to do is throw it in the microwave to heat it up and it’s good to go.
This one might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes getting up and moving can actually help with the pain. Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are considered the natural painkillers of the body. They bind to opioid receptors in the brain and block the perception of pain. By increasing the number of endorphins, you increase the ability of the brain to block the perception of pain. An extra addition to exercise is doing it outside. The sun provides us with vitamin D. Studies have found that the presence of vitamin D can help reduce pain. Plus, the sun is a natural mood booster!
Chronic pain can be manageable without breaking the bank. There are more and more holistic methods of pain relief that can be beneficial. These are just a few suggestions for what could help with common causes of chronic pain. As always, consult a physician before starting anything drastic. And if it hurts, then it might be your boy’s sign that you need to rest for a bit longer.
About the Author
Chad Turner is a fitness enthusiast, personal trainer, health coach, and triathlete based out of Dallas, TX. His mission is to make the world of health and fitness more accessible to people from all walks of life.