Pain that lasts longer than three months is usually labeled as chronic pain and can be caused by injury, aging or an array of ailments. Of course, most people living with chronic pain have done so for much more than three months, with some dealing with constant stiffness, muscle or joint pain, or overall discomfort for years or decades. Fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back injuries, depression, and anxiety disorders are just a few examples of what can cause chronic pain to occur.
Allopathic physicians often prescribe painkillers, anti-depressants and sleeping pills to mask the symptoms and make life more bearable; however, these prescription medications almost always come with a host of potential side effects and can sometimes make things worse. This does not necessarily mean that every person suffering from chronic pain should throw out their prescription meds, particularly if the pain is so severe that it significantly interferes with their ability to do even basic daily tasks. However, people who would like to decrease their dependency on prescription painkillers and sleeping pills do have viable options that can assist them in managing their chronic pain naturally and taking medications only when absolutely necessary.
The first step in learning to manage chronic pain or other chronic conditions naturally is to research your particular ailment. The more you know about the cause of your pain, the easier it will be for you to understand what is happening to your body, communicate effectively with your healthcare provider and determine the course of action that will best fit your needs.
Here are other general tips that can be applied to essentially any case of chronic pain:
- Get to know your new normal and know your limits. Pay attention to the signals your body gives you and come to a realistic conclusion about the amount and length of activities you can include each day.
- Find alternative ways to meet your goals. If you want to write your memoirs, but typing is too painful, you could consider speech recognition dictation software. If you can no longer play sports with your children, consider board games, card games or other less painful activities.
- Build a support system. For example, you could join a support group or online forum with others who have the same ailment. This is also a great way to find out what helps them manage their pain on a daily basis.
- Seek natural therapies and treatments. Look into meditation, yoga, acupuncture, physical therapy, art therapy or other treatment options that interest you.
- Improve your diet. Eating right can reduce inflammation, which is a common culprit behind chronic pain. It can also enhance immune system function and ensures that your body is getting what it needs to function as well as possible.
- Stay active. Low- or no-impact movement, such as stretching or walking, can relieve stiffness, lower stress, improve sleep and lift your spirits.