Natural pain relief
Natural pain relief is among the hottest discussions amongst athletes, massagists, chiropractors, and sport medicine professionals. Natural pain relief approaches may help you get rid of pharmaceutical narcotics such as:
- Fentanyl (Duragesic) – a patch that sticks to your skin.
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Morphine (MS Contin)
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet, Percodan)
- Tramadol (Ultram)
Using natural pain relief techniques, we can access an “inner pharmacy” of opioids through movement, which may be more potent than pharmaceutical drugs.
The phrase “runner’s high” has a specific meaning. After spending all day sitting at a desk, you feel drained, disoriented, and sore when you go for a run. At first, you might wonder why you even bothered going outside; you’re drenched in sweat, gasping for air, and your legs feel heavy and rigid. What on earth could be fun about repeatedly stomping your feet on pavement?
After 20 minutes of running, your thoughts begin to purr. Your steps quicken, and you feel invisible as the sky is a more brilliant color and the sound of birds is more audible. Sometimes even the nagging pain in your knee subsides into the background.
Endorphins production in response to Natural pain relief treatment.
Endorphins, the feel-good chemicals your body releases in response to stress and other stimuli, are likely already familiar to you. You might be surprised to learn that endorphins are opioids. They have the same pain-relieving properties and bind to the same receptors as medications like Vicodin and oxycodone. The body is flooded with natural opioids and anti-inflammatory compounds after exercise.
Some opioids have mood-enhancing properties and antidepressant properties. They also transform exercise into a powerful strategy for recovering from chronic pain (as opposed to acute pain, which indicates an injury).
According to an Adjunct Associate Professor of the Psychology Department, an anesthesiologist with the University of Utah’s Division of Pain Management, Akiko Okifuji, Natural pain relief in general and exercising, in particular, enables us to access “our pain medicines.” The exhilaration you feel when you return home from the gym pales compared to these consequences. Exercise may ultimately teach your brain to send fewer pain signals.
Physiology of pain.
Your brain uses pain to shield you from harm on a physical level. Your tissues contain nerves that respond to stimuli like the tickling of a gentle wind or the burn of a hot stove by sending information to the brain. Pain signals are produced when the brain perceives this information as signaling danger. Your brain alerts you to the possibility of additional injury to those ligaments when you sprain your ankle by sending a sharp ache when you take a step.
But the brain is a sketchy source of information. In many chronic pain situations, bad feelings resulting from an injury outlast actual bodily harm. According to Daniella Deutsch, a psychotherapist and instructor at the Pain Reprocessing Therapy Center, which educates healthcare professionals in the science of chronic pain, “much like we can learn to ride a bike, our brain can learn to perceive pain in certain regions of your body.” For instance, even after damaged muscles have healed, ankle discomfort may worsen and even spread. Other times, chronic pain seems to strike suddenly. Fear is only one example of an emotion that can make the nervous system sensitive to otherwise harmless stimuli. As a result, even seemingly harmless sensations like muscular weariness or the weight of your body on a healthy joint might seem excruciatingly painful. This pain is just as real as the agony you feel right away after getting hurt; it just isn’t as beneficial. Exercise then becomes a valuable tool.
Studies discovered Natural pain relief effectiveness.
During six weeks, 38 people with chronic low back pain were required to undergo three 30-minute cardio sessions using either a cycle, elliptical, treadmill, or stair machine. The results of this study were published in the journal Pain in 2020. All participants underwent a “heat pain task” in which they sat while wearing a metal device that heated up until they could no longer stand it before and after the complete exercise program. Each time, the subjects received a different injection: either saline, which has no effect or naloxone, an opioid receptor blocker that prevents endorphins from acting as a painkiller. Participants were not aware of the injection they were receiving.
The researchers then compared the participants’ discomfort ratings after receiving saline versus naloxone. When given saline instead of naloxone, 44% of exercise program participants reported much less pain; in other words, their bodies were producing painkillers. When naloxone stopped those painkillers from doing their jobs, the people felt the negative impacts. The difference in pain was higher the more complex the exercise group members tended to work out. Just 9% of participants in the control group reported experiencing a reduction in pain after receiving the saline injection; the control group did not receive any exercise plan. Overall, the non-exercisers didn’t have as many natural painkillers. The exercisers didn’t finish the heat pain task right after a workout, so the study wasn’t assessing the post-workout high; highlighting is vital. Instead, a regular exercise schedule is recommended to raise the number of opioids circulating in the body.
Exercise is one of the most effective natural pain relief approaches.
According to Kathleen Sluka, a professor of physical therapy and pain researcher at the University of Iowa, exercise doesn’t just produce opioids; it also serves as an anti-inflammatory, with the same final result of reducing pain at the source. When the immune system activates in reaction to viruses, wounds, and other stimuli, the body becomes inflamed. This reaction aids short-term healing. But inflammation frequently persists for too long in those who experience chronic pain. White blood cells produce inflammatory substances called cytokines that can stimulate nerve cells and increase their sensitivity to stimulation, increasing the number of alarm signals they transmit to the brain.
Workout, as a form of natural pain relief, reduces this reaction. In one study, researchers counted the levels of inflammatory markers in 47 individuals’ blood before and after exercise. After just 20 minutes of fast treadmill walking, participants saw an average 5 percent decrease in inflammatory cytokines, according to the findings published in 2017 in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunology.
You can either exercise and stimulate these systems, or you can take five tablets, Sluka liked to explain. Exercise is related to a more significant reduction in pain than nonsteroid anti-inflammatories (a class of medications that includes ibuprofen), according to a 2022 analysis of 13 distinct research. It also rated higher than both opioids and NSAIDs. The study observed that exercise had a reduced upfront cost and risk of side effects and problems despite the slight difference in the paper. However, exercise has additional advantages that ibuprofen does not have, such as lowered blood pressure, enhanced memory and learning, and a general sensation of well-being.
Acupuncture as a form of Natural pain relief approaches
Your body may benefit from rest or workouts prescribed by a physical therapist if you are experiencing acute pain following a sports injury. In those cases, acupuncture may appear to be the most effective natural pain relief approach.
A growing number of people are using acupuncture as a complementary or integrative therapy for pain. There is a low chance of significant adverse effects, and it is well tolerated. Both conventional acupuncture and unconventional methods, such as electroacupuncture and dry needling, are frequently reported to reduce pain. The technique utilized for needling, the number of needles used, the length of time the needles were retained, the specificity of the acupuncture points, the number of treatments, and various subjective (psychological) aspects could all affect how acupuncture works therapeutically. Controlled studies on pain syndromes have been published, including acupuncture for neck pain, headache, myofascial pain, knee osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. For some conditions, there is sufficient evidence to do systematic reviews or meta-analyses. In managing chronic low back pain, tension headache, chronic headache, migraine headache prevention, and myofascial pain, acupuncture may offer significant benefits.
The 2012 meta-analysis, updated by the same group of scientists, was published in the Journal of Pain. The researchers incorporated patient information from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published through November 2008 in the 2012 meta-analysis. The current meta-analysis published RCTs that satisfied the criteria between December 2008 and December 2015.
The authors concluded that the data “confirm and reinforce prior major findings that acupuncture has a clinically significant impact compared with no acupuncture control.” These outcomes appeared to last for at least a year following acupuncture. Although the authors noted that “factors other than the specific effects of needling at proper acupuncture point sites” contribute to the advantages of getting acupuncture, they added that “the effects of acupuncture are not explicable in terms of placebo effects.”
The writers talked about relevance and effect size. The choice doctors make on whether to treat or refer patients “is not between acupuncture and sham but between acupuncture and no acupuncture,” they claimed; therefore, relevance should be assessed by contrasting acupuncture with no-acupuncture control.
They asked for more research to ascertain the most effective approach to integrating acupuncture into treating these patients. They advised that it would be “an acceptable option” for patients with chronic pain.
Psychotherapy and Clinical hypnosis – other forms of Natural pain relief.
For people with chronic pain problems, including fibromyalgia and arthritis, hypnosis may be a beneficial natural pain relief non-drug therapy. More than 75% of persons with arthritis and similar conditions, according to studies, can significantly reduce their pain by practicing hypnosis. Today’s doctors are employing hypnosis to provide patients with another tool to assist in controlling their pain, far from the parlor trick of the past.
Hypnosis, a form of natural pain relief, helps you control the fear and anxiety you experience concerning that pain, not to make you believe you don’t feel pain. You become more at ease, and your focus is diverted from discomfort. You will probably begin a hypnosis session, which lasts 10 to 20 minutes, by paying attention to your breathing to help you relax. The hypnotist will next give you instructions to picture a lovely location and describe it in detail, shifting your attention away from something that makes you feel bad and toward something that makes you feel good, like being at the beach.
You’ll be less aware of your discomfort if your thoughts are on the beach, where you’re picturing the sand beneath your feet, the cold breeze, and the sun’s warmth. This also gets you ready for future suggestions about how to deal with pain in an indirect way. You’ll still experience the same pain level, but you’ll be considerably less upset about it, much calmer, much more at ease, and unconcerned about it; it might sound like this.
Hypnosis is not a one-time cure. It may first be covered in regular doctor’s office psychotherapy appointments. Pain is often reduced with hypnosis in 4 to 10 sessions. Nonetheless, some people reap the benefits more quickly than others. The intention is to teach you the method so you may employ it independently when you experience pain.
Hypnosis for chronic pain frequently focuses more on acceptance of your chronic disease to lower fear and anxiety surrounding it than on attempting to diminish the pain itself. Our perceptions of pain significantly impact how much pain we feel and how we handle it.
Patients who experience pain frequently exhibit hypervigilance, which means they become acutely aware of their discomfort, exacerbating their condition. This frequently results in people worrying excessively about their pain, a condition known as pain catastrophizing. These unfavorable attitudes and feelings toward chronic pain may convince our brain to continue sending pain signals, perpetuating and exacerbating the pain cycle. These can also be excruciating emotions to deal with. A patient’s quality of life can be greatly enhanced, and their pain levels can be significantly decreased by dealing with these negative emotions and lowering fear.
In some hypnosis sessions, the goal is to create an angelic effect. To help patients reduce pain levels, they propose being pain-free, having reduced discomfort, or having more excellent functioning. Hypnoanalgesia is a method of pain management that has been successfully applied in various pain situations. According to a comprehensive study on hypnoanalgesia, it has been very successful in treating a variety of acute and chronic pain conditions, such as “chronic oncological pain, HIV neuropathic pain, pain during molar extraction, pain associated with physical trauma, pain in surgical procedures, pain associated with the temporomandibular joint disorder, phantom limb, fibromyalgia, pain in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, acute pain during menstrual cramps.
According to this study, some sessions might concentrate on erasing unpleasant memories of earlier instances of pain to retrain the brain to stop associating particular circumstances with discomfort. Some therapists use images to switch the painful experience to a more pleasant one, like warmth. For instance, the hypnotherapist can instruct you to visualize warmth whenever you feel pain. They might bring up this idea repeatedly in sessions, to the point where it becomes “habitual” and occurs automatically in your day-to-day activities. As a result, you may be able to interrupt the cycle of chronic pain by helping your brain stop associating particular unpleasant actions or circumstances.
Hypnotherapy can make you feel incredibly calm, lowering your stress levels and ending the cycle of pain and stress. It is possible to lessen stiffness and relax tense muscles. Regular hypnotherapy sessions can significantly relieve chronic pain symptoms by reducing stress. Patients who experience pain can benefit greatly from a session of this kind of hypnoanalgesia. According to this study, “when hypnosis is used compared to standard therapy, pain reductions are greater across several chronic pain disorders and pain-related outcomes, including intensity, duration, frequency, and use of analgesic drugs.”
When to start exercising for pain relief.
It is advisable to start an exercise regimen with a qualified practitioner who is familiar with chronic pain and can ensure that movement won’t exacerbate any damage. According to Sluka, problems usually subside after a few weeks of exercise if your body is physically sound.
Nevertheless, beginning an exercise regimen when you’re in pain can still feel unnatural and unsettling—particularly if a sports injury brought on your chronic pain. I struggled with persistent pain caused by previous running injuries for many years. It was the last thing I wanted to do because I feared it might further slow my recovery or worsen the agony. So, I patiently waited for the pain to disappear while I relaxed and applied ice. I had no idea that to accelerate that healing, and I needed to get moving.
Also, I was unaware that it’s normal for the first few exercises to hurt. It’s okay to experience some discomfort as long as it primarily occurs during the workout and doesn’t get worse following, according to Sluka. She said, “That pain when exercising will ultimately go away, and so will your general ache.”
According to Deutsch, it doesn’t matter what kind of Natural pain relief techniques and exercises you undertake. The most crucial factor is that it’s something you like and seems long-lasting. Yet, there is more support for the advantages of aerobic workouts than strengthening ones, such as walking, jogging, and tai chi, according to Okifuji.
No matter what you decide to do, start cautiously. Convincing your brain that you are safe is a crucial part of starting exercise again when you have chronic pain, according to Okifuji. This is due to the nocebo effect, also known as the “evil twin” of the placebo effect, which pain researchers refer to as the phenomenon whereby when you learn to associate movement with pain, the anxiety you experience around physical activity and the expectation that it will cause a flare-up can amplify pain signals. Take it slow. Okifuji advised estimating your physical capacity before doing much less: “It might be a five-minute walk. Or by going to the post office. It can be minor. Yet you must maintain consistency. She advised that you can gradually increase the volume and intensity once the activity is bearable.
Finally, be aware that you will encounter obstacles. According to Okifuji, “progress is typically not linear.” That requires a lot of work and time. Be aware of your body. It’s acceptable to lower the intensity if you’re not feeling well, according to Okifuji. “You can exercise for shorter periods and with lower intensity.
Natural pain relief in Philadelphia
If you suffer from acute or chronic pain and live in the City of Brotherly Love, visit Philadelphia Holistic Clinic. At the clinic, licensed specialists work under the supervision of medical doctor Victor Tsan. We provide treatment with acupuncture, homeopathy, ayurveda, reiki, clinical hypnosis, and Chinese medicinal herbs. Contact us at (267) 403-3085 and schedule your appointment for evaluation and treatment.