Five Ways To Help Heal Pain Naturally0
In my work as a physiotherapist and life coach I see it every day. Someone’s pain gets to the point where they seek help from their doctor and the first (and sometimes only) thing that happens is that anti-inflammatories and pain medication gets handed out like lolly water.
When this doesn’t ‘cure’ the pain it’s back to the doctor – and the cycle continues without any consideration to the harmful side effects these drugs have on the body. Now don’t get me wrong! I strongly believe there is a time and place for such medications.
If I have a patient come to see me with acute back or neck pain I will often suggest they see their doctor to be prescribed such medication, as physiotherapy can only be effective if their pain is under control. I do the same with shoulder pain that is extremely irritable. And many chronic pain sufferers definitely need adequate pain management to have any quality of life.
My frustration simply stems from the fact that we, as health practitioners on a whole, aren’t managing our patient’s pain in a holistic way. Dishing out medication is not the only solution for pain. I believe we need to start seeing our patients as a ‘whole’ person, rather than just trying to fix a ‘part’. Because if we don’t, it is very easy for a simple niggle to turn into chronic pain or illness in time.
The side effects of prolonged pain medication and anti-inflammatory taking is long and includes:
- Gastro-intestinal problems such as indigestion, nausea or stomach pain;
- Stomach ulcers or bleeding in the gut;
- High blood pressure; and
- Salt and fluid retention.
So what else can you do to help heal your physical pain? Here are five natural healing practices that you could try, as well as some of the physiological benefits of each.
- Massage increases both blood flow and lymph circulation. It helps deliver good, healing nutrients to the cells and flushes out the toxins, which cause inflammation.
- It helps reduce painful contractions and muscle spasms.
- It can help release nerve compression (when muscles are contracted they may tighten around a nerve, causing nerve pain).
- It reduces tension in the soft tissues and muscles, which in turn releases the deeper connective tissues.
- Acupuncture promotes self-healing by stimulating specific sites on the body called acupressure points, which is said to clear blocked energy in the body.
- While there is not a lot of substantial scientific evidence about how, or whether, acupuncture works many people find it extremely beneficial.
- Yoga increases your flexibility, muscle strength and tone.
- It improves your posture, which is crucial if your pain is related to postural issues.
- It increases blood flow, which is essential for good healing.
- It helps drain your lymph system of the toxins that may be causing the inflammation.
- It releases tension in your body, which can decrease pain levels.
- It helps you sleep better. Consistently good sleep is incredibly important as this is time when our body does most of it’s healing.
- It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the system that needs to be turned on for healing to occur.
- It improves your quality of sleep, which is when our bodies rejuvenate, repair and rebuild.
- It slows down the production of cortisol, your primary stress hormone. If your cortisol is chronically high your adrenal glands get depleted. This then raises your prolactin levels, which increases your sensitivity to pain.
- It helps the muscle fibres relax which leads to decreased pain, tension, tightness and stiffness.
- It helps take your focus away from your pain. Pain occurs when your pain receptors send messages to your brain to tell it something is wrong. The more attention you give your pain the more these messages fire off. Meditation helps these messages slow down.
5. Regular, Gentle Exercise
- When you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which interact with the receptors in your brain that help reduce pain.
- It strengthens and builds your bones – the foundation muscles, ligaments and tendons.
- It increases your circulation, which is essential for good healing.
- It reduces stress and makes you feel better about yourself.
- It helps improve your sleep patterns, which is key for healing.
There are a number of other natural ways to stimulate the body’s healing process, so I would really encourage you to consult a holistic health practitioner if you are concerned that your pain isn’t improving. Painkillers and anti-inflammatories do have their place; however we all need to be more mindful of how such medication is being prescribed and the impact they have on our body, particularly with prolonged use.
It is really important to remember that you only have one body and it is up to you to commit to looking after it as best as you can. When it comes to healing from physical pain there are a number of ways you can do so intuitively, naturally and holistically. Pain medication may be a part of this, but it doesn’t have to be the only answer.
You are your own best healer. Your body will tell you what it needs. It will send you a physical signal if something in your life is off, not working or out of balance. It is your job to listen, take heed and to take action. I really encourage you to do so now.