There’s no question that popping a pill is the fastest, easiest way to stop pain, but constantly relying on chemicals to make pain manageable can be dangerous to your body. There are many natural pain relievers that allow you to combat pain without the use of drugs. Several of these natural pain remedies are not only beneficial to your physical well-being, but are also great for your mental health.
Even though your pain may make you want to lay in bed all day, you should know that the benefits of exercise for pain relief are many.
When you do cardiovascular exercise, you release endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers. Endorphins work by blocking pain signals from reaching your brain, and they can be as strong as many medication pain relievers. Endorphins can also help alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression, all of which can make chronic pain worse.
Another benefit of exercise for pain relief is increased flexibility. When you’re more flexible, the pain that accompanies stiffness is often alleviated.
What kinds of exercise should I do?
As long as your blood is pumping for a sustained period, it will release endorphins. Try walking, running, or jump-roping. If you suffer from joint pain, try a non-impact workout on a bike or elliptical machine. Swimming is another great form of exercise that is very gentle on the joints.
If you can, take your workout outside. Research shows that just 15 minutes of sun exposure per day helps the the body produce vitamin D, and people who get the recommended daily 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D tend to experience less pain.
Yoga and pilates can increase flexibility and strengthen abdominal muscles, which together with your back muscles make up your core. A stronger core leads to fewer episodes of back pain.
What types of pain are helped by exercise?
Exercise relieves many forms of joint pain including low back pain, knee pain, and even fibromyalgia pain.
The connection between diet and pain may seem surprising, but once you start to understand what the body requires in order to feel good, you’ll understand why food is so important for a pain-free life.
Some foods are high in certain nutrients that combat inflammation and tissue degeneration. For example, Resveratrol, which is found in blueberries, cranberries, and grapes, has been found to slow down disc degradation.
Many chiropractic patients suffer from Arthritis, and diet can be very important when dealing with this kind of pain naturally. A diet low in processed foods and saturated fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and beans can help curb inflammation and benefit joints.
It’s hard to pinpoint the perfect fibromyalgia diet since some sufferers are more sensitive to certain foods than others. The best way to figure out what foods are best to eat is by listening to your body. If you have a lot of pain after eating MSG, eggs, gluten, or anything else, try to eliminate those things and see if you notice a change in how you feel. It’s entirely possible to reduce pain naturally through your diet.
Acupuncture treatment is a form of alternative pain management that works well for many patients. Acupuncture therapy works by placing from 1-20 hair-thin metallic needles into the body, either just below the surface or up to several inches deep. The needles are often left in for 15 to 30 minutes. Whether your’re seeking acupuncture for back pain, neck pain, or another type of pain, a chiropractor can explain why it can help. Here’s how you can benefit from acupuncture for pain:
- Stimulates electromagnetic points to start the flow of endorphins. The 2,000 points that acupuncture focuses on are thought to be strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals which cause endorphins to begin flowing.
- Releases opioid peptides. Opioids are natural brain chemicals that have an analgesic effect. Acupuncture releases opioids resulting in reduced pain.
- Alters the secretion of chemicals that sense pain. Acupuncture activates the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, altering the secretion of chemicals that sense pain.
Acupressure treatment is often described as acupuncture without needles. We simply use our fingers, thumbs, and sometimes elbows to put pressure on acupoints, leading to the same pain-relieving effects as acupuncture.
Types of pain treated with acupressure include headaches, fatigue, anxiety, stress, and even some depression. Chiropractors are trained in using acupressure for back pain relief, so be sure to ask us whether or not it’s a good fit for your treatment plan.
Massage therapy is known for its relaxation benefits, but it’s also a wonderful alternative pain management method. There are several reasons it works to use massage for chronic pain relief.
- It releases serotonin, the body’s natural pain-blocking chemical.
- It induces deeper sleep, and people who get better quality, restorative sleep complain less about pain.
- It helps decrease stiffness and increase range of motion in patients with arthritis.
- A relaxed mind leads to a relaxed body, and less intense pain.
Talk to us about beginning a regular schedule of massage therapy for pain. It’s a great alternative to using medications.
During pregnancy, the body goes through many changes to make room for baby and to prepare for delivery. A protruding abdomen results in a change in the back curve, and pelvic changes can cause quite a bit of discomfort. Many women seek the care of a prenatal chiropractor to relieve the pain these changes can cause. Dr. D is a trained pregnancy chiropractor and enjoys helping her patients experience a more comfortable pregnancy.
Here are a few great reasons to use chiropractors for pregnancy:
Establishing Pelvic Balance and Alignment
When the pelvis is misaligned, it can reduce the room available for your growing baby. This is called intrauterine constraint, and it can not only put painful pressure on your pelvis, but also makes it difficult for baby to get into position for a natural delivery. Regular appointments with Dr. D during pregnancy may decrease your chances of needing a c-section due to a breech or posterior presentation. It can also lead to reduced labor and delivery time.
Relieving Back and Neck Pain
One of the hormones that increases during pregnancy is called Relaxin, and its job is to allows ligaments to “relax” and soften so the pelvis can open and accommodate the baby. The bad thing about Relaxin is that it also lets bones move and shift in the wrong direction, often pushing on nerves that exit the spinal canal. Because of this, sciatica and other back and neck pain is common for future mothers. Gentle adjustments from a chiropractor for pregnancy can relieve these symptoms.
Controlling Symptoms of Nausea
When the neck is misaligned as it often is during pregnancy, nerve tissue gets compressed. One of the symptoms of compressed nerves in your neck is nausea. Prenatal chiropractic examinations with Dr. D can help relieve this symptom.
As a sports therapist, Dr. D sees athletes of every age and activity level, as well as those who are striving to live a more active life. Her services range from preventative to rehabilitative, with the goal for each patient to be able to perform sports and activities pain-free.
Chiropractic sports therapy helps to:
- Restore function to spinal and peripheral joints that are not moving properly
- Reduce inflammation
- Relieve pain
- Increase range of motion and flexibility
- Reduce the deconditioning effect of being sidelined
Chiropractic Sports Rehabilitation
Sports injuries lead to weakened muscles in surrounding areas. Dr. D’s sports therapy rehabilitative plans involve specific spinal or other joint adjustments, combined with a program of strengthening, resistance training and exercises to improve muscle tone and coordination. She provides patients with simple exercises they can do at home to improve mobility and speed the recovery process. Conditions she treats include:
- Back and neck injuries
- Knee injuries
- Muscle strains
- Spinal misalignments
- Stress fractures
- Tennis Elbow
How do I start a sports therapy program with Dr. D?
At your initial appointment, Dr. D will take an assessment of how your injury happened or what types of activities you’d like to get back to. She then develops a care plan based on your age and condition. A sports injury treatment plan in Dr. D’s office often includes:
- Spinal manipulations to get the body back in alignment
- Physical therapy in the office
- Recommendations for stretches and exercises at home to speed recovery
- Recommendations for nutritional foods that can aid in the recovery of muscles and joints
- A maintenance plan to keep your body working well
Don’t wait until you’ve been out of commission for months to see a sports therapist. Starting a care plan right away with Dr. D can speed your recovery and get you back to playing your best.
Stretching and Relaxing
Whether you’re a college athlete or someone who sits at a desk all day, your body most likely has areas that can benefit from stretching and relaxing massage. Dr. D is skilled at techniques that relieve tight tissues, muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves by using stretching and massage.
Fascial Stretch Therapy
Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds all of your muscles, and when it becomes tight, your range of motion becomes limited. To stretch the fascia, Dr. D gently pulls then moves the legs, arms, spine, and neck in a smooth motion at various angles to remove pressure between joints, release joint-lubricating fluid, and improve flexibility of muscles. Patients often notice a difference after just a few sessions.
Active Release Technique
Massage with movement is a proven method that chiropractors use to treat overused muscles that have built up scar tissue. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can reduce your range of motion, make you lose strength, and cause pain. If a nerve is trapped you may even feel tingling or numbness.
Active Release Technique (ART) is a movement based massage technique that treats this type of problem. The following are conditions that this stretching massage technique can help:
- Back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Shin splints
- Shoulder pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Knee problems
- Tennis Elbow
There is nothing better than a relaxing massage when we’re stressed or in pain, which is why Dr. D recommends adding massage therapy to your wellness plan. Making time for a weekly or monthly massage is a sure way to give your body and mind the relaxation they deserve. Talk to Dr. D about how to fit massage therapy into your chiropractic treatment plan.
Many people who have learned about the benefits of strength training turn to chiropractors for assistance. Whether you’d like to start a strength training program or it has been part of your fitness routine for years, there’s a very good chance that Dr. D can give you expert advice on what’s best for your body.
Here are just a few ways that chiropractic care can help you enjoy the benefits of strength training:
Keeps Joints and Bones in Alignment
Chiropractic adjustments set joints and bones in alignment for the best position possible. This not only makes movement easier, but assists in decreasing injuries associated with strength training. This is especially important since working out on misaligned muscles can cause long-term wear and damage to the area, and can also reduce the amount of muscle strength you’re able to build since muscles don’t contract properly over misaligned joints.
Reduces Downtime Due to Muscle Soreness
Dr. D can help your body cope with the stress that strength training puts on your muscles. If you’re too sore after your workouts to exercise the next day or even a few days later, you won’t get the regular weekly exercise that leads to the most benefits. You’re also more likely to be discouraged and not stick with your exercise plan if you’re in pain after each workout session. By gently stretching your muscles and ligaments in the office, as well as telling you how to stretch before and after working out, Dr. D can help reduce your down time so you can fully enjoy the benefits of strength training.
Reduces Chronic Pain
If you suffer from joint pain, the thought of “weight-lifting” probably makes you cringe. Luckily, strength training doesn’t require lifting heavy weights, and the truth is that having strong muscles around your joints takes the pressure off of those joints so you can move without so much pain.
Dr. D can give you resistance exercises using your own body weight to build muscle around your joints. She can teach you core-strengthening exercises that will help support your back, as well as exercises that can help other weak areas. Strength training for pain with a chiropractor makes the most sense because she knows what’s best for your body and will never push you beyond your body’s capabilities.
So many people think that stress is a mental problem, but it’s actually something that affects every other system of your body. Some of the effects of stress include heart disease, ulcers, chest pains, insomnia and headaches. Chronic stress causes your adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol, affecting your pancreas and insulin levels, your thyroid gland, and even reproductive hormones. Stress also causes vertebral subluxations, which are interferences to the nervous system due to misalignments in the spine and joint dysfunction.
How to Control Stress
Dealing with life’s stresses on your own can be tough. Chiropractors offer stress relief by giving you lifestyle change recommendations and stress management strategies, and with regular chiropractic adjustments.
How Chiropractic Adjustments Aid in Stress Relief
The spine is the is the root of the nervous system, and that’s where a lot of your stress lies (how many times have you said something is getting on your nerves?). One of the effects of chronic stress is muscle tension and contraction, which can cause uneven pressure on the skeleton and lead to subluxations. Chiropractic adjustments help ease muscle tension, which eases the stress on certain parts of the skeleton and helps ease subluxations, allowing your nervous system to function as it should to handle daily stress.
Ways to Reduce Stress
So many of us don’t take the time to treat ourselves well. We get up in the morning and sit or stand all day, we eat on the go and we don’t get enough sleep. Then we do the same things the next day. The best way to reduce stress is to make time for relaxation and wellness in our lives. Here are a few things that Dr. D likes to see her patients fit into their routines:
- Yoga – Yoga is not only a great form of exercise to increase flexibility and improve mobility, but it also allows you to be more mindful of the way you breathe and move your body. That awareness can be useful for dealing with stress and anxiety throughout each day.
- Laughter – Laughter provides stress relief by releasing feel-good endorphins, and it also stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation. Watch a funny movie or enjoy a night out with friends who make you laugh.
- Exercise – Exercise gives you a rush of endorphins and loosens muscles that are tight due to stress.
- Massage – Massage therapy lowers cortisol levels and reduces muscle pain. Less pain leads to less stress on your mind and body.