There’s the kind of instantaneous pain you get from whacking your head on something, or scraping your knee. Then there’s the kind of pain that lingers, the chronic pain that never relents, and which you never get used to. This latter kind of pain can’t be waved away with a couple aspirin or an ice pack. You need remedies that address the pain head-on.
While you can certainly find those remedies in the pharmacy, people are justifiably wary of over-medicating. Many people want natural alternatives to managing their pain – whether as the sole mode of pain relief, or as a supplement to their primary treatment.
Here, let’s look at three of the most popular pain relief alternatives currently available, each of which comes with a seal of approval from numerous medical professionals.
Cannabis’ newfound legality in Canada and parts of the US has meant that many more people – medical professionals included – are taking it seriously as a viable pain relief option. Cannabis has been shown to help manage nerve pain, as well as some secondary symptoms of chronic pain, like nausea and appetite loss.
For those concerned about smoking or getting “high”, you don’t have much to worry about: a harmonious CBD herb cookie has the same pain relief benefits without the carcinogenic smoke or psychoactive high.
In this comprehensive study, titled “Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory”, researchers found that fish oil can be as effective as ibuprofen in reducing pain caused by arthritis, as well as back pain. It’s also a safer alternative, the study concluded.
And fish oil is no one trick pony either: it has been linked to lower risk of heart disease, eye health, healthy skin, and a range of other good things. You can take fish oil as a supplement, or, if you’re a gourmand who prefers doing things the old fashioned way, just try incorporating more fish high in omega-3s in your diet, like mackerel, salmon and herring.
Exercise, Yoga & Meditation
This is a three-for-one: yoga, meditation and exercise. But really, any one – or combination – of the three will be effective in mitigating pain. Depending on the type of pain, you will want to consult a doctor before you try any exercise or yoga class to ensure that it’s right for you. But, in general, low impact exercise can be very beneficial to those suffering chronic pain.
As for meditation, its effects on pain work circuitously, starting with the brain. This Psychology Today article talks about how mindfulness and meditation can reduce chronic pain by 90%, a stat corroborated by brain scans. Meditation eases and quiets the brain’s circuitry responsible for amplifying secondary pain. Not only that, but you may find yourself a more grounded person as a consequence!
Pharmacies and over-the-counter drugs certainly have their place in primary treatment, but if you are looking for alternatives to help with your pain relief, try one of the above three options. A 15-minute meditation session, a fish dinner and a relaxing cannabis tea – nature’s pain relievers!