Pain is helpful to the body when it serves as an innate alarm system alerting you of injury or the advent of disease. But when the pain has no apparent cause and persists indefinitely, you probably suffer from chronic pain.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one in five Americans suffers from chronic pain. Moreover, chronic pain causes muscle tension and anxiety, aggravating the situation.
Although Pharmaceutical pain management medications are available, they have undesirable side effects, including addiction. However, the five natural, non-invasive pain remedies below can induce relaxation without causing side effects.
CBD or cannabidiol is the primary non-psychoactive cannabis compound, famous for its therapeutic effects, including pain relief. According to one CBD consumer survey, pain relief is CBD’s most popular therapeutic benefit, at 64%.
The cannabinoid is available in multiple consumable forms, including THC gummies and edibles, vapes, topicals, tinctures, aerosols, capsules, softgels, and concentrates. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), an elaborate body signaling system that modulates pain, relaxation, and other body functions.
Cannabinoids like CBD bind to the ECS’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, stimulating them to deliver their therapeutic effects. According to one literature review on CBD and pain, CBD is unique because it has an antagonizing effect on both ECS receptors, despite having a low affinity to either receptor. The cannabinoid’s low affinity for ECS receptors is the reason behind its non-psychoactive property.
Despite CBD’s popularity, the FDA classifies it as a dietary supplement, meaning CBD products remain highly unregulated, and there is no standardized dose for pain. Therefore, start low and go slow until you establish an effective pain relief dose for yourself. CBD may be non-psychoactive, but an overdose can cause undesirable side effects.
CBD is available in multiple consumable forms with varying pain relief delivery speeds, hence suitable for different types of pain. For instance, CBD edibles take maximum time to kick in, but their effect lasts the longest. On the other hand, CBD topicals are ideal for localized pain, and CBD vapes kick in fastest, delivering instant pain relief. Therefore, besides a suitable CBD dose, consider finding a CBD dose that works for you.
Mind and Body Relaxation Techniques
Although stress and anxiety are mental health issues, they harm your physical health. According to one expert review, stress and pain are two sides of the same coin and aggravate each other. Although researchers have yet to fully comprehend the link between stress and pain, one clinical study review concluded that 85% of chronic pain patients are likely to experience severe depression.
Chronic pain creates a somber mood, which makes the patient focus on the pain and the negative impact it has had on his life. However, finding ways to help you relax can shift attention from the pain to more positive elements in their lives.
According to one clinical study review, relaxation techniques relieve pain and have potential as chronic pain intervention therapies. Another study on chronic pain self-management showed that relaxation techniques help ease muscle tension, among the primary muscle pain causes. The study also highlighted that relaxation techniques release endorphins, the body’s innate pain-relieving agents.
Simple relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, hypnotherapy, and meditation can help ease the pain. Different individuals have different responses to each method, so keep experimenting until you find a method that works for you.
Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi (Mind and Body Exercises)
Yoga, qigong, and tai chi are age-old practices that incorporate mental and physical exercises to promote wellness. According to one systematic review on mind-body therapy, the three techniques above registered a positive impact, reducing pain intensity among patients. Moreover, tai chi proved most effective, with a 95% success rate.
The physical movements constituting tai chi, yoga, and qigong help improve musculoskeletal strength, while the metal aspect helps improve mood and nervous system modulatory activity. Yoga, tai chi, and qigong have proven effective in managing back and arthritis-related pain.
Massages are more popular as an indulgent treatment for the wealthy, but massage therapy promotes wellness, including pain relief. According to one systematic review, massage therapy eases pain intensity via the following mechanisms of action.
The massage relaxes the muscles and joints, easing muscle tension, a primary pain cause. Massages also induce mental relaxation, preventing anxiety and mood disorders from aggravating the pain. It also impacts nerve fiber activity, reducing pain signal transmission intensity.
However, note that not all massage types are ideal for pain relief; consult your therapist on the best option to deliver pain relief.
Physical therapy, popularly known as physiotherapy, is a bona fide line of customizable treatment used to reduce pain and even restore function and mobility after an injury or chronic pain diagnosis. Physical therapists apply various physical therapy modalities or therapeutic techniques to reduce pain and inflammation, including massages, exercise, electrical stimulation, cold packs, and more.
Common pain conditions may not be curable, but they are manageable, helping restore your quality of life. The five pain management techniques listed above are effective, non-invasive, and have no undesirable side effects. However, note that pain may be a symptom of an adverse health condition, so ensure you diagnose your pain’s root condition before beginning ancillary pain management therapies.