According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately one in four Americans have suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours. Chronic pain typically goes on for over twelve weeks and can lead to other health complications if left unmitigated. While taking medication may help alleviate pain for a short period, there are other natural remedies that can offer more than just quick relief. Here are five natural ways to reduce chronic pain at home.
1. Maintain An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
An anti-inflammatory diet is an integrative, long-term approach to pain management. Some foods that can reduce the risk of inflammation-related diseases include vegetables, organic fruits, low-glycemic carbs, healthy fats and oils, and lean proteins.
2. Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep
Going without enough sleep has been proven to lower your threshold for pain. Therefore, getting enough sleep (at least eight hours) is a crucial step in managing pain and promoting healing. To improve sleep hygiene and get a better night’s rest, make your bedroom a peaceful haven, avoid using your electronic devices before bedtime, and establish a consistent sleep schedule. For example, try waking up and going to bed at the same time throughout the week to help your body adjust to your sleep-wake cycle.
Exercise may be the last thing you want to do when you’re experiencing chronic pain, but if you don’t exercise, the pain could increase. New research has shown that practicing yoga can actually relieve chronic pain. Not only does yoga aid in body healing, but it also helps relax your muscles and allows blood and energy to flow freely throughout your body. If you’re in too much pain to participate in yoga, work on gentle stretches that can help maintain your mobility and range of motion. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist about stretches and exercises that are appropriate for your situation.
4. Create a Peaceful Environment for Meditation
Creating a peaceful environment can lead to more meditation and mindfulness, which play an active role in reducing chronic pain. To ensure you have a peaceful environment to meditate in, make sure your surrounding stimuli is limited: repair faulty appliances that produce loud noises, lower light levels, get rid of clutter, and make sure to remove any other distractions that could disrupt your thoughts.
5. Hot and Cold Compresses
Applying heat to painful joints can cause pain to go away by increasing blood flow to the site and suppressing pain signals to the brain. You can use a heat wrap or electric heating pad to deliver heat to targeted pain points. If your joints are inflamed, ice can help reduce inflammation and make any swelling go down. It slows nerve impulses, which can interrupt pain signals and lower the amount of pain you’re in.