Did you know that about 50 million people in the United States alone live with chronic pain? If you’re among this percentage, you’re likely looking for effective ways to alleviate your pain and inflammation.
Now, over-the-counter and prescription medications are always an option. However, with the opioid crisis being what it is in the country (over 100 people die every day from opioid abuse), you might be hesitant to go this route.
To preserve your health and safety while treating your pain, it’s better to go with safe alternatives to this type of treatment. And there are more than a few out there to try!
Listed below are 7 excellent natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs, each of which has the potential to be just as helpful as pills, without the risk of addiction and negative side effects.
When you’re in pain and uncomfortable, your gut instinct might be to sit or lie still until it passes. This is a common mistake that will actually exacerbate your pain rather than helping it.
Your body was designed to move. And that movement not only increases blood flow, promoting healing to injured tissues, but also produces feel-good endorphins that aid in pain relief.
There are countless options when it comes to exercise, so don’t feel limited to a traditional gym. You can go for a swim in your neighborhood pool, do a quick yoga session, or walk around the block.
There’s no wrong answer, as long as it gets your heart rate up and your body moving.
2. Hot and Cold Therapy
One of the most basic alternatives to ibuprofen for inflammation is hot and cold therapy. This method is both easy and highly effective; all you have to do is rotate between hot and cold compresses on your joints or muscles.
Heat therapy increases blood flow to muscles and joints and loosens stiff areas, and can be applied through the use of a hot water bottle, heating pad, or a hot bath.
Cold therapy, on the other hand, reduces inflammation and slows nerve impulses, reducing pain signals. Keep in mind that you don’t want to go too cold with your cold therapy. An ice pack wrapped in a cloth, for example, is a great choice.
In addition, don’t hold an ice pack to your skin for longer than 20 minutes at a time to avoid potential negative side effects.
3. Improve Your Sleep
You might be thinking, what does sleep have to do with chronic pain? And the answer is – absolutely everything. Your quality of sleep directly affects how you feel in your day-to-day life, both mentally and physically.
This is because while you’re sleeping, your body goes to work repairing injured tissues and rejuvenating your mind. Without a quality 7-9 hours of sleep per night, you’ll find that your pain worsens and your mental health declines.
You don’t want to get too much sleep, but you do want to give your body the time and energy that it needs to do the repair work it was designed to do while you rest. If you find it difficult to get those 7-9 hours, consider designing a relaxing nighttime routine for yourself or limiting your caffeine consumption to the morning hours.
A fantastic NSAID alternative for arthritis and other conditions that cause chronic pain is acupuncture. During an acupuncture treatment, a trained acupuncturist will stimulate specific points in your body with needles. This will balance the flow of energy in your body, help to balance hormone levels and activate the body’s self-healing mechanism.
If you’re worried about the needles used in acupuncture, don’t be. They’re hair-thin and cause minimal discomfort. In fact, most people who receive acupuncture treatment report feeling no pain at all.
If acupuncture sounds unappealing to you, you might prefer something totally non-invasive, such as aromatherapy. With aromatherapy, all you have to do is use a diffuser to breathe in certain essential oils. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can even put a few drops in the back of your shower and soak up the effects while you bathe.
Essentials oils such as peppermint, rosemary, and lavender, have all been shown to have a profound pain-relieving effect. The only thing to be wary of when it comes to essential oils is allergies and toxicity to dogs and other pets. Do your research and be careful of where you store them in your home.
6. Massage Therapy
Massages aren’t just for relaxation, though that is a major benefit. While you’re relaxing, the blood flow to your joints is improving, your muscles are becoming less tense, and you’re gaining a general feeling of wellness.
There are many types of massage, certain types of which are better for certain types of pain than others. You might have to experiment until you find the one that’s best for you, but a massage therapist or chiropractor should be able to point you in the right direction.
7. Herbal Remedies
Long before the invention of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, there were herbal remedies for pain and other ailments. In fact, various herbs have been used in the treatment of illness and disease for thousands of years.
A few excellent options include capsaicin, a substance derived from chili peppers, tumeric, and ginger, but you can also try hemp products such as CBD and CBG. Take a look at this bulk CBG isolate if you’re interested.
Find Relief From Pain With These Safe Alternatives
These natural remedies aren’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for safe alternatives to NSAIDs and other pain medications, one of them could be your answer.
Keep in mind that it’s always best to keep your doctor in the loop with what you’re doing. If you find that you’re in need of more intensive treatment, it’s helpful if your doctor knows what you’ve already tried.
That said, you might just find that, through using one of these remedies, your pain becomes a thing of the past.
Looking for more ways to improve your health through natural means? Be sure to check out our blog!