Chronic pain is debilitating and frustrating in a sea of modern medicine that seldom offers real relief or end to suffering. But these natural methods might be exactly the miracle you need!
What is Chronic Pain?
As defined by the National Institute of Health (NIH), chronic pain is “any pain lasting more than twelve weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists—often for months or even longer.”
Affecting more than 100 million in the US alone (one out of ten Americans), the impact and toll of chronic pain on both the individual and the nation has reached alarming rates. Not only does chronic pain significantly decrease the quality of an individual’s life and overall wellbeing, it also severely affects the American workforce along with adding to the ever rising economic toll of medical related expenditures.
Unfortunately, mainstream medicine offers few solutions that address the root of the problem or extends any hope that healing can occur. Those who suffer chronic pain know the frustration of feeling lost in a medical system which merely offers a Band-Aid of pain medicines or prodding injections for a multifaceted condition, offering no real way of escape or triumph for the countless who suffer.
With so many medical advances in the last century, one has to wonder, where have we gone wrong in addressing pain?
Back to the Basics
In order to look at the problem of, and solution for, chronic pain through a more holistic lens, let’s step back and identify what we know to be true about the body as a whole. First of all, the body is constantly fighting to maintain homeostasis. This includes the pH in the blood, the nerve impulses of the muscles, the temperature of the body, and so on. Whenever there is a threat to homeostasis, there is a response. Let’s take the case of an injury for example: soft tissue undergoes some sort of damage, the central nervous system senses something is amiss, and, in response to the negative stimuli, the immune system triggers an inflammatory response so the healing process can begin.
Normally, inflammation is a normal part of a healthy functioning body, however, sometimes things go wrong and the inflammation persists long after the original injury has healed.
This is one of the possible explanations for why chronic pain occurs. Much is still yet to be researched and discovered in the etymology of chronic pain, but for our purposes, let’s focus on the big key to most all disease present in our day and age: inflammation.
What Contributes to Inflammation and What Measures Can We Take to Stop it?
Unfortunately, we live in a society inundated by toxins from every angle. Whether they are in the environment, in our household cleaning products, in our makeup, or on our food, it can be overwhelming! But the good news is, there is plenty we can do to fight back and keep our bodies functioning as they should.
Fortunately, our bodies were designed to continually detect and eliminate toxic and harmful matte. When given the right tools and help, our bodies do a mighty fine job of keeping things clean and in proper working order.
Although it may seem counterintuitive to think that keeping the bowels moving and lymph system circulating will have any impact on whether or not we experience back pain, the proper function of these systems can have a surprisingly positive effect.
By keeping the elimination pathways open, our circulation pumping, and the lymph moving, we bolster the immune system and decrease the burden it might have in keeping inflammatory invaders at bay and responding to inflammation as a whole.
Today and tomorrow, we will see some of the top inflammation fighters proven to be effective in treating chronic pain related symptoms:
For Muscle and Joint Pain:
Curcumin: There is plenty of scientific evidence and research these days showing the efficacy of using this plant chemical often derived from turmeric root, to positively treat a host of inflammatory conditions. Chronic pain is no exception. Start slow and work up to 100 mg twice per day, or as needed or tolerated.
Boswellia: Said to be more effective than NSAIDS at relieving joint pain, this frankincense derived resin provides relief without the side effects. Often available in tablet form or in muscle or joint formulas.
Epsom salt baths: Soothe achy muscles and joints with a warm soak in this magnesium rich indulgence. Fill up a tub with desired water temperature, add any desired essential oils (rosemary and lavender pair essentially well), and reap the benefits to your body. Just make sure you adequately hydrate before and after.
Especially relaxing right before bedtime.
Topical creams: There are many topical products for targeting joint and muscle pain on the market today. Popular brands contain compounds and natural ingredients such as arnica, comfrey, calendula, camphor, cayenne, Hemp oil, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, just to name a few. Look for ones either cooling or warming in nature according to what works best for your condition.
Essential oils: Dilute the recommended amount in coconut, almond, or other desired oil or use a few drops in a warm bath. Rosemary, lavender, black spruce, marjoram, and peppermint are especially beneficial for targeting musculoskeletal pain.
Be sure to come back tomorrow to check out part two!
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