Chronic pain can be debilitating and life-limiting. Whether you suffer from arthritis, endometriosis, neuropathy, or fibromyalgia, experiencing pain around the clock can prevent you from being productive at work, spend intimate moments with your loved one, or enjoy the pleasures of everyday life. Given the profound effect that chronic pain can have on life, it isn’t surprising that many people resort to taking medications daily, from painkilling drugs to NSAIDs and even opioids.
Fortunately, there are other, just as effective ways of managing your pain that don’t involve taking medications. Because of this, you can prevent dangerous side effects and introduce a sustainable pain management regime that, in the long term, will improve your overall health.
Osteopathic care is a holistic approach that sees your body as an integrated whole and focuses on its overall health. While it does improve the symptoms you are experiencing, the goal of osteopathic care is to promote overall health and re-establish balance between the different systems of the body. Specialists in osteopathic care such as the team at ostco.co.uk use manipulation, gentle stretching, and mild pressure to address the cause of your chronic pain.
Herbs have been used throughout history for the treatment of a wide range of conditions, not excluding persistent pain. Even today, you may be used to herbs without even realising! Think for example, of how chamomile can help you sleep and lemon balm is great for relaxation! Similarly, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, lavender, and peppermint are just some of the herbs that can help alleviate your pain.
Meditation and breathing exercises can help you feel more relaxed and ease muscle tension. In turn, this can relieve the pressure on nerves and joints, which are often the source of chronic pain. Meditation has also been seen to have positive effects on mental and cognitive health. If you suffer from chronic pain, this is an important notion to keep in mind: your mental health is directly linked to your pain severity. If you tend to have depressive episodes and anxiety, you are more likely to experience a higher level of pain and other degenerative chronic diseases. On the other hand, looking after your mental health allows you to lower your pain perception and, in turn, the impact it has on your life.
Acupuncture has been used for millennia in traditional Chinese medicine. Initially, the positive effects of acupuncture were attributed to the ability of the needles to unlock and restore the natural flow of the chi – our “life force”. Today, we know that acupuncture can promote the circulation of healing blood and oxygen, relax the muscles around the inflamed area, and trigger the body into releasing “feel-good” hormones like endorphins. It also enhances endogenous opiates, which decreases pain perception and offers a sense of well-being.
A balanced diet rich in fruit, vegetable, nuts, seeds, and legumes has been seen to help lower the levels of inflammation in the body and promote an anti-oxidative effect that protects the cells from the damage caused by oxidative stress. A balanced diet also helps build a healthy gut microbiome, which influences several aspects of our overall health, from our immune response to the health of our gastrointestinal system.
Last but not least, remember that regular exercise can strengthen your bones, muscles, and joints, which can alleviate the pressure on nerves and on the musculoskeletal system as a whole, thus relieving pain. Not an avid gym goer? No problem! Activities like yoga, walking, and swimming can offer just as extraordinary benefits on health!