Pain is a growing problem in the U.S. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found that over 10% of U.S. adults deal with chronic pain. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that 15% of American workers experience long-term pain. In a 2011 survey, researchers discovered that a third of Americans reported having pain often or very often, which was the highest of all the countries surveyed.
It’s no coincidence that as cases of opiate painkiller use have also increased in recent years. In fact, there’s evidence that opiate painkillers can increase chronic pain because they heighten a person’s perception of pain and make them more sensitive to it. But that is far from the only problem associated with the use of painkillers.
Like other rehab facilities around the country, the experts at Reflections Recovery Center have helped many people who fell victim to an addiction after taking pain medications that were prescribed. For years, drug manufacturers downplayed how addictive opiate painkillers can be, especially if they aren’t used exactly as prescribed. It’s a major contributing factor to the opioid addiction crisis we now face in this country.
If you’re among the millions of people who struggle to manage pain on a regular basis you don’t have to resort to painkillers. There are a number of effective and safe ways to alleviate without a prescription.
People sit more today than ever before. All that sitting causes the muscles to get tight and constrict, which can cause pain. Simply stretching for 10 minutes a day can make a real difference. If you sit at a desk at work set an alarm to remind you to get up and stretch for a minute or two every hour.
#2. Correct Improper Posture
Back pain is extremely common. No matter why it occurs, proper posture is one of the easiest ways to alleviate back pain. When you are slouched or slumped it puts stress on the back. Sitting and standing straight relieves the stress leasing
#3. Lose Weight
Obesity is one of the reasons America has the highest level of pain in the world. Excess pounds put stress on joints, bones, and muscles. Losing weight will reduce that stress while reducing your risk of a number of diseases. Dropping weight also makes it easier to exercise, which can also help you manage pain.
#4. Meditate Daily
Stress and depression have psychological effects that can amplify pain. Doctors note that pathways in the brain that process pain also processes depression and anxiety. There are many ways to alleviate stress, but meditation is among the more effective strategies that are free and can be done virtually anywhere. Another benefit is that meditation can calm the mind in as little as five minutes a day.
Doctors aren’t quite sure how acupuncture works, but studies have shown that it can relieve pain. People that fear needles may shy away from acupuncture, but it’s far from getting a vaccination or blood draw. The acupuncturist uses extremely fine needles that can’t be felt and inserts them into the body at specific acupoints depending on where the pain is felt. It’s believed that the needles stimulate anatomic points to encourage self-healing.
Most people will agree massage is the most pleasing way to relieve pain. Massage therapists have a thorough understanding of the musculoskeletal system. They can reduce pressure and strains by kneading the muscles. Sports massage is commonly used to improve pain, but relaxing Swedish massage can alleviate stress and muscle tension. There are also techniques that can be used to improve headache intensity and frequency.
#7. Physical Therapy
Those who have suffered an injury are at a higher risk of experiencing pain. Often physical therapy is needed to ensure you heal properly and reduce the possibility of pain. The physical therapist can work with you one-on-one during appointments and suggest exercises to do at home to continue the process. It’s important to follow the therapist’s instructions precisely and continue through with the program all the way to the end.
If you’re experiencing pain it’s important to consult with a doctor. They can do a thorough physical to assess your pain and overall health. Express your concerns and ask what they suggest for pain relief without using prescription medications.
About The Author:
Jan Vespremi is an alternative health writer based out of San Diego, Calif. When she’s not writing, you can find her practicing yoga, hiking and cuddling with her pup.