Managing pain is notoriously difficult, especially in the long-term. While many causes of acute pain can be easily treated, long-term pain represents a much more difficult problem. Traditionally, we have combated pain using opioid painkillers, but these are now ravaging communities across the United States. As a result, many people are now looking for alternative ways of managing their pain. Below are just 5 options that many people have found to be effective at controlling their pain.
Cold and Heat
Applying either hot or cold presses to an injury is a tried and tested method of reducing pain, and one that humans have used throughout their history. This is a good technique to use to reduce pain immediately following an injury, but some people also find it can be helpful with long-term pain.
For example, a warm water bottle is effective at reducing the pain from period cramps for many women, and can also be an effective way of alleviating chronic muscle pains and aches. You can improvise hot and cold presses easily enough when they are needed. By simply taking a bag of peas or something out of your freezer and wrapping it in a cloth, you have a cold press ready to go. Note that you should never put anything that you have taken out of the freezer directly against your skin, as this can cause injuries itself.
Exercise and Physical Therapy
For some types of pain and injury, physical therapy is not an option. However, while it might initially seem counterintuitive to use exercise to heal physical wounds, physical therapy is one of the most effective ways of helping the body to heal after an injury.
When we stop using certain muscles, as is common after suffering an injury, they gradually begin to atrophy and weaken. Physical therapy enables you to keep using and strengthening your body, while still giving it the time it needs to heal.
For most forms of long-term pain, physical therapy is one of the best treatment options out there and is also one of the most reliable. There are few better techniques that will enable patients to manage their pain in the long term without having to worry about potential side effects, as is the case with pharmaceuticals.
Mindfulness refers to a number of techniques that are designed to improve the connection between mind and body. In doing so, mindfulness can enable practitioners to significantly reduce feelings of pain and to reduce the psychological and physical impact that it has on their lives.
Mindfulness offers numerous other benefits that are worth exploring. For example, mindfulness has been shown to be an effective means of treating anxiety and depression by giving practitioners more control and making them less susceptible to the impact of negative thinking. This is something that many chronic pain patients can also benefit from.
Yoga and Tai Chi
We mentioned the potential benefits of physical therapy earlier, and both tai chi and yoga are popular forms of physical activity that have been shown to reduce pain and improve mind and body connections. Much like practitioners of mindfulness, those who practice yoga often find that they are able to better control their pain than other people and are less likely to find it psychologically or physically debilitating.
Both yoga and tai chi are relatively gentle types of exercise that are perfectly suited for those who are unable to undertake anything too strenuous.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence showing that yoga and tai chi can be used to help to not only control different types of pain but also to help improve breath control and alleviate conditions like arthritis.
Acupuncture has long been touted as a potential treatment for a number of different conditions, with varying degrees of success. Acupuncture for pain is nothing new, but our understanding of it is getting better by the year. There are now acupuncture clinics all over the United States providing acupuncture treatment to chronic pain patients. One example can be seen at clinicforpainandanxiety.com which is a Beverly Hills based acupuncture clinic that specializes in offering treatments like this to help manage pain. They have listed everything it can help treat on their website which you can check if you’re suffering from physical or mental pain.
With the opioid epidemic showing no signs of slowing, many chronic pain patients are now looking for alternatives to the pharmaceuticals that they have previously relied on. For these patients, acupuncture represents a potential treatment that does not carry any of the same risks.
Managing pain in the long term can be a difficult undertaking, and has long presented a challenge to the medical establishment. While we have pharmaceutical treatments that are very effective at stopping pain, these come with significant side-effects such as their addictive potential. The techniques above represent just some of the potential alternatives that exist. If you are someone who must deal with long-term pain, finding effective coping strategies can have a significant impact on your quality of life.