Pain is inevitable. Avoiding it is impossible, but you can learn to manage it.
You can reach for an over the counter pain reliever, or if you have significant or chronic pain you can inquire about a prescription from your doctor. But either of these solutions come with side effects that are sometimes quite profound. Fear not – there are a lot of strategies you can employ to manage your pain naturally.
Manage pain with your mind
Meditation and hypnosis use the power of your mind to change the function of your body. Among doubters, many believe these tactics work merely through the ‘placebo effect’ - where there is no real therapeutic effect, just the belief that there is. And because of this belief the subject perceives relief when in reality there is none. However, this ‘power of belief’ actually triggers a very real chemical change in your brain, which in turn causes very real therapeutic pain relief by activating your body’s pain relief systems.
Manage pain with your body
You can also use your body – the very source of your pain – in concert with your mind to manage pain. Yoga, and Tai Chi incorporate specific body movements to relieve muscle tension, reduce stress, and improve mood. In fact Yoga and Tai Chi have been shown to aid in the relief of back pain, arthritis, migraines and even Fibromyalgia. The combination of the focus on breathing while performing the poses or slowing your movements engages both the mind and the muscles to bring very real relief from pain.
Get help managing your pain
Who doesn’t love a relaxing massage? When done well a massage can relieve muscle tension, improve lymphatic flow and increase endorphin and serotonin levels – the feel-good hormones. Similarly, needles inserted by a certified acupuncturist can relieve pain, tension, ease anxiety and even aid in smoking cessation. A recent study published in Nature Neuroscience has shown that acupuncture affects the activity of adenosine in areas around the acupuncture site, which relieves pain. The exact mechanism of how acupuncture works is still unknown – but when you’re feeling better does that really matter?
Whether on your own or with someone else’s assistance, your body and your mind are invaluable resources to increase the levels of your own natural pain killers, natural mood enhancers, and lower the levels of your stress hormones – restoring your natural balance!