Patients often use acetaminophen and ibuprofen, among other over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, to relieve pain. Prescription medications like opioids are stronger alternatives to OTCs. While such remedies are effective, long-term use usually comes with numerous side effects and may become addictive. Natural pain relievers provide suitable alternatives for people to explore. Herbs and essential oils form a bulk of such pain management treatments.
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What is Pain?
Your nervous system uses pain as a signal to indicate that something is amiss. Pain can be anything from a mild sting or tinge to a persistent ache in different parts of your body. Overall, you experience enough discomfort to seek help.
You can classify pain as either acute or chronic, depending on its nature. Acute pain often results from an injury or a disease, and it usually goes away after some time. Chronic pain, on the other hand, tends to last longer, resulting in a lingering problem.
Managing Chronic Pain
Diagnosis is always the first step in any treatment program. You’ll need to talk to your doctor about your symptoms before settling on a suitable treatment plan for chronic aches. Prescription medications and OTCs are often the first choices for managing pain.
Topical creams for muscle aches and oral medications for internal pain are the common types of OTC pain relievers. In cases where OTCs fail to manage the pain, doctors may prescribe opioids like morphine, nonopioids like aspirin, or adjuvant analgesics such as antidepressants.
Some medics, however, recommend a combination of treatments. Such combinations may include:
• Psychological counseling
• Physical therapy
These treatment options work differently for different individuals. Managing chronic pain often requires you to find a customized treatment plan to fit your specific needs.
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Side Effects of Medications
Regular use of drugs can cause mild to severe side effects, including:
• Difficulty in breathing
• Constipation or diarrhea
Alternative Pain Management Treatments
Acupuncture – This ancient Chinese healing art has offered relief to many patients for countless years. With this treatment, your doctor inserts tiny needles into specific parts of the skin. Your body, in turn, releases endorphins that block pain messages from reaching your brain. Acupuncture may also involve electrical stimulation or pressure.
With this pain management technique, the physician trains you to consciously affect involuntary body functions like muscle tension and heart rate. Your doctor measures information about different physical characteristics, then use the feedback to enhance your awareness of the processes.
Once you understand how such features relate to pain, you can adjust them when you feel pain. Biofeedback is also an excellent therapy for alleviating stress as it helps patients relax.
Patients often subscribe to massage therapy when looking to relax and relieve stress. This treatment involves stroking, kneading, and rubbing your body’s soft tissues. The relaxation technique decreases muscle tension, which may be the source of your chronic aches. Proper massages often manipulate different body systems, including the nervous, lymphatic, and circulation systems. Massage is especially beneficial for patients with chronic lower back pain.
Chiropractors offer safe pairs of hands for anyone dealing with chronic pain around various joints. These physicians relate the structures of different body parts to their functions. In most instances, chiropractic visits focus on adjustments to realign the body. Proper realignments help to promote self-healing for patients.
4. Relaxation Therapy
Stress can sometimes result in chronic pain as it causes increased muscle tension. Meditation, guided imagery, and yoga help to reduce the adverse effects of stress, and reduce pain symptoms in the process. In this case, you’ll focus your attention on a single item. As you minimize distracting thoughts or feelings, your body gets relief from pain.
Some doctors may suggest that you visit a psychologist if they feel your chronic pain is a mental issue. Counselors will help you develop coping skills for managing pain while empowering you to deal with negative thoughts. The extra emotional support reduces your stress levels, placing you in an excellent position to manage your pain.
Essential plant oils have lovely scents that are ideal for pain management. Your physician may ask you to apply the oils to your skin or inhale in this pain management therapy. Cancer patients and people with rheumatoid arthritis often experience decreased pain symptoms from this therapy.
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How Do I Get Alternative Pain Management Treatments
Besides helping to alleviate chronic aches, alternative pain management treatments have little to no side effects. The likelihood of addiction is also close to zero making these treatment options a win-win situation for patients.
Licensed physicians at Mango Clinic will assess your individual needs to understand your chronic aches. You will explore various treatment options with your physician to find one that will work best for you. Ensure that you know what the process will entail and what to expect with the option you choose.