Posted on

5 Natural Pain Solutions Backed by Science

What a pain! Whether you have arthritis, tendinitis, muscle pain (e.g. fibromyalgia), or chronic nerve pain (neuropathy), pain can put a major damper on your quality of life. Sadly, contemporary medical practices in the United States have led to an opiod crisis that leaves people hooked on drugs that don’t really solve the underlying causes of chronic pain (1). 

Thankfully, there are alternative pain solutions that are backed by scientific evidence – many of which require very little effort on your part while being highly affordable. 

Evidence-Based Natural Pain Solutions 

The simplicity and practicality of these natural pain solutions is what makes them so appealing. No need for multiple doctor visits just to be left empty-handed (or with a prescription for an addictive substance). If you’re in need of a alternative pain remedy, science suggests these are worth a shot: 

Roll Out the Pain

The majority of the muscle aches and soreness are the result of ‘knotting’ in muscle tissue and surrounding fascia. If you can’t afford massage therapy, using a foam roller is the next best option for loosening these painful knots (i.e. it’s a type of myofascial release). Clinical evidence suggests that regular foam rolling can significantly reduce muscular soreness/tightness and expedite the recovery process (2). 

Distract Your Brain with Relaxing Music

Research shows that slow-tempo music helps reduce heart rate and blood pressure, essentially the opposite of what happens in response to chronic pain (3). Since the brain is ultimately the center of pain perception, it only makes sense that calming the mind with some relaxing music will help ease painful sensations.

CBD for Pain

Given that CBD is a well-known “stimulator” of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), it’s no surprise that many studies have found it to be a useful natural pain remedy (4). As time evolves, it’s very likely that CBD will continue to garner interest from holistic and alternative healthcare practitioners as a means of managing chronic pain. 

And thanks to its exceptional safety profile, many people find topical CBD cream to be a nothing-to-lose-everything-to-gain remedy for localized pain. Other users suggest that CBD oil tends to be a better fit for systemic pain

If pain is taking over your life, it’s undoubtedly worth a shot to try either form of CBD. 

Cut Out Pro-Inflammatory Foods

When you regularly eat foods that induce a low-grade inflammatory response, the integrity of the gut wall is eroded (5). Consequently, any inflammatory pain you may be experiencing will only become more intense. 

According to the present scientific body of evidence, the major dietary culprits of low-grade inflammation include (6):

  • Added sugars 
  • Fatty dairy products (e.g. whole milk)
  • Refined flour (e.g. processed bread, crackers, chips, etc.)
  • Vegetable oils (particularly soybean and corn oil)
  • Grain-fed and processed meat products

It’s crucial to eliminate – or at least greatly reduce – your consumption of these pro-inflammatory foods when trying to manage chronic pain. 

Practice Yoga for Pain Management

A recent meta-analysis concluded that there is strong evidence that even short-term yoga can significantly improve quality of life and reduce pain in individuals with pain-associated disabilities, such as chronic back pain and rheumatoid arthritis (7). Given the abundance of yoga studios these days, there’s no reason to not give it a shot and see if it helps. 

Get Back to Pain-Free Living!

Pain doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you love most. Many people have found solutions to their chronic pain without the need for harsh drugs. By trying the alternative pain solutions mentioned above, you’re bound to see some improvement in your quality of life.

Posted on

Everything Hurts: Chronic Pain Relief Strategies

Chronic pain afflicts millions of people across the globe. For many, living in agony becomes the new “normal”, which can have drastic ramifications on well-being. Conventional medicine tells us that the only “solution” for chronic pain relief is prescription drugs. As you likely know, this has led to an epidemic of opiate abuse

The good news is there are natural chronic pain relief strategies you can try without having to worry about side effects, addiction, or safety concerns. 

Is There a Cure for Chronic Pain?

The tricky thing about treating chronic pain is that it’s not always possible to target the underlying cause, particularly if it’s an incurable condition like fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis. Thus, pain management may fall under the scope of palliative care. 

However, this should not discourage you from trying natural pain relief strategies, as there are plenty of people who lead largely pain-free lives even with preexisting conditions. 

In other cases, chronic pain may be curable. For example, rheumatoid arthritis can cause persistent joint pain, but it’s treatable to the point that it goes into remission

As with any medical condition, you should always consult with a licensed healthcare practitioner if you’re experiencing chronic pain, especially if you’re not sure what’s causing it. 

With that in mind, here are some natural pain relief strategies you can implement into your lifestyle for managing chronic pain.

Try Massage Therapy

When your pain is of musculoskeletal nature, such as tendinitis and myalgia (muscle pain), a massage can work wonders. Regular massage work is well-known to promote blood flow and enhance nutrient delivery to sore regions of the body, thereby facilitating recovery and curbing localized pain signals. 

Work with a Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy is a vital component to recovering your mobility and pain-free independence. Using a holistic approach, physiotherapists may prescribe a range of strengthening exercises, remedial massage, therapy for specific conditions, support garments, and other pain-relieving strategies. In addition, a well-trained physiotherapist will have a unique insight into inflammatory conditions that might be giving you chronic pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis. 

And don’t worry if you are in too much pain to leave the house, many physiotherapists offer video prescriptions that teach you custom-tailored rehabilitative exercises that are easily accessible on a smartphone. 

CBD for Chronic Pain

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is constantly working to keep your internal environment stable, especially when faced with stress. (Note that pain is a form of stress.) In order to accomplish this, the appropriate body systems need to be able to communicate with one another.

The endocannabinoid system is like the maestro of your body’s systemic orchestra. It coordinates and transmits the necessary signals between all 12 body systems so that you can get back to “baseline” (homeostasis). 

For example, if you experience a painful injury such as a broken tibia, the body produces endogenous cannabinoids that attach to receptors of the ECS and attenuate the secretion of chemical activators from tissues surrounding the site of injury.  In turn, the neurons near the broken tibia are prevented from firing excessively, thereby abating pain signals to the brain. 

Subsequently, the ECS stimulates proximal immune cells to release inflammatory signaling molecules that help start the recovery process and clear out damaged cells/tissues. 

This is just one example illustrating how the endocannabinoid system integrates communication between multiple body systems (e.g. skeletal, nervous, and immune) to initiate the healing process and restore homeostasis. 

Given that CBD is a well-known “stimulator” of the ECS, it’s no surprise that many studies have found it to be a useful natural pain remedy. As time evolves, it’s very likely that CBD will continue to garner interest from holistic and alternative healthcare practitioners as a means of managing chronic pain. 

Posted on

5 Natural Ways to Relieve Anxiety Quickly

At its core, anxiety is a culmination of stressful apprehensions we have about what lies ahead. In other words, people who tend to be anxious are typically living in the future instead of the present moment. This might make anxiety sound like a wholly negative form of tension, but anxiety isn’t inherently “bad” or “unhealthy.”

Everyone gets the heebee jeebees from time to time, and that’s a good thing! Anxiety is the brain’s way of telling us that something feels “off” or that we should be fearful of what looms around the corner. As you can imagine, this can be a lifesaver in certain circumstances.

The Trouble with Anxiety

What’s especially troubling about anxiety is that there is a well-understood biochemical basis to it, yet the solution is often not just as simple as popping a pill. Medication does help in some cases, but there’s more to the puzzle when it comes to relieving anxiety. 

So, what exactly is anxiety? Why is it becoming such a common mental health issue as of late? 

Well, let’s first make it clear that anxiety is a part of life. In many ways, anxiety is how you know you’re alive. Just imagine looking out the window during a thunderstorm and seeing a roaring tornado heading straight for your house; it wouldn’t be very wise to just stand in place without any apprehension, would it? Chances are your brain would be telling you “Get to the basement and take shelter!” This fight-or-flight response is a life-saving form of stress that can be classified as acute anxiety. 

  • Loss of appetite & unexpected weight loss
  • Panic attacks
  • Tachycardia
  • Tension headaches
  • Insomnia/poor sleep
  • Inability to focus or concentrate

Relieve Anxiety Quickly & Naturally

Make no mistake that managing anxiety is an ongoing process that requires diligent effort on your part. Nobody can “cure” it for you, unfortunately. However, this is one of the most liberating things about anxiety: You have the power to stop those unwanted thoughts!  Here a handful of strategies you can try for relieving anxiety quickly. 

Start the Day with a Healthy Meal

Food is medicine for the body, so nourishing yourself properly is crucial for stopping anxiety in its tracks. Likewise, skipping breakfast and starving yourself throughout the day is one of the worst things to do when you’re trying to fight anxiety since nutrient deprivation is a form of stress

Make time in the morning to eat a solid breakfast containing a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, such as an egg omelet with a side of fruit. If you don’t have time to eat breakfast because of your schedule, make a homemade smoothie or buy meal replacement bars that you can take on your morning commute. 

Hit the Gym (Get some Exercise)

Arguably one of the most effective ways to “let off some steam” and put the kibosh on anxiety is to go to the gym and get a workout in. If you’re not a fan of the gym, then even some light physical activity, like going for a walk or bike ride outside, will help take your mind off whatever is bothering you. Best of all, keeping physically fit sets the foundation for beating anxiety in the long run

If you don’t do much physical activity at this point, start small with a simple 30-minute walk during the day. From there, you can gradually increase the intensity/duration of exercise and try different workouts. 

Take a Deep Breath 

Deep breathing seems so simple that people presume it just can’t be an effective way to relieve anxiety quickly. Well, guess what? It’s been shown in several studies to reduce anxiety and calm patients down when they are feeling apprehensive. By breathing deeply, through your belly and nose rather than your mouth, blood oxygen levels and pH rise; in turn, this calms the adrenal glands and nervous system, which lessens those pesky anxious feelings you may have. 

Cut Back on Caffeine/Stimulants

Many adults have a morning routine that revolves around coffee. Coffee is also the go-to beverage of choice when the dreaded “mid-afternoon slump” hits. While coffee/caffeine in moderation may be beneficial for mood and motivation, it’s stimulatory actions throughout the nervous system aren’t without consequences. 

In fact, part of the reason caffeine makes us feel so “amped up” is because it increases cortisol and adrenaline production, which consequently elevates heart rate and blood pressure. In addition, consuming too much caffeine and/or other stimulants is well-known to intensify the symptoms of anxiety.

For managing anxiety, it’s recommended to limit caffeine intake (i.e. 100-200 mg or less per day). This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t drink coffee/tea or other caffeinated beverages. A cup of coffee in the morning is fine for most people. Drinking the whole pot, on the other hand, will probably make your anxiety worse. 

Laugh it off

A great way to reduce anxiety is to “distract” your mind with positive thoughts or things that make you laugh and smile. This may mean reading a satirical book, listening to a humorous podcast, or watching an upbeat sitcom on Netflix – whatever gets a rise out of you! After all, laughter truly is the best medicine according to Rapid Anxiety Reduction (RAR) theory.

Wrap-Up

Anxiety is an intrinsic part of life and nothing to be ashamed of. Frankly, it would be inhuman to never feel anxious about anything. However, when anxiety starts to disrupt your quality of life and interfere with your productivity, it’s time to take action. Using the strategies described above can help relieve anxiety quickly and get your mind back to a state of calmness. 

Give them a shot and see how you feel – you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by at least trying!