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A Guide to Drug-Free Pain Relief

Pain- it’s a fact of life. It can strike at anytime and anywhere on the body, sometimes it’s a short, sharp burst that is gone within a couple of minutes, but it can also last for days, week or even years. There is little that can be done to stop pain ever occurring but there is a lot we can do to manage it so that your quality of life doesn’t have to suffer.

If you get a sore back or an aching knee your first thought is probably to take some sort of pain killer, you can pick up at most shops. This is fine for short term problems but if you are having to constantly to take medication over an extended period of time then problems can begin to occur.

Painkillers only deal with the pain and don’t actually do anything to address the source of the pain the you can need to take painkillers for a very long time. Sustained usage leads to reliance, reliance leads to addiction and that’s when the serious problems happen. Mild symptoms include nausea, headaches, and constipation. More serious side effects include seizures and an increased chance of cardiovascular disease. The longer painkillers are used for the less effective they become meaning your dose has to increase in order to get the same results, then increasing the risk of all the side effects mentioned above. It’s a viscous cycle that can be easy to get into but difficult to get out of.

Below we will take a look at the different options that can address your pain long term and help address the source of your pain without any of the dangerous and potentially life-threatening side effects.

TENS Machines for Pain Relief

TENS machines provide an efficient, drug-free way to ease pain. They are designed to work in two ways dependant on the severity of the pain and discomfort you are in;

You can use a TENS machine on a low frequency to treat less intense pain. This works by encouraging the production of the endorphin hormone which is your body's natural pain killer. These low frequency treatments are ideal for light pain management - chronic neck pain, back pain and even period pain.

You can then use a TENS machine on a high frequency to ease more severe pain. This works by stimulating your sensory nerve endings which, as the name suggests, are responsible for how something feels to you - rough, smooth, or painful. This stimulation blocks the pain signals from these nerves to the brain, so your sensation of pain is significantly reduced. These high frequency treatments are often used for sports injuries and in labour TENS machines. Because TENS is just stimulating your bodies natural processes there are zero negative side-effects.

Massagers for Pain Relief

We all know the relaxing benefits of a massage, but they have more powerful health benefits to you. Next time you have a sore neck or back choose a massager to relieve the pain. Massaging tight and aching muscles increases the blood flow and circulation to that area. Increasing the amount of blood that goes to the muscle also increases nutrients and oxygen, this helps to relive pain and also encourages recovery and repair of the damaged tissue. There are numerous types of massager available from tapping to shiatsu, they all give a different sensation, but all have the same sort of results. Some massagers even include infrared and heat technology for more effective results.

 

Heat and Cold Therapy for Pain Relief

Heat and cold therapy are often recommended to help relieve an aching pain that results from muscle or joint damage.

Cold therapy reduces blood flow to a painful area. This slows the rate of inflammation and reduces the risk of swelling and tissue damage. It also numbs sore tissues, acting as a local anaesthetic as it slows down the pain messages being transmitted to the brain. Ice is best to help treat a swollen and inflamed joint or muscle within 48 hours of an injury.

Applying heat to a painful and injured area will dilate (widen) the blood vessels, promote blood flow, and help sore and tightened muscles relax. Improved circulation can help eliminate the build-up of lactic acid waste occurs after some types of exercise. Heat is also psychologically reassuring, which can enhance its pain-relieving properties. Heat therapy is usually more effective than cold at treating chronic muscle pain or sore joints caused by arthritis.

Pain Relief Creams & Sprays

Sometimes you just need something that is quick and convenient to use wherever you are, this is when reaching for the pills would be the easiest, instead you could go for a cream or spray that uses natural ingredients that reduce pain without the bad side effects. Keep a bottle at your desk or in your gym bag for a bit of instant relief when you need it.

Another benefit of all the treatments above is that they can all be used direct at the source of the pain e.g. direct onto your lower back or knee.

Just because you suffer from pain, either short or long term, it doesn’t mean a life sentence of medication. Using other treatments, you can still address the pain without any of the potentially dangerous side effects.

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