In this day and age, it is very common for people to pop a painkiller when they get a headache, back pain, toothache, or experience other types of discomfort. As well, after surgeries, accidents, illnesses and other issues, many people are prescribed strong medications to help them cope with their pain.
The issue with the world’s current reliance on drug relief, and the ease with which strong painkillers can typically be purchased, is that, for many people, the powerful drugs can end up being incredibly addictive. Strong medications, particularly opioids, can lead to serious illnesses and even death (through overdoses and complications), not to mention have a hugely negative impact on people’s lives.
Scarily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that deaths from prescription painkillers have more than quadrupled since 1999, and that more than 90 people die in American every day from an overdose of opioids. The driving factor in the increase in opioid overdose deaths, and the addiction epidemic, stems from prescription medications, according to the CDC. In particular, drugs such as oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone are often involved.
However, it is wise to do what you can to avoid harm in the first place. If you’re keen to find some more natural ways to combat pain, particularly of the chronic variety, read on for some top tips you can follow today.
While it is important to rest your body regularly, keep in mind that you don’t want to give up on movement all together. It is vital to keep stretching and to partake in exercise and just generally stay active. Although you might not feel like being physical at all when you’re suffering from pain, pushing yourself to get out of the house and to move about can be of benefit in numerous ways.
Apart from your muscles potentially becoming stiff and weak if you don’t use them (which in turn can reinforce pain), keeping yourself in a cocoon can also lead you to believe that you need to protect your sore body parts more than you actually do. This can cause you to suffer from psychosomatic pain, on top of the physical pain that you already have.
Another benefit of staying active is that doing so enables you to be distracted from the pain for a time, and it can release endorphins, nature’s pain relievers. As well, by not shying away from your usual activities, you will ensure that you stay connected with friends and family members. This will keep you achieving goals and feeling a part of the world, and will stop you from spiraling down into a depression.
Another thing that is important when it comes to dealing with pain is that you take advantage of the support available to you. For example, when it comes to emotional support, make sure that you let your family members, friends, and colleagues know how you are feeling and how they can help you deal with the pain that is affecting your body and life.
As well, if chronic pain is an issue, it is worthwhile finding a local support group you can join or a counselor, psychologist or other mental health worker you can talk to. This will enable you to speak with people who really understand what you’re going through or who can offer clear, well-thought out advice.
There are also plenty of healthcare professionals to choose from who can assist you to combat pain by alleviating symptoms or the cause of your issue. Who you see will depend on the type of health problems you have and what your specific needs are, but the list of practitioners you may want to investigate includes physical therapists, osteopaths, masseuses, chiropractors, surgeons, acupuncturists, and herbalists.
Work on Your Mind
Lastly, don’t forget that working on your mind can make a big difference to not only your perceived pain levels, but also your comfort. When you’re dealing with long-term or intense pain, it is likely that your stress levels will rise because of the effects this has. Heightened stress is not only no fun to handle, but can also make it harder to cope with pain, and even increase your pain levels because stress can lead to muscle spasms.
To clear your head, and help ensure that you don’t catastrophize or constantly get overwhelmed, it is a good idea to get plenty of sleep; practice meditation, deep breathing, and other relaxation exercises; and focus on the positives in your life, as well as the improvements you’re able to make over time. This will lower your stress levels and help you to feel more comfortable on a daily basis.