As a student, I was a sponge for learning! I took in any and all information about medical conditions and treatment methods in the process of becoming an occupational therapist.
A few years later, I was diagnosed with a chronic condition and adopted a similar outlook. Coping with my diagnosis of endometriosis was tolerable. However, the long-term reliance upon prescription pain medication was, unfortunately, not the answer I wanted. In this article, I’ll review my personal pain management story as well as provides you with a few natural pain relief options to consider.
My personal quest for natural pain relief
I have always leaned on the conservative side regarding pain medications of any kind. In fact, I am aware of the good they can do in small doses. However, I did not want to accept them unless I had exhausted other treatment options. Being newly diagnosed, I was eager to learn what I could do to help my own condition.
After some research, I found online resources for others affected by endometriosis. I found several methods to address the root cause of hormonal imbalances, which leads to the pain and inflammation associated with the condition.
Furthermore, I also decided to better manage my workload and took to writing as ways to improve my stress levels. I believe sharing my experience comes at a pivotal time when conservative and client-centered approaches are being used more than ever.
In fact, therapists commonly refer their patients toward conservative methods. However, these recommendations often bypass patients who are not referred to therapy by their providers. With this in mind, here are a few of the best natural pain management options to consider.
1) Diet modifications
Depending on the nature of your condition, specific diet recommendations may be suggested as a way to naturally relieve pain. This may come in the form of instructions on which foods to avoid or a structured diet to incorporate appropriate servings of recommended foods.
For example, a diet plan for those who suffer from inflammation related to their condition should be rich in foods that reduce swelling in the body. In fact, an anti-inflammatory diet consists of foods high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These include berries, apples, artichokes, avocados, dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, broccoli, oil-rich fish (such as salmon and herring), nuts, beans, and seeds.
2) Herbal supplements
Herbal remedies are becoming more well-known for their ability to naturally alleviate a range of physical and mental symptoms. For a thorough assessment and corresponding recommendations, I strongly recommend that you visit a herbologist who is well informed regarding interactions. With this in mind, here are a few options to consider:
When taken as a supplement or added as a spice to food, Turmeric has been known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Shop Tumeric herbal supplements on Amazon.
b) Kava Kava
Kava Kava is an herb used to relieve severe headaches. It can also assist with symptoms of anxiety as well as restlessness and helps reduce inflammation. Shop Kava Kava herbal supplements on Amazon.
c) St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort has been used frequently in those who suffer from arthritic joint pain. It can also assist with symptoms of depression and anxiety (but is not a substitute for anti-depression medications unless recommended by your doctor). Shop St. John’s Wort herbal supplements on Amazon.
Be cautious about experimenting with herbs, as some herbs have interactions with other herbs or chemical medications (especially traditional blood pressure or thyroid medications). In fact, I strongly recommend that you consulting your doctor before taking any new herbal supplements.
3) Lifestyle changes
Lifestyle changes can often be the most difficult recommendation to adhere to as it may warrant eliminating or lessening the frequency of some enjoyable activities.
Activities such as high-impact sports or heavy household chores may need to be deferred to a family member or friend if completing them worsens your symptoms. Any therapist will tell you remaining active is the best thing you can do to achieve optimal wellness. However, no one should ever do so in the midst of extreme pain.
Certain exercise programs may be indicated by a therapist to assist in keeping joints mobile, lessening the formation of scar tissue, and decreasing pain levels. With this in mind, a therapist will provide home exercises programs to complete independently in order to maximize gains made in therapy.
It is a good idea to continue following your therapist’s recommendations and completing exercise programs even after the course of therapy has been completed. This will decrease the risk of recurring symptoms.
Whether you are just beginning the journey toward understanding your condition or you have had several medical opinions, the takeaway is there are conservative methods to explore for many chronic conditions. Ideally, these avenues are recommended before invasive methods such as pain medication and surgery.
For those of you struggling with a chronic condition, I recommend that you do not take any treatment at face value. Honestly, the importance of self-advocacy cannot be understated. If you are unsure of something your doctor or therapist recommends, ask for an explanation. If you still do not understand, ask for more resources or educational materials.
Being closely involved in your healthcare journey can save you time, money, pain, and inactivity. Your healthcare is a valuable asset and has a multi-faceted impact, whether positive or negative. For this and more reasons, holistic methods that take all factors into consideration allows for the necessary view to make effective health recommendations.
Do you recommend any specific natural pain management therapies? Share them in the comments below!