Affecting about 30 million people in the United States, chronic pain is something most people just want to end. However, the current epidemic with narcotic pain relievers can cause some resistance to the idea of depending solely on medications to control chronic pain. Although relief for chronic pain can often be achieved through spinal surgery, there are many natural remedies you can try first.
1. Regular Exercise
Movement in the form of cardio or another type of regular exercise stimulates the production of endorphins that can have a similar pain-relieving effect within your body. Exercises that tend to be safe for chronic pain patients include:
- Water-based exercises
- Some forms of yoga
- Light muscle-strengthening exercises
2. Heat Therapy
Aside from being naturally relaxing, a comfortable level of warmth also has therapeutic properties that can ease muscle tension. You can expose your sore muscles to warmth in various ways, including:
- Warm showers
- Warm baths with Epsom salt
- Hot tub soaks
- An electric blanket, heating pad, or adhesive back wrap
3. Drinking Water
In addition to flushing toxins out of your system, water can also relieve pain by increasing blood flow and removing harmful compounds from your soft tissues. Water also helps reduce constipation, a common side effect of pain meds. Stick with the standard recommendation of 8 glasses of water per day.
4. Cold Therapy
Ice has the effect of reducing inflammation that contributes to chronic pain. Forms of cold therapy can include:
- Using ice or gel packs
- Slowly easing ice along the affected area
- Applying a cold therapy gel or a similar topical cream
Natural pain relief methods aren’t meant to replace traditional treatments like NSAIDs or any other current medications you might be taking. The above options are a supplemental approach to relief meant to enhance the effectiveness of other treatments and possibly reduce your dependence on drugs with a high risk for abuse or dependency.
If taking the natural approach hasn’t helped relieve your chronic pain, it might be time to look into your options for surgery, which could include kyphoplasty, laminectomy, or vertebroplasty surgery. Contact Dr. Bae and his team of expert surgeons at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration to learn more. Call our office at 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person evaluation today.