Whether it’s lower back pain, joint pain, or ongoing pain from a past injury or medical condition, chronic pain can be difficult to live with, there’s no doubt about that. Not only is it physically painful and unpleasant to go through, but it can affect all realms of your life, including your emotional health and your ability to meet your goals from day to day. Finding natural ways to tackle chronic pain can help those who prefer not to look for medical intervention as well as those who are already taking medication as prescribed but want to do more to manage their pain.

Getting the sleep that you need

Sleep and chronic pain can have a very complicated relationship. It’s often a cycle of negative influence, as your pain can make it difficult to sleep, and sleeplessness can increase pain in a variety of ways, such as by increasing the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. It may be worth talking to your doctor about your lack of sleep to see what they recommend. Tips such as making use of a white noise machine to get you into a meditative state at night and ensuring a night routine that gets you away from electronic lights and other things that can keep you awake might be worth taking a closer look at.

Get moving

Some people who experience chronic pain may have a lot of difficulties getting active and finding the exercise that they need. If this is you, you should talk to your doctor to see if they have any recommendations on ways that you can exercise more easily or specific exercises that might suit your condition and abilities. However, in general, exercise is one of the best things you can do to fight the pain response. It can help to release endorphins, positive neurochemicals that can block the pain response while improving your mood. They can even help you sleep better at night. Anything that gets your blood pumping can cause the release of these endorphins, it doesn’t need to be a particular strenuous workout.

Look into essential oils

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, whether you spray them onto your pillow, burn them with an infuser, let a couple of drops into your bath, or otherwise. The medical science behind the effectiveness is still unsure about the exact cause, but it has been found that oils such as lavender oil and rosemary oil can help some people relieve pain naturally, as well as help them sleep and reduce their sensations of anxiety. Peppermint oil, on the other hand, can be effective for the joint pains that some experience with arthritis, as well as for soothing headaches. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about using essential oils, as they currently aren’t regulated by health boards.

A little herbal relief

Aside from aromatherapy and essential oils, there is a more direct way to use nature’s bounty to help relieve your pain. There are different herbs and spices that can help manage pain. Curcumin, for instance, is highly lauded for its ability to help to relieve joint pain and inflammation. However, more recently, a lot more people are finding success with the help of products like Delta 9 THC. Some have suggested that THC can be just as effective as some of the stronger prescription medications. It can also help to manage the stress that so often plays a causal role in your experience of chronic pain, as well.

Pinpointing the problem

It’s healthy to have a certain degree of skepticism when it comes to alternative health practices that might not have as much proof behind them as other forms of medicine. However, there is one practice, in particular, that has caught the fascination of the medical community because so many people find it effective, but it’s not entirely clear why. Acupuncture is an ancient practice that can help many relieve pain by using tiny needles that pierce the skin at various pressure points in the body. Traditional practice wisdom states that this helps to manipulate the flow of energy within various pathways throughout the body. Some scientific explanations for how this might help pain include things like the needles causing the release of serotonin, brain chemicals that reduce stress and improve healing in the body.

Go hot and cold

Both heat therapy and cold therapy can help quell the pain in a variety of ways. Cold therapy, whether it’s using ice packs or dipping yourself into a cold bath or shower can help to open up circulation, improve your mood, and decrease things like muscle soreness. Heat therapy is just as time-honored a tradition when it comes to treating pain, and can do much the same thing, helping to soften muscles, increase the flow of blood, and reduce inflammation on the area where heat is applied directly to. When to use heat and when to use cold is likely to be determined by the nature of the injury so do a little further research to use the method most likely to work for you.

Do what you can to manage stress

Stress can heighten physical pain for a lot of people. For one, it makes our mind more active, and can make us more acutely aware of pain, including pain that might otherwise be beneath our notice, or mild enough to at least not fixate on. Furthermore, stress causes the release of cortisol, the stress hormone that can, in turn, cause the muscles to contract. These contracting muscles can tighten around the lower back as well as joints, which can exacerbate inflammation and muscle pain. Taking steps to relieve your stress can relieve your chronic pain as a result.

When it comes to chronic pain, you should always keep a diary of what you’re doing to manage it, as well as your pain levels from day to day. This can help you narrow down the remedies, including pain patches that are most effective for you.