Chronic pain afflicts millions of people across the globe. For many, living in agony becomes the new “normal”, which can have drastic ramifications on well-being. Conventional medicine tells us that the only “solution” for chronic pain relief is prescription drugs. As you likely know, this has led to an epidemic of opiate abuse.
The good news is there are natural chronic pain relief strategies you can try without having to worry about side effects, addiction, or safety concerns.
Is There a Cure for Chronic Pain?
The tricky thing about treating chronic pain is that it’s not always possible to target the underlying cause, particularly if it’s an incurable condition like fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis. Thus, pain management may fall under the scope of palliative care.
However, this should not discourage you from trying natural pain relief strategies, as there are plenty of people who lead largely pain-free lives even with preexisting conditions.
In other cases, chronic pain may be curable. For example, rheumatoid arthritis can cause persistent joint pain, but it’s treatable to the point that it goes into remission.
As with any medical condition, you should always consult with a licensed healthcare practitioner if you’re experiencing chronic pain, especially if you’re not sure what’s causing it.
With that in mind, here are some natural pain relief strategies you can implement into your lifestyle for managing chronic pain.
Try Massage Therapy
When your pain is of musculoskeletal nature, such as tendinitis and myalgia (muscle pain), a massage can work wonders. Regular massage work is well-known to promote blood flow and enhance nutrient delivery to sore regions of the body, thereby facilitating recovery and curbing localized pain signals.
Work with a Physiotherapist
Physiotherapy is a vital component to recovering your mobility and pain-free independence. Using a holistic approach, physiotherapists may prescribe a range of strengthening exercises, remedial massage, therapy for specific conditions, support garments, and other pain-relieving strategies. In addition, a well-trained physiotherapist will have a unique insight into inflammatory conditions that might be giving you chronic pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
And don’t worry if you are in too much pain to leave the house, many physiotherapists offer video prescriptions that teach you custom-tailored rehabilitative exercises that are easily accessible on a smartphone.
CBD for Chronic Pain
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is constantly working to keep your internal environment stable, especially when faced with stress. (Note that pain is a form of stress.) In order to accomplish this, the appropriate body systems need to be able to communicate with one another.
The endocannabinoid system is like the maestro of your body’s systemic orchestra. It coordinates and transmits the necessary signals between all 12 body systems so that you can get back to “baseline” (homeostasis).
For example, if you experience a painful injury such as a broken tibia, the body produces endogenous cannabinoids that attach to receptors of the ECS and attenuate the secretion of chemical activators from tissues surrounding the site of injury. In turn, the neurons near the broken tibia are prevented from firing excessively, thereby abating pain signals to the brain.
Subsequently, the ECS stimulates proximal immune cells to release inflammatory signaling molecules that help start the recovery process and clear out damaged cells/tissues.
This is just one example illustrating how the endocannabinoid system integrates communication between multiple body systems (e.g. skeletal, nervous, and immune) to initiate the healing process and restore homeostasis.
Given that CBD is a well-known “stimulator” of the ECS, it’s no surprise that many studies have found it to be a useful natural pain remedy. As time evolves, it’s very likely that CBD will continue to garner interest from holistic and alternative healthcare practitioners as a means of managing chronic pain.