Overcome pain naturally? What does that even mean? First, let’s jump into the value of pain. Pain is our messenger, the little-guy-warning signal that is trying to say “Hey. I’m not good right now, help?”
With all the misinformation out there, it can sometimes feel nearly impossible to get to the root of our pain and nip it in the bud for good. Which is why seeing a qualified chiropractor can give you an assessment to establish function and address root causes, but we want you to have some tools in your handbag as well.
That’s why we’ve put together ten possible solutions you can do to regain your autonomy and take back control of your health, and your welp – pain, along with a quick synopsis of how your body structurally holds itself together.
Explaining how the body works with all of its intricate pieces can be quite complex but on the premise of keeping it simple, I will explain it like this: your body is a tensegrity structure, meaning, you can not affect one part of the body with a weight bearing load without affecting another area through a process of push and pull.
Compensation is the term we use when one area can’t do its job properly after an incident such as an injury, and in turn, pulls in another area to pick up the slack. That is why you can get a knee injury and then two months later feel the stress in your hip.
Or there is our most common predicament with modern life: hunched over the computer. A forward hunched position over your computer is often responsible for misalignment in your anterior neck, and core muscles, which will put unnecessary strain on your back, shoulders, and neck.
Putting a strain on your back, shoulders, and neck will be where the pain will manifest, but as we now know, that is not where the problem will reside. Let’s get going on the damage control we can do to reverse the effects of these adverse habits.
Nutrition and Hydration
We all know it, but it still needs to be said: first and foremost, dehydration can be the culprit of many mishaps in the body. Since the body is made up of mostly water, dehydration can lead to headaches, muscles soreness, fatigue, and muscle cramps.
Hand-in-hand with hydration, electrolytes are another one we’d be remiss to overlook. Electrolytes are minerals that travel in the bloodstream responsible for transmitting and receiving nerve impulses which in turn activate muscles.
The loss of electrolytes in the bloodstream can often lead to similar symptoms such as aching, cramps, and fatigue. Common electrolytes are potassium, sodium, phosphorous, and magnesium. Easily attainable sources are bananas, sea salt, and green leafy vegetables.
Protein is an often heard of, but a no-less-important facet of nutrition and recovery. A protein is a complete amino acid. Our body makes protein from the amino acids we ingest from our food which is why eating a variety of foods is so essential to optimal health. Protein is the foundation of many bodily functions from creating enzymes for digesting food all the way to repairing and rebuilding torn muscles.
Movement. Ah, great word. Studies show being active decelerates the aging process, protects the brain, increases circulation, promotes detoxification, boosts endorphins, and 15-20 minutes of intense cardio strengthens the heart muscle allowing it to work a lot less in the span of a lifetime.
All of this activates our bodies ability to self-heal and slow down the stress of our day-to-day lives. Aka, relieve pain.
If there’s one self-regulating thing we can do to influence our structure and come back to our own intuitive awareness of what is happening in our body it would be stretching and yoga. The physical practice of yoga has the same effect of a great massage, but sometimes better because we’re the boss.
Just a couple of pro tips: If you’re not finding relief, practice using the counter-intuitive approach we discussed earlier by stretching the place opposite of your pain. Example: Neck and shoulder pain? Stretch the anterior portion (front) of your neck. Low back pain? Stretch out your rectus abdominis and a deeper abdominal muscle called the psoas.
Practice being in your body. Get to know the different areas in your body that hold tension under the radar of your everyday awareness.
Massage is just one of those things that cant be replaced. Not because there aren’t alternative methods for removing pain, but what else can simply put us in a trance, release endorphins, increase circulation, and stimulate the lymphatic (waste removal) system, and lower cortisol, all without us lifting a finger? Right. As stated, irreplaceable.
There are many different massage modalities. It is recommended to speak to a professional about their specific specialty and the unique approach they take when it comes to manipulating the tissue of the body. That being said, I’ll lay out a couple here:
A Structural/Rolfing massage is a deep tissue massage, the difference is that a therapist trained in this modality will understand the layout of how the connective tissue in your body wraps around and compartmentalizes your structure.
A skilled therapist will keenly work through any tissue that is impinged, stuck, or not moving with full mobility. The application itself can seem very similar to myofascial release.
Injury and Sports Massage
The point of an injury or sports massage, usually at a higher speed, is focused on flushing the circulation system. Most therapists will be trained in acute vs. chronic injuries and the proper way to work around them.
An acute injury should never be worked on directly, but instead, the emphasis should be in surrounding tissues to push fluid through with more ease.
Many therapists will also include active and passive stretching to release pressure around attachment sites and increase tissue length.
I would feel terrible leaving this gem out due to the growing popularity. Craniosacral therapy is a very light and gentle manipulation that emphasizes work around your sacrum (the base of your spine), up your spine, all the way up to the bones of your cranium.
A skilled therapist will palpate and get a sense of the natural rhythm of your CSF fluid to allow for micro adjustments to be made in areas that feel stagnated.
The effect is full body because the Central Nervous System is connected to the Peripheral Nervous System and thus every organ and limb in the body.
Ice has been getting a lot of hype the past little while, and for good reason. Studies are showing that cold water has the ability to constrict blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and to push out waste.
As soon as your body starts warming up again the increased blood flow is like removing a dam from a river allowing the flow to push out toxins and inflammation keeping you happier, healthier, and stronger.
Acupuncture and Acupressure are another couple words that have begun to receive lots of rave in the western world for their pain-relieving, self-healing effects. It’s an ancient Chinese practice designed to stimulate the body’s own self-regulating and healing mechanisms.
The Eastern Theory is that the body has energy channels, often referred to as meridians, that run the surface of the body and pressing certain places stimulates the flow of this energy.
The Chinese believed when we have blocked energy, it causes stagnation, an improper flow of important nutrients getting to organs, and a decrease in energy. All can manifest as different physiological issues.
The Western world believes much of the same thing except that the theory leans a little closer to the idea that the physiological response of stimulating the nervous system is what communicates to the brain to release a cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters that alter the effect of pain and healing.
The difference between acupressure and acupuncture is acupressure points are simply pressed, generally with fingers. In acupuncture, needles are injected superficially to the skin and often hooked up to electrodes.
“What on earth?” The first thing many people say upon discovering this safe haven of bliss. Also known as a sensory-deprivation tank, because that is exactly what it is; as your body is suspended in a pod of Epsom salt, you are completely cut off from all tangible sensory feeling.
For one of the few times in your life, you are completely free from the pull of gravity on your body. The water in the pod should be about the same temperature as your internal body temperature to complete the no-separation-feeling between where you start and end. The numerous health effects include relaxation, pain relief, increased creativity, and heightened awareness of the psycho and somatic state of your being.