Are you searching for natural pain relief? This comprehensive blog will cover all you need to know about chronic pain and how functional medicine can help. Read on to also discover ten of the best supplements and herbs for natural pain relief.
Natural Pain Relief – The Impact of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a common condition in the UK, with an estimated 28 million adults experiencing some form of chronic pain. According to a report by the British Pain Society, chronic pain affects 43% of the UK population aged over 18 years old, with 14% of adults experiencing moderate to severe pain. Chronic pain can affect anyone, but it is more prevalent in older adults, with around 62% of those aged over 75 experiencing chronic pain.
Chronic pain can have a profound impact on a person’s physical, emotional, and social well-being, and it is a leading cause of disability and absenteeism from work in the UK.
Chronic pain is a complex condition that affects millions of people in the United Kingdom. According to the British Pain Society, chronic pain is defined as pain that persists beyond the expected time for healing or is associated with a chronic health condition, lasting for at least three months.
Natural Pain Relief – Causes of Chronic Pain
There are many different causes of chronic pain, including musculoskeletal conditions, neuropathic pain, and chronic headaches.
- Arthritis – a condition that causes inflammation in the joints, leading to pain and stiffness.
- Back pain – a common condition that affects around 80% of people in the UK at some point in their lives.
- Fibromyalgia – a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, as well as other symptoms such as fatigue and sleep problems.
- Headaches – chronic headaches can be caused by a range of conditions, including migraines and tension headaches.
- Neuropathic pain – caused by damage to the nerves, neuropathic pain can cause burning, shooting or stabbing sensations.
Chronic pain is a widespread condition that affects millions of people in the UK. It can have a significant impact on a person’s physical and emotional well-being, and it is a leading cause of disability and absenteeism from work, both within the U.K, and globally.
Natural Pain Relief – The Science of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a complex condition that can be caused by a variety of factors. While acute pain is a normal response to injury or tissue damage, chronic pain persists beyond the expected healing time and can be caused by changes in the nervous system, as well as psychological and environmental factors. Here is a closer look at the science behind chronic pain:
Nervous System Changes
When tissues are damaged or injured, pain receptors in the body send signals to the brain, which then perceives the sensation of pain. This is known as nociception, and it is a normal and important part of the body’s protective mechanism. However, in chronic pain, changes in the nervous system can cause pain signals to be sent even in the absence of tissue damage or injury. These changes can include:
- Sensitisation – repeated or prolonged exposure to pain can cause the nervous system to become sensitised, leading to an increased response to pain signals.
- Peripheral sensitisation – injury or inflammation can cause changes in the peripheral nervous system, leading to an increased response to pain signals.
- Central sensitisation – changes in the central nervous system can lead to an increased sensitivity to pain signals, even in the absence of tissue damage or injury.
Psychological factors can also play a role in chronic pain. For example, depression, anxiety, and stress can all contribute to the perception of pain. In addition, negative emotions can lead to changes in the nervous system, which can further exacerbate chronic pain. Chronic pain can also cause psychological distress, leading to a vicious cycle of pain and negative emotions.
Environmental factors, such as diet, exercise, and sleep, can also contribute to chronic pain. For example, a diet high in processed foods and low in nutrients can contribute to inflammation in the body, which can worsen pain. Lack of exercise and poor sleep can also exacerbate chronic pain, as these factors can lead to changes in the nervous system and increased sensitivity to pain signals.
Natural Pain Relief – Treatment and Management of Chronic Pain
Because chronic pain is a complex condition with multiple causes, treatment and management can be challenging. A comprehensive approach that addresses physical, psychological, and environmental factors is often necessary. Treatment options may include medication, physical therapy such as osteopathy, psychological therapy, and lifestyle changes such as exercise, diet, and stress management.
In a number of cases, alternative therapies such as osteopathy, acupuncture, or massage may be helpful in managing chronic pain. It is important for individuals with chronic pain to work with their healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and takes into account the complex nature of chronic pain.
Chronic pain is a complex condition that can be caused by changes in the nervous system, as well as psychological and environmental factors. Understanding the science behind chronic pain is important for developing effective treatment and management strategies. By taking a comprehensive approach that addresses physical, psychological, and environmental factors, individuals with chronic pain can improve their quality of life and better manage their condition.
Natural Pain Relief – The Functional Medicine Approach
Functional Medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare that aims to identify and address the root causes of health problems, rather than just treating symptoms. When it comes to pain relief, the Functional Medicine approach is to look beyond just pain management and instead seek to identify and address the underlying causes of pain. Here are some key principles of the Functional Medicine approach to pain relief:
- Personalised Treatment Plans
Functional Medicine practitioners take a personalised approach to treatment, recognising that each person’s experience of pain is unique. Treatment plans are tailored to address the individual’s specific needs and circumstances, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Identifying the Underlying Causes
Rather than just treating the symptoms of pain, Functional Medicine practitioners aim to identify the underlying causes of pain. This may involve looking at factors such as inflammation, nutritional imbalances, hormonal imbalances, gut health, and more.
- Addressing Inflammation
Inflammation is a common underlying factor in chronic pain. Functional Medicine practitioners aim to identify and address sources of inflammation in the body, such as chronic infections, food sensitivities, and lifestyle factors like poor diet and lack of exercise.
- Nutritional Support
Functional Medicine practitioners recognize the important role that nutrition plays in overall health, including pain management. They may recommend dietary changes or supplements to support the body’s natural healing processes and reduce inflammation.
- Lifestyle Changes
Functional Medicine practitioners recognize that lifestyle factors, such as exercise, stress management, and sleep, can have a significant impact on pain levels. They may recommend lifestyle changes to support overall health and reduce pain.
- Integrative Approaches
Functional Medicine practitioners may incorporate a variety of integrative approaches into their treatment plans, such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, or other complementary therapies.
By taking a comprehensive and holistic approach to pain relief, Functional Medicine practitioners aim to provide long-term solutions that address the underlying causes of pain, rather than just masking symptoms with medication. If you are experiencing chronic pain, consider consulting with a Functional Medicine practitioner to explore a personalised approach to pain relief that addresses your unique needs and circumstances.
Natural Pain Relief – 10 Best Supplements To Use
Chronic pain can be debilitating and affect the quality of life. While medication can be helpful in managing pain, some people prefer to use natural supplements and herbs as a complementary approach. Here are ten of the best supplements and herbs for natural pain relief:
Turmeric, a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine, contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to be effective in reducing pain in conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Ginger is another spice with anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce pain and inflammation. It has been shown to be effective in reducing muscle pain and soreness, as well as menstrual pain.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, as well as in supplements. They have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help to reduce pain in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and migraines.
4. Willow Bark
Willow bark contains a compound called salicin, which is similar to aspirin and has pain-relieving properties. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for pain.
Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is an herbal extract with anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to be effective in reducing pain and inflammation in conditions such as osteoarthritis.
6. Devil’s Claw
Devil’s claw is an herbal supplement with anti-inflammatory properties that has been used for centuries to relieve pain. It has been shown to be effective in reducing pain in conditions such as osteoarthritis and low back pain.
Capsaicin is the compound that gives chili peppers their spicy flavor. It has been shown to have pain-relieving properties and is often used topically in creams and ointments to relieve muscle and joint pain.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in muscle and nerve function. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help to reduce pain in conditions such as migraines and fibromyalgia.
9. White Willow Bark
White willow bark, like its cousin willow bark, contains salicin, which has pain-relieving properties. It has been used for centuries to relieve pain and is often found in natural pain relief supplements.
10. CBD Oil
Saved the best until last? CBD oil has gained great popularity in recent years as a potential natural treatment for pain relief. There are several reasons why CBD oil may be effective for pain relief:
- Anti-inflammatory properties: CBD oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce inflammation and swelling that can cause pain.
- Interaction with the endocannabinoid system: CBD oil interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which is responsible for regulating various physiological processes, including pain sensation. CBD can help to reduce the perception of pain by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors in the body.
- No psychoactive effects: Unlike THC, another compound found in the cannabis plant, CBD does not have psychoactive effects, meaning it does not produce the “high” associated with marijuana use. This makes CBD oil a more attractive option for those seeking pain relief without the unwanted side effects of THC.
- Fewer side effects: CBD oil is generally well-tolerated, and few side effects have been reported in studies. This makes it a safer option compared to traditional pain medications, which can have numerous side effects and risks associated with long-term use.
While these supplements and herbs can be effective in natural pain relief, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before adding any new supplements to your regimen, especially if you are taking medication or have underlying health conditions.
Natural Pain Relief – 10 Best Foods
Diet plays an important role in overall health and can also impact pain levels. Here are ten foods that can help to naturally relieve pain:
Ginger is a spice with anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce pain and inflammation. It has been shown to be effective in reducing muscle pain and soreness, as well as menstrual pain.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to be effective in reducing pain in conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. They may help to reduce pain in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and migraines.
4. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
Cherries are rich in anthocyanins, which are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. They have been shown to be effective in reducing pain in conditions such as gout and osteoarthritis.
6. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
Garlic contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
9. Whole Grains
Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat are rich in fiber and other nutrients that can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
10. Green Tea
Tea, especially green tea, is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
Incorporating these foods into your diet can help to naturally reduce pain levels. It is important to note that while diet can be helpful in managing pain, it is not a substitute for medical treatment. If you are experiencing chronic pain, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment plan.
Natural Pain Relief – Frequently Asked Questions
- Is heat or cold better for pain relief?
Heat and cold therapy can both be effective for pain relief, but it depends on the type of pain. Cold therapy is best for acute injuries, swelling, and inflammation. It can help to reduce pain and swelling by constricting blood vessels. Heat therapy is best for chronic pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms. It can help to relax muscles, increase blood flow, and improve flexibility.
- When is it best to take CBD for pain relief?
It is best to take CBD for pain relief when the pain is chronic or long-lasting. CBD can take some time to take effect, so it is important to take it consistently for several weeks to see if it is effective. It is also important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking CBD, as it can interact with certain medications.
- How much pain relief does a sympathetic thoracic block give?
The amount of pain relief provided by a sympathetic thoracic block can vary depending on the individual and the underlying condition causing the pain. Some people may experience significant pain relief, while others may only experience temporary relief or no relief at all.
- How is radiofrequency ablation performed for chronic pain relief?
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to heat and destroy nerve tissue that is causing chronic pain. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and involves inserting a thin needle through the skin and into the targeted nerve. The needle delivers radiofrequency waves that heat and destroy the nerve tissue, which can provide long-lasting pain relief.
- What can I give my dog for pain relief?
It is important to consult with a veterinarian before giving any pain relief medication to a dog. Some common pain relief medications for dogs include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as carprofen, deracoxib, and meloxicam, as well as opioid medications such as tramadol and codeine. However, these medications can have side effects and should only be given under the guidance of a veterinarian.
- How to use a TENS machine for carpal tunnel pain relief?
To use a TENS machine for carpal tunnel pain relief, place the electrodes on the affected wrist or hand. Turn on the machine and adjust the settings to a comfortable level. The TENS machine will deliver electrical impulses to the nerves in the affected area, which can help to reduce pain and improve circulation.
- Is pregabalin good pain relief for sciatica?
Pregabalin can be effective for pain relief in sciatica, as it works by blocking the nerve signals that cause pain. However, it may not be effective for everyone and can have side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and weight gain. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking pregabalin.
- What pain relief can I take with sertraline?
It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any pain relief medication with sertraline, as some medications can interact with sertraline and increase the risk of side effects. Generally, over-the-counter pain relief medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are safe to take with sertraline.
Discover the root cause of your chronic pain and experience natural pain relief with a functional medicine approach. Contact us today to learn more about how the SMH Pain and Inflammation Resolution Package can help you.