The opioid crisis sweeping the United States brings to light an important conclusion. Many Americans are in pain and seeking relief. Chronic pain patients need effective natural therapies that help them function with fewer symptoms. Individual perception of pain varies wildly, and some alternative therapies are more effective for certain types of pain. The best way to discover what works for you is to keep a record of the causes and effective techniques.

Herbal therapies
Each person’s pain profile is unique, but there are many effective herbal remedies that reduce discomfort. Boswellia and turmeric are both effective against inflammation for issues like menstrual cramps and headaches. Capsaicin is often used topically for arthritis and muscle pain. Cannabidiol (CBD) is spreading in popularity as an effective way to manage pain. Some herbal therapies interact with other medications, so you should always consult with your doctor before adding an alternative treatment to your pain management regimen.

Meditation
Stress-related pain has been managed for centuries with meditation. The basis of the practice is that your mind amplifies physical pain. Teaching your mind to separate the physical pain from the mental agony, stress, and hopelessness can soothe the perception of pain. Studies show that patients can learn to control secondary pain and minimize their suffering through meditation.

Stretching and exercise
Yoga, tai chi, and other low-impact exercises can lower pain by strengthening muscles, as long as the practice doesn’t cause additional strain. Gentle stretching exercises add flexibility and generate endorphins that mimic the effects of narcotic painkillers. The mindfulness required from participants of yoga and tai chi can also help chronic pain patients learn to manage pain.

Biofeedback
There are different types of biofeedback, but electromyography (EMG) gives chronic pain patients feedback on muscle tension. When combined with relaxation and hypnotherapy exercises, patients can learn to isolate and control pain caused by stress and muscle tension. Giving pain sufferers control over pain is a very effective strategy, as it reduces the hopelessness and depression often associated with chronic pain.

Acupuncture
Inserting superfine needles into the skin at predetermined spots to channel energy in the body is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that can be very effective for chronic pain sufferers. Using different insertion points, acupuncturists treat joint pain, headaches, back pain, and arthritis. The low-risk practice is beneficial for most types of pain and is often covered by insurance.

Chronic pain intensifies over time
A complicating factor for chronic pain patients is that the brain dedicates more tissue to feeling pain over time. So, people who suffer from pain become better at processing the sensations of pain. The goal for treating long-term pain is to provide enough relief that anxiety, stress, and depression associated with the pain are diminished.

Conclusion
Effective pain therapies allow patients to feel in control and function better with fewer symptoms. Pain profiles vary for individuals, so sufferers should journal causes and effective therapies to find the most relief. Remember that alternative therapies are not always benign. Acupuncture could be dangerous for someone with a bleeding disorder, and herbal therapies can interact with traditional medicines. Always consult your physician before beginning a new therapy or making any changes in your treatment plan.

Author's Bio: 

Lora Y