How do you relieve pain without medication?

stethoscope and drugs

Pain is something that most of us dread. But pain often serves a useful purpose: it tells us that something is wrong and that we need to do something about it. So, that toothache or a pain in the back should not be ignored. Unfortunately, painkillers mask pain rather than treating it. Taking a pain killer is often like shooting a messenger bearing bad tidings. So what can you do if you have pain?

Sometimes the choice is obvious: if you have toothache, you need to visit a dentist. Any severe or persistent pain should be checked out by your medical practitioner. But many people believe pain killers are the only remedy, but there are alternative, effective remedies for many people.

Psychological relief from pain

Pain is the body’s way of alerting the brain to injury and disease. Without a robust pain response, physical trauma could go unnoticed and untreated. Some people, however, experience chronic pain that lasts long after an injury has healed or has no easily identifiable cause. In these cases focusing on psychological treatments can be really helpful.

Mary Driscoll, a researcher at Yale University and author with some colleagues of a 2021 article in Psychological Science in the Public Interest says:

“There are several effective nonmedical treatments for chronic pain, and psychological treatments emerge among the strongest of these. People who engage in psychological treatments can expect to experience meaningful reductions in pain itself as well as improvements in physical functioning and emotional well-being.”

Back pain relief

What do you do if you have backache? There are several different choices. You could consult an osteopath, a chiropractor, a sports therapist or an Alexander technique teacher. Sometimes specific exercises will do the trick. Have a look at the books by Pete Egoscue for simple easy exercises you can do to help reduce chronic pain. There are also youtube videos on the Egoscue Method. More and more stretching and gym exercises are being seen as beneficial for back pain.

Natural remedies for pain and inflammation

Sometimes chronic pain responds well to a change in diet. There are many arthritis treatment diets. Some  people with arthritis find that reducing their meat intake and/or sugar and white flour intake works well. Eating a large variety of fruit and vegetables can be helpful. These are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help keep the joints lubricated and so prevent stiffness. Curcumin (from turmeric) is a general anti-inflammatory, so can help with arthritis and other pain.

And don’t forget water. The US Arthritis Foundation says:

“If there’s a magical elixir to drink, it’s water. Hydration is vital for flushing toxins out of your body, which can help fight inflammation. Adequate water can help keep your joints well lubricated and can help prevent gout attacks.”

Period pain relief

If you suffer with dysmenorrhea (painful periods), switching to a plant-based diet may help. Research shows that women who did this experience significant relief in menstrual pain intensity and duration.

Herbs may also help. For example, ginger can help with heavy periods and also with breast tenderness caused by changes in a woman’s monthly cycle.

Help constipation without laxatives

People who are constipated often find water a miraculous cure. Many years ago I had a nanny for my young children. Once a week she would disappear. She would reappear an hour late looking ashen. Eventually I asked her what was happening. She told me that she had always been constipated. Her parents had taken her to numerous doctors, but no one could find a cure. So once a week she went to the toilet and had a painful hour while she forced herself to go. I suggested she tried drinking more water. She did this, and very quickly she was going once a day without any pain. A simple solution to a long-standing problem.

The Harvard Medical School says that medicines such as narcotic pain relievers, antidepressants, aluminum-containing antacids, blood pressure medications, drugs for Parkinson’s disease, and iron supplements can cause constipation. Obviously, if you are taking prescrption medication, you should consult your doctor before stopping.

Allergies and pain

Some pain is caused by allergy problems, so check this out with a kinesiologist or another practitioner with an interest in allergies. Irritable bowel, migraine and eczema often improve or even eliminated when you find the foods that trigger your symptoms.

Relief from mental/emotional pain

If your pain is mental or emotional, try taking Bach flower remedies or seeing a kinesiologist or a counselor for help. You can also try the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for both physical and emotional pain. EFT offers a self-help technique you can use yourself.

Whatever you do, don’t just put up with pain. Have a look at all the possibilities, not just medical painkillers.