Drug-Free Ways To Banish Your Pain

A hand dipping into water and pink petals(BlackDoctor.org) — Chronic pain – and the search for fast and effective relief remedies – can affect every aspect of your life. Today, a growing number of people are turning to complementary and alternative medicine in place of expensive/ineffective drugs. In fact, pain is the main complaint among people who seek out such alternative treatments.

The following alternative medicine therapies have been shown to help manage pain:

Theories differ on how long acupuncture has been around, but this ancient Chinese healing art has been in use for at least 2,000 years. The practice involves inserting hair-thin needles into various points on the skin in an attempt to regulate movement within the body’s meridian system. Numerous studies have confirmed acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating pain, and the World Health Organization includes pain on its list of conditions for which acupuncture is beneficial.

This pain management therapy uses scents from essential plant oils that are either applied to the skin or inhaled. Aromatherapy for health purposes dates back thousands of years, playing an important role in the medical systems of the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Today it is one of the alternative treatments used for a wide variety of conditions, including pain. Studies have shown a decrease in pain symptoms in people with rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, and cancer who use aromatherapy.

Although it’s now a mainstream option, chiropractic is still technically considered a form of complementary and alternative medicine. Chiropractors look at the relationship between the structure and function of the body in order to decrease pain. The main focus is the spine, and most chiropractic visits involve adjustments that are designed to realign the body to promote self-healing. Chiropractic has been shown to be effective for a variety of pain syndromes, including lower back pain, neck pain, carpal tunnel, headaches, and sports injuries.

This complementary and alternative approach is used to promote relaxation and induce an altered state of consciousness. The resulting psychological shift is intended to help people gain control over their states of awareness, which theoretically can help them gain control over their physical body, including their pain symptoms. Research suggests that hypnosis can help reduce the need for pain medication by decreasing the anxiety that’s typically associated with pain.

Massage feels great, but it also is a time-tested healing method for various kinds of pain. Through manipulation of the body’s soft tissues, massage therapy influences the muscles, circulation, and lymphatic and nervous systems. Several clinical studies have shown massage to be an effective pain management therapy. A recent review of multiple trials concluded that massage is beneficial for chronic lower back pain.

Relaxation Therapy
It is well documented that stress can worsen, or even cause, disease — and pain is no exception. When we’re stressed, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode, which causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate and a tensing of muscles. Over time, this can wreak havoc on our internal organs and musculoskeletal systems. A variety of relaxation techniques, including guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation, are used in medical settings to counteract these negative effects of stress. Studies have shown that patients who undergo relaxation therapy can experience a reduction in pain symptoms.

Tai Chi
Tai chi originated in China and is often referred to as a moving meditation. Practitioners of tai chi conduct a series of slow, gentle movements that are coordinated with deep breathing. This ancient martial art can be beneficial for emotional and physical ailments, including chronic pain. Tai chi is often prescribed as a complementary therapy to traditional pain management treatments such as medications, but it also is thought to provide preventive benefits against pain.

Home Remedies For Sinus Problems

woman blowing her noseBefore you start trying to treat your sinus problems, it’s pertinent that you figure out why you have sinus problems.  Allergies are a fairly common reason for sinus problems.

Allergies that affect the nose, such as hay fever and indoor allergies, can cause the nasal membranes to swell, and the passages to the sinuses – hollow spaces within the bones around the nose – to become blocked. Mucus, which typically drains from the sinuses to the nose, can’t drain. The mucus builds up and provides a fertile ground for “bugs” to grow, leading to infection.  Others are more prone to sinus infections due to their anatomy, such as having narrow sinus passages.

Whatever the trigger, these five tips can help you alleviate your sinus problems.

Sinus Tip 1: Keep Your Cool

When the heat is on, the membranes get dry.  Mucus isn’t cleared as effectively, boosting the risk of infection and other sinus problems, such as sinus headache. In the winter months, you’re better off wearing a sweater and keeping it cooler than cranking up the heat so you are comfortable wearing only a T-shirt.

Let your nose guide your indoor temperature range. If you are not waking up with nosebleeds or congestion, that is probably a good temperature range.

Sinus Tip 2: Humidify Your Air

Strive for an indoor environment that’s not too dry and not too humid.  Dust mites love greater than 50% humidity. And if you’re allergic to dust mites, that’s bad news for your sinusitis risk.

A too-humid indoor environment can also encourage the growth of mold, which can also set off sinus problems.

Vaporizers can keep you more comfortable if you are in the midst of a sinus problem, but you need to have it close by. It doesn’t do any good to have a vaporizer on the other side of the room.  Make sure you clean the device daily to keep bacteria from growing in them and making you sicker.

Breathe the mist coming from vaporizers, but not the steam. Steam can easily burn you. Ten minutes at a time is often recommended.

Sinus Tip 3: Ventilate Your House

An energy-efficient house is not necessarily a sinus-friendly one. You seal up a house to make it more energy efficient, and you end up with stale air that aggravates sinus problems.

The solution: Opening up the house on a warmer day to clear the air is a good thing, providing it’s not a high-pollen day that will set off your allergies.

Sinus Tip 4: Hydrate and Irrigate Yourself

Drinking a lot of fluids can help keep your sinuses functioning well – at least a quart a day, but the more the better. Most doctors recommend that you drink enough water every day so your urine is generally clear.

Salt water nasal rinses for your nose can help, too. You can buy a kit or mix up your own at home. The recipe: Put 3/4 teaspoon salt in a glass of water. Using a bulb syringe, flush your nasal cavities to clean out mucus and debris.

Sinus Tip 4: Hydrate and Irrigate Yourself continued…

Neti pots are another way to irrigate your nasal cavities. This centuries-old remedy has gained popularity recently, thanks in part to coverage on The Oprah Winfrey Show and in other media.

The pot looks like a tea pot with an elongated spout. The devices are sold widely, for about $10 to $20, online and in drug stores and health food stores.

To use the pot, typically you mix about a pint of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of salt. Next, tilt your head over a sink at an angle of about 45 degrees. Place the pot’s spout into your top nostril and gently pour the solution in.

The salt water will flow through your nasal cavity, into the other nostril, and perhaps into your throat. Blow your nose to eliminate any water, and then repeat the steps on the other nostril.

Cleaning the pots regularly is crucial.

Sinus Tip 5: Avoid Household Irritants

Indoor allergies can wreak havoc with your sinuses. Cigarette smoke, cleaning products, hairspray, and other materials that give off fumes can all make your sinus problems worse.

Anything that has a strong odor of fumes can be a problem, especially if you are susceptible. Cigarette smoke is probably the No. 1 offender for sinuses. Try asking family members to smoke outside or, better yet, to give up the habit.

If you’re sensitive to pet dander, wash or clean your pets weekly.  As difficult as it is for pet owners, limiting exposure to your animals at night can help.