I suffer from chronic pain. The kind that just won’t stop. I constantly look for ways that help me deal with my pain with the least amount of medication possible. My pain comes from neurological problems caused by a paraneoplastic syndrome that was triggered by my fight with Stage IV Melanoma. Please read some of my other posts to see about my experiences with cancer and its many side effects. I also have a Facebook page that can be found at http://www.facebook.com/mcreyscope. I hope you find the following to be of some help in your own struggles with pain.
Endorphins are hormones made naturally in the body. And it has been shown that they can be as effective as many pain medications. When endorphins are released in the body, they can help to block pain signals from registering in the brain. They can also help to alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression, which are all conditions that are often associated with chronic pain of all types.
***Try some of the following activities to release these natural feel-good remedies:
Light exercise that you can tolerate can not only take your mind off your pain but also help the body deal with it naturally through the release of these feel-good hormones. When suffering from chronic pain, it is important to know your limitations. Just as exercise can help us deal with pain, it can also make pain worse. So some easy stretching or some regular isometric exercises may be helpful in a daily routine to help deal with chronic pain. I also find a low stress activity like a NuStep machine or some time on a stationary bike to be of help. But take it easy – don’t have a bad experience that makes you afraid of all exercise!
- Massage Therapy
Some with chronic pain are helped greatly by therapeutic massage. Often it needs to be with a soft touch and should be performed with someone who is experienced with treating chronic pain. For some, massage therapy can only make pain worse. So again, know what works for you. But for many, a good massage can release those endorphins and make life just a little bit more tolerable.
- Deep breathing
To be helpful, deep breathing is a specific relaxation technique that must be properly learned in order to be most effective. Concentrating on releasing those tense muscles as we breathe and letting those negative thoughts out of our body can help us feel the benefit of those good hormones that may help us deal with our pain.
Like deep breathing, meditation is another relaxation technique that must be learned from an experienced teacher. Simply being alone in a darkened room with our legs crossed will not get the job done. But when we do properly learn how to meditate, it is another tool that can help us deal with pain. Again, it can provide deep relaxation that can take our mind off our pain and hopefully help our body release endorphins that will help ease our pain.
Like massage, this is a treatment that benefits some but is useless to others. There is plenty of scientific evidence that supports its benefits but personally I have not found this treatment to be effective. But again, for those that it helps, it can be a way to help the body release those endorphins through therapeutic interventions on specific pressure points.
- Laughing and smiling
It is amazing what a good mood can do for pain. Or, just a good laugh upon hearing a funny joke. Our body reacts to a laugh from watching a movie or TV show or a smile from enjoying a good thought with a release of those endorphins. So, the more we can laugh and smile, the more good hormones will be flowing through our body helping us forget our pain for just a little while.
- Eating dark chocolate
Lots of scientific studies support the fact that dark chocolate helps the body produce endorphins – that’s why we feel better when we eat it. So a very enjoyable way to feel a little better, feel those good hormones and perhaps get a little pain relief along the way. But it’s not a regular Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, it’s that deep, dark chocolate that is bittersweet to the taste that is the most beneficial.
- Listening to great music
This technique is great for some and useless for others. For me, it is truly a godsend. When I lie down to take a short nap with music that I really like playing in the background, I can reach another level of relaxation that can allow me to better deal with my pain. So, this is another way that some people (like me) can help the body release those healing hormones and naturally find a little pain relief, even if it only lasts for a little while.
- Being with friends and family
Being with people and engaging in interesting conversation is another way to help the body release endorphins and find some temporary relief from chronic pain. When we are with people we like and are engaged in talking with them, our bodies find natural relief. And, this conduct helps us laugh and smile, further releasing endorphins helping us deal with pain. So, don’t be alone too much. Engage with friends and family. It’s good for you.