A Comprehensive Guide to Chronic Pain Relief
If you’re dealing with chronic pain, it’s easy to feel like you’re alone. However, you’re not. The CDC states that around 20% of American adults are impacted by chronic pain, with 7% reporting that it significantly limited work or life activities. Besides physical distress, enduring pain can cause emotional and mental distress. Fortunately, there are solutions for minimizing your distress and improving your quality of life. Keep reading to explore a wide range of chronic pain relief options.
How Our Bodies Feel Pain
To understand how chronic pain occurs, look at how the body feels it in the first place. Pain signals start at the body’s nociceptors, which activate in response to potential or actual injuries. They travel to the spinal cord and up to the brain, where the thalamus attempts to interpret the signal. Your limbic system also receives signals, provoking an emotional response to the pain.
Acute vs. Chronic Pain
Modern science is still trying to unravel the mystery of chronic pain. Right now, we do know that it lies in how our bodies communicate pain signals to the brain. With acute pain, the nociceptors stop sending signals after an injury heals or pain-causing stimuli are no longer present. However, with chronic pain, the nociceptors don’t stop signaling. This may result from continuous tissue damage, as happens with arthritis. In other cases, nociceptors keep firing even when there’s no injury present.
Impacts of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can impact your body and mind in many ways. The constant pain signals put greater stress on your body. Even the nerves involved may be rewired from the ongoing stimulation, becoming even more sensitive. With no reprieve, you may experience sleeping problems, reduced appetite, difficulty staying active and even memory and concentration issues. The emotional toll includes anxiety, depression, fear and social isolation.
Multiple Treatment Approaches
All these effects can compromise your health and quality of life. That’s why it’s important to find solutions that work best for you. Pain relief options include medication, physical therapy, integrative pain relief treatments and psychological therapies. You may benefit from more than one type of treatment. A multi-pronged approach with natural pain relief methods tackles different aspects of your chronic pain to provide the best possible outcomes.
Pain-Reducing Breathing Techniques
Sometimes you may take breathing for granted, but it’s a fundamental process that keeps you alive. It provides oxygen to your lungs and in turn your blood and vital organs. Pain, anxiety and stress can affect how you breathe. You may take shallow and rapid breaths, which can make you dizzy, lightheaded and even more anxious. Instead, you can harness this basic function to help relieve pain when it’s intense and overwhelming.
The 4-7-8 Method
Like many breathing techniques, the 4-7-8 method forces you to slow and deep breaths to promote calm and relaxation. Before getting started, you’ll want to sit or lie down comfortably in an undisturbed room or space. Gently touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, then start the breathing exercises:
- Exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
- Breathe in through your nose while counting silently to four.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Exhale for eight seconds while making a whooshing sound.
Other Breathing Techniques
If the 4-7-8 method doesn’t work for you, then try other versions. Alternate nostril breathing is one popular option. Its practice is relatively simple: You close off one nostril, breathe through it, then exhale through the opposite nostril. There’s also belly breathing, which involves relaxing your abdomen and inhaling through your nose, channeling the breath downward so your belly expands. Mindful breathing lets you repeat a calming focus phrase silently while inhaling or exhaling. Many more methods exist, so experiment to find one that works best for you.
Exercise as Pain Relief
Believe it or not, light exercise can help reduce chronic pain. Physical activity minimizes pain sensitivity because it affects the nervous system’s pain-signaling process. It triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin, which also curtail pain signals. Exercise builds flexibility and muscle strength, increasing range of motion and muscular support for your joints. Finally, exercise may reduce inflammation and fatigue while helping you get better quality sleep.
Before starting any exercise program, it’s best to consult with your doctor. Besides the conditions that cause your chronic pain, you should be aware of anything else that may limit your activities: heart problems, circulation issues, diabetes, kidney diseases or cancer. It’s also wise to talk to your physician if you normally live a sedentary lifestyle. Jumping into intense exercise isn’t a good idea: Your doctor can give you advice on how to ease into physical activity and avoid injuries. If you have heart disease, you may be referred to a cardiac rehab program.
Physical Therapy and Pain Treatment
A well-constructed exercise program may help minimize chronic pain. Besides a self-designed fitness program, your doctor may recommend a physical therapy program. PT offers many of the same benefits as your exercise program while providing professional guidance for ways to alleviate your pain. A PT program can include several elements: low-impact aerobics, strength training and pain relief exercises. You may also use heat or cold packs.
Integrative Pain Relief Options
Other natural pain relief products use an integrative approach. These include acupuncture, massage and TENS therapy. Each deals with the chronic pain problem through unique methods.
Acupuncture is derived from the traditional Chinese practice of stimulating specific points in the human body. It’s based on the idea that the life force, or qi, must flow properly along certain pathways for optimal health. While the original method involves inserting very fine needles into the skin, modern practitioners may perform acupuncture techniques through physical pressure, lasers or ultrasound.
If your pain originates from soft tissues, massage therapy may be an impactful treatment option. It can complement other methods such as physical therapy and hot tub use. Massage can relax tight muscles and tendons, and it can also alleviate stress and anxiety. Some soft tissue massage techniques focus on improving circulation or retraining the nerves to improve how the body sends and processes pain signals.
Mind-body practices do exactly what the term implies: They involve both the mind and body. Techniques such as yoga and tai chi can relieve stress and promote better mental health, along with helping improve balance, strength and stability.
Mindfulness techniques include the breathing exercises discussed earlier, but there’s a diverse collection of other practices you can choose from. After all, meditation comes in many forms. You may opt for guided meditations online, attend in-person practice with an instructor or try walking meditation. You can even meditate using repetitive tasks such as washing dishes.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation relies on mild electrical currents to reduce pain signals, relax the muscles and trigger the release of endorphins. It uses a TENS unit, a small device with electrodes that attach to your skin. The machine emits small electrical pulses to areas where you experience pain. TENS is used for a wide range of conditions that cause pain. Before starting TENS therapy, be sure to talk with your physician.
Consider a Hot Tub for Pain Relief
Chronic pain can seriously impact your health and quality of life. Thankfully, you don’t have to keep suffering. Having a hot tub in your own backyard is like having unlimited access to a personal masseuse. Anytime your back aches, your neck hurts, or you feel worn out, step into your spa and enjoy its powerful jet massages. The hot water combined with therapeutic jets are sure to make a difference in your life.
Soaking in a hot tub is a popular and helpful option for combating joint and muscle pain. People affected by arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle or joint sprains, injuries, back pain, chronic pain syndrome and similar conditions can benefit from this natural pain relief method. The water’s heat and movement attack muscle and joint pain from several angles:
- Heat causes your blood vessels to expand, encouraging better blood flow and carrying toxins away from your muscles so they can relax.
- Improved circulation also helps circulate thickened synovial fluid that may cause joint stiffness.
- Water’s buoyancy supports your body, reducing gravitational forces on your muscles and joints.
- Water jets can lightly massage your muscles, which can also alleviate stiffness and inflammation.
Does a Spa Really Help? Hear From Other Customers
“We got our bullfrog delivered 2 weeks ago today! We love it so much. My husband and I both suffer from chronic pain and injuries so having a hot tub before bed each night has made a world of difference! Even our chiropractor is so impressed at how much easier it makes his job! I would recommend one for sure!” – Kristy A.
“The spa has changed my life, literally. I sleep better. I feel better. It is a stress reducer and the muscle tightness I feel in my neck and back is substantially reduced. I can’t believe I lived this long without it.” – Jean L.
“I should have bought a Bullfrog 10 years ago!The whole family loves our new Bullfrog spa and I wish I would have purchased it 10 years ago. I have a great deal of back problems and this has made a big improvement in my quality of life. I just slip into it every night for about 30 minutes and it helps to reduce the pain and fatigue of the long and stressful days.” – Mike C.
“I’m really happy with my purchase of Bullfrog spa. It’s my best medicine for chronic pain. I feel rejuvenated after soaking and feeling the jets relax my tense muscles. I don’t know how I would be able to start my day without it.” – Betsy W.
Learn More About Bullfrog Spas
Bullfrog Spas are the only hot tubs that can be personalized just for you. Our patented JetPak Therapy System allows you to choose between 18 JetPak massages, each with a unique combination of jet types and placements. You then place the JetPak in your favorite seat and can interchange or upgrade at any time. Choose the JetPaks with the massages that target your aches and pains and even adjust the massage power with ease.
Design a Spa Online, Get an Instant Price Quote
Purchasing a hot tub isn’t just an investment; it’s a lifestyle change that will benefit your entire family. Only you can decide if a spa is a good investment for you. Use our online Design Studio tool to select your model, JetPaks, and accessories. Once you’re done, you’ll receive an instant price quote.