Chronic pain. It comes in many forms: back pain, arthritis, improperly healed injuries, nerve damage. Millions of people from all walks of life experience it. According to ABC News, over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. If you, like millions of other Americans, have chronic pain, it may seem as if relief is impossible to find. But it isn’t. I have three effective, easy-to-achieve, and medication-free ways to combat chronic pain, and allow you to take control of your life once again.
Try the MELT Method
As you can imagine, I am a big fan of self-care and because the profession of massage therapy can be hard on my body, I constantly seek out new methods of addressing pain and stiffness. I began learning the MELT Method with Michelle, a colleague of mine. In case you are not familiar with it, Sue Hitzmann, the creator of the MELT Method, describes it as “a simple self-treatment that reduces chronic pain and helps you stay healthy, youthful, and active for a lifetime.” Those are big claims to make, so I had to give it a go.
To start, I have been doing a very simple routine that addresses my hands and my feet. I use a small rubber ball under particular points on my hands and under my feet, “melting” the tissue. Although similar to the advice I give clients with foot or sciatic pain, which is to roll a tennis ball under their feet a few times a day, these exercises include very specific movements. I notice an immediate difference in the tension of my body after the exercises, especially in my feet and lower legs. It definitely helps the tension in my arms and hands as well.
For anyone who has chronic pain and stiffness, I would recommend this self-treatment as part of their wellness plan. It is easy to learn and the tools are reasonably priced. It could even be done at the office for a nice break from desk work. Give your body some much deserved attention and schedule a MELT class. Here in Kansas City, I highly recommend Michelle at Wellness Works!
Get More Massages
Massage therapy can be very helpful with chronic pain as well. A regular 60-minute full body massage will definitely help your brain to override pain stimuli and relax. Modalities like myofascial release focus specifically on the interconnected web of tissue in your body called fascia. More and more scientists are starting to recognize that when the fascia is injured or affected, it can cause lingering pain throughout the body. Myofascial release is wonderful for loosening up stiff or immovable areas and ridding the body of discomfort.
Like any kind of treatment, one massage every couple of months won’t do much for you except give you a temporary release from pain. To truly combat chronic pain, I highly advise scheduling a monthly massage session to effectively manage your pain.
Switch to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Chronic pain is often the result of inflamed tissue and fascia. This inflammation, which is thought to lead to cancer, can lay waste to your body and keep you in constant agony. But what if you could reduce this inflammation simply by changing your eating habits?
I advise my clients that have chronic pain issues to consider changing their diets to a non-inflammatory one. Eliminate inflammatory foods like processed foods and grains and make the switch to more vegetables and fruits that are packed with nutrition. Spices like turmeric, ginger and garlic are also amazing anti-inflammatory agents that can be easily incorporated into your diet. By living on an anti-inflammatory diet, you will offer your body a better foundation to battle inflammation and the pain that comes with it.
When you live with chronic pain, life seems to be put on hold. You can’t move freely like you once did, and often your quality of living becomes severely impaired. I hope you found these medication-free ways of combatting your pain effective! You deserve to find relief from whatever it is that is ailing you.