If you’re looking for alternative chronic pain relief in the wave of the opioid crackdown, you are not alone. While I’ve been advocating for the use of natural remedies for years, I think the need for them has now reached critical mass.
The War on Chronic Pain Patients Is Real
Many patients don’t understand why there seems to be a sudden war on prescription pain medication. I’m one of them. From what I do understand, the opioid crackdown is an incredibly misguided attempt to reduce death from opioid overdose. This would be helpful if this “crackdown” was helping people addicted to, say, heroin, not affecting chronic pain patients who use these drugs as prescribed.
A patient in Oregon explained it this way:
“My body is addicted, not my mind,” she said. “I learned a saying long ago: ‘The drug addict takes drugs to escape life. A pain patient takes drugs to return to life.’ We’re not looking to escape. We want to participate.”
Doctors who used to have no problem dispensing pain relievers now hesitate to even pick up a prescription pad.
As explained in the article linked above, “Doctors who are disciplined [for prescribing opioids] could lose the ability to prescribe medication, or have their license suspended or revoked. Sixty-five doctors in Oregon were disciplined in 2016. The OMB also writes ‘letters of concern’ to some doctors who aren’t disciplined.”
Because of this, people are either losing access to their pain medications, or they are being given a much lower dosage.
In this comprehensive article, we will explore five distinct types of natural pain relievers that can help ease your suffering through this frightening and confusing time:
- Pain-Relieving Gadgets
- Useful Tools for Chronic Pain Relief
- Alternative Healing Techniques
- Dietary Changes
- Natural Remedies & Supplements
I’m not going to lie and say that natural chronic pain remedies are going to give you the kind of relief you get from your prescription painkillers.
However, I will tell you that the right combination of alternative remedies has offered a great deal of relief for those living with chronic pain.
Let’s take a closer look at your natural healing options:
#1 – Pain-Relieving Gadgets
- TENS Machine
The first pain-relieving gadget I’ll mention is one of my personal favorites: The TENS machine. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and it relieves pain by using a low-voltage electric current.
If that sounds a little scary to you, I understand. I felt the same way before I tried one myself.
Good news! You don’t feel an electric shock when you use a TENS unit. Instead, you experience a variety of pulsing, tingling, and muscle movement sensations, depending on the settings you use.
The muscle contractions you’ll feel are a response to your muscles being massaged by the electric current. Instead of an outside force like a massage therapist or a motorized massager, the electrical impulses safely and effectively contract and loosen your muscles from the inside.
Research has shown that using a TENS unit can increase your body’s production of natural painkillers, called endorphins. This means that you’ll not only be able to treat your immediate pain, regular use of the machine may decrease the severity of the pain you experience during future flares!
Moreover, studies have shown that a TENS machine can help reduce inflammation, which automatically lessens pain and discomfort.
Important Note: Read the instructions carefully before using your unit. While safe, there are certain parts of the body on which a TENS machine is not meant to be used. Furthermore, if you have a pacemaker, you should avoid using a TENS machine of any kind.
This is the TENS machine I currently use, and I can’t say enough good things about it!
- OSKA Pulse
The OSKA Pulse is another popular and well-received alternative pain-relieving gadget. It has gotten rave reviews on many chronic illness websites and appears to be helping a lot of people reduce their pain and lead more active lives.
When your cells are injured or degenerated, they lose their electrical potential and are no longer able to exchange ions. This causes inflammation and pain.
OSKA Pulse uses optimized PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) to restore the electrical potential cells need to receive nutrients and oxygen.
This process stimulates cellular regeneration, which relieves pain and activates your body’s natural recovery process.
Unlike a TENS, you won’t “feel” any pulsing or tingling when using an OSKA Pulse. Optimized PEMF is intended for you to “feel nothing” (although some people do notice a slight warming of the afflicted area due to increased blood flow).
To learn more about how OSKA Pulse can help you (and to try one for yourself), click on the photo below.
Those living with chronic pain have also been raving about the Quell.
Quell has been cleared by the FDA for both day and night treatment of chronic pain. It is 100% drug-free, patented technology that has been proven to fight chronic pain.
The Quell is versatile in its ability to treat low back pain, nerve pain, arthritic and joint pain, leg and foot pain, and even widespread pain.
The Quell is always worn on your upper calf to stimulate sensory nerves.
This pain-relieving gadget uses innovative neurotechnology to block your body’s pain signals, leading to widespread pain relief.
In addition, it is designed to be wearable, comfortable, and discreet.
To experience the Quell for yourself, click on the photo below.
#2 – Useful Tools for Chronic Pain Relief
- Shiatsu Massager
I have chronic, intermittent upper back and shoulder spasms, and trying to give yourself a massage with your hands when you’re in that much pain is almost impossible. Thankfully, I discovered a shiatsu massager years ago and fell in love with it.
If you have deep muscle pain, spasms, and knots, I highly recommend a shiatsu massager. I turn it on and let it dig into my back so hard, it leaves bruises. Unfortunately, that’s the only way I can get the kinks out of my neck when it decides to flare up.
(I don’t mind. I’ll take bruising over spasms any day.)
Important Note: I wouldn’t recommend a shiatsu for fibromyalgia patients since the massage is intense and can aggravate symptoms. I’d go with a pain-relieving gadget such as a TENS, Pulse, or Quell instead.
Massage is wonderful for your health as it increases blood circulation, calms and soothes, creates a feeling of numbness in treated areas, and encourages a deeper sleep.
This is the shiatsu massager I’ve been using for years, and I highly recommend it:
But, if I decide to upgrade, I may go for this one because heat provides that extra soothing comfort when you’re in a flare.
- Weighted Blanket
When you think of a weighted blanket, you may immediately think of an autistic person or someone with anxiety. While weighted objects offer soothing and peaceful relief to those individuals (of which I am both, by the way), a weighted blanket can also be used as a natural pain reliever!
This is because added weight causes the release of serotonin, your body’s own natural “feel-good” chemical.
This helps give you a calmer, more relaxed feeling while reducing sensory overload and encouraging deep, restorative sleep.
- Compression Clothing
Compression therapy is another type of alternative pain relief you can turn to if you experience swelling as a result of your chronic condition.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, the pressure applied by compression clothing boosts blood circulation, which helps reduce swelling and promote healing in the affected area(s).
Compression therapy also increases heat in the affected area(s), which can help relieve stiffness.
Another advantage of compression therapy is its ability to aid in the prevention of dangerous blood clots.
The type of compression therapy you choose will depend on which parts of your body are most affected.
Here are a few options to get you started:
– Arthritis gloves
– Compression socks
– Compression sleeves
#3 – Alternative Healing Techniques
- The Emotional Freedom Technique
The Emotional Freedom Technique is one of the best alternative healing techniques for chronic pain because it’s absolutely free, and it can be done with no tools whatsoever!
EFT is believed to work by tapping into your body’s natural ability to heal while releasing emotional blocks that can interfere with recovery.
According to a randomized trial, women with fibromyalgia who participated in an 8-week EFT program conducted over the Internet experienced a significant reduction in pain, anxiety, depression, rumination, magnification, and feelings of helplessness.
By contrast, vitality, social function, and activity levels were all greatly improved.
This video gives you a complete step-by-step guide on how to do the technique.
Acupuncture is an ancient alternative healing technique that is doing quite successfully in modern times. Acupuncture uses small needles on meridian points of your body. This action is believed to stimulate endorphins while releasing emotional blocks to healing.
Animal and human studies have shown that acupuncture can significantly reduce pro-inflammatory markers, thereby reducing chronic pain naturally.
Although modern medicine often dismisses the result of acupuncture as “the placebo effect”, a study may prove otherwise. According to an article published in Time magazine, patients were divided into one group that received sham treatments and those who received genuine acupuncture.
The conclusion? The effects of the acupuncture were statistically significant and different from those of the sham treatments. In other words, acupuncture really works!
When looking for a practitioner, be sure that the person is licensed, certified, and/or registered to practice acupuncture.
When considering an acupuncturist, don’t hesitate to ask about their training and experience.
After all, this is your body they are going to be working on!
To find a practitioner in your area, visit:
As I mentioned in the gadgets section above, massage is an incredible natural pain-relieving tool. It has been shown to increase serotonin, which provides natural pain relief, increases your range of motion, lowers anxiety, improves mood, and stimulates immunity.
According to a published study, individuals who received a 45-minute massage showed an increase in their lymphocytes, which are the white blood cells that play a sizeable role in defending the body from disease.
Furthermore, massage participants also had lower levels of cytokines, which are molecules that a play a role in inflammation.
To learn more about the health benefits of massage and to find a massage therapist in your area, visit:
#4 – Dietary Changes
Anybody who lives with an autoimmune or chronic pain condition has absolutely no business being anywhere near inflammatory foods. It’s that simple.
Which is why one of the best (but often most grumbled about) natural treatments for chronic pain is dietary changes.
- Gluten-Free Diet
A gluten-free diet is a virtual must for anyone with a chronic condition. Gluten is highly inflammatory even to those who don’t experience the typical signs and symptoms of gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
According to a study published by Rheumatology International, 20 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, who experienced chronic musculoskeletal pain, asthenia, and irritable bowel syndrome, were placed on a gluten-free diet.
After follow-up, participants were considered to have “gone into remission” if they could return to work, return to a normal life, and/or discontinue the use of their opioid medications.
Results from the study:
“The level of widespread chronic pain improved dramatically for all patients; for 15 patients, chronic widespread pain was no longer present, indicating remission of FM. Fifteen patients returned to work or normal life. In three patients who had been previously treated in pain units with opioids, these drugs were discontinued. Fatigue, gastrointestinal symptoms, migraine, and depression also improved together with pain. Patients #2 and #3, both with oral aphthae, went into complete remission for psoriatic arthritis and undifferentiated spondyloarthritis.”
Not sure where to begin on a gluten-free diet? I’ve got you covered! Click on the link below to read my step-by-step article series on how to eliminate gluten safely, sanely, and without breaking the bank.
- Organic Vegetable Juicing
Organic vegetable juicing is another excellent way to significantly reduce pain, nourish your body, and reverse disease.
According to a study published in the Journal of Obesity, diet and inflammation are closely linked via the immune system.
This means that you have the ability to either increase or decrease inflammation and pain based on what you choose to eat and drink.
From the study:
“The linkage of diet and inflammation lies within the innate immune system. The innate immune system is the most primitive part of our overall immunological response. As a result, it has been conserved for hundreds of millions of years of evolution and is sensitive to nutrients. More importantly, its activation of the inflammatory response is based on primitive pattern recognition. This is why the diet remains intimately connected to the regulation of inflammation. Certain food components can activate the inflammatory process of the innate immune system, and others can inhibit it.”
A body nourished by the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients densely packed into fresh-pressed organic juice can do amazing things.
If the thought of juicing when you’re already in pain has you giving your screen a dirty look right now, I understand. It’s not easy to juice when you barely have the energy to stand, and it’s not an inexpensive process, either.
Worth it? Absolutely! Attainable for everyone? No.
Thankfully, there are companies that provide juice that has already been pressed and bottled.
Click on the links below to check them out!
- Eliminate Inflammatory Foods
I can’t say this enough, it is vitally important that you eliminate inflammatory foods from your diet immediately if you’re living with a chronic pain or autoimmune condition.
These foods include:
If you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system is already trying to kill you. Keeping artificial colors, flavors, and additives in your diet will only make it try to kill you harder.
#5 – Natural Remedies & Supplements
When magnesium levels fall, researchers note a profound increase of inflammatory cytokines present, along with increased levels of histamine.
Moreover, magnesium deficiency contributes to an exaggerated response to immune stress and oxidative stress, which is both a cause and a consequence of the inflammatory response.
Magnesium modulates cellular events involved in inflammation, thereby reducing pain naturally. This mineral is also effective in treating anxiety and insomnia naturally.
This is the brand I use and trust.
Turmeric is one of the most popular natural remedies for chronic pain because it has so much scientific research to support its efficacy.
For example, according to a study published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial agent.
This healing spice significantly reduces inflammation by blocking cytokines and enzymes, including cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2).
Turmeric has been used successfully to treat arthritis pain and improve overall brain function. Furthermore, it has been shown to aid in the natural treatment of depression.
Important Note: High doses of turmeric can act as a blood thinner and cause stomach upset. Avoid turmeric/curcumin if you take blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), are about to have surgery, are pregnant, or have gallbladder disease.
Some more important information to consider: Research has shown that Bioperine (another name for piperine), enhances absorption of curcumin by 2,000 percent.
Click on the link below to try a highly-recommended curcumin supplement containing Bioperine.
MSM is methylsulfonylmethane, an organic sulfur-containing compound that has been shown to lower inflammation, improve immune system function, and help restore healthy bodily tissue.
Research has shown that MSM can act as a natural pain reliever and help decrease swelling and throbbing while improving your range of motion.
It seems to be especially beneficial when combined with other natural anti-inflammatory treatments.
According to a study published in Nutrients, MSM reduces inflammation by helping the body to inhibit inflammatory cytokines and reduce the number of immune cells mistakenly attacking the wrong parts of your body (autoimmunity).
MSM is also a powerful antioxidant and immune modulator.
From the study:
“Chronic exposure to stressors can have detrimental effects to the immune system as it becomes desensitized or over-stressed and unable to elicit a typical immune response.”
In layman’s terms, MSM helps your body cope with the stress of a chronic illness while also reducing the amount of time and effort your immune system spends attacking you.
I’ve been using Life Extension products for a few years now, and I have to say I trust them because they are one of the few supplement companies that do not add unnecessary (and potentially inflammation-inducing) preservatives, colors, or other junk.
The war on chronic pain patients is far from over, and things are going to get worse before they get better. However, the right tools will give you the power to fight back and take control of your life.
I hope you found this list helpful. Whatever happens, you are not alone, and we will get through this together.
Chronic stomach pain and autoimmune problems? Click on the photo below to sign up for your FREE 3-part training guide, and learn to “Love Your Guts”!
Photo of woman using massager in office courtesy of https://www.yourbestdigs.com/