If you are one of the millions of Americans suffering from chronic pain you may be looking for alternatives to the pills in your medicine cabinet. The problem is that we don’t like to feel pain. Our body’s natural response is to stop doing whatever causes pain, or not do things that have caused us pain in the past. The truth is that getting up and moving may be the best choice. Adding physical therapy, exercise and a few known methods to release our body’s natural painkillers called endorphins is a good place to start.
Physical therapists can guide you safely through exercises, stretches and other therapies that can alleviate pain over time reducing the need for medications. They are experts at customizing exercises, stretches and other treatments that will help not hurt the affected area. Having their guidance will also relieve the anxiety you may feel when you are experiencing pain. They are trained to know what pain you should be feeling through the healing process and what pain is a warning to stop the activity. In addition, physical therapists can reduce the pain as your body heals by adding the use of TENS units, ultrasound therapy, traction, dry needling, etc... The state of the art physical therapy center at NewSouth NeuroSpine offers our patients specialized treatment for a wide variety of diagnoses, including neck and back pain, pre and post-operative care, and rehabilitation for the competitive athlete. Physicians guide each patient’s physical therapy treatment, and our caring and knowledgeable staff is there with the patient every step of the way.
Interestingly, our bodies produce their own painkillers called endorphins. These chemicals get their name from the term endogenous which means inside, and the drug morphine. Endorphin literally means the morphine effect originating inside the body. There are several known ways to get your body to release endorphins naturally. Here are some things to try...
Eat dark chocolate - Dark chocolate has many health benefits and one is the release of endorphins to block pain.
Laugh - It is well proven that laughter releases endorphins, there are even 'laughter yoga' classes!
Get some sunshine - 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure a day can help the body produce vitamin D. People who get the recommended daily 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D experience less pain than those who don't. Scientists aren't sure how it works, but it does.
Eat spicy foods - Enjoying spicy foods that burn your tongue cause your brain to release endorphins...habaneros anyone?
Exercise -You've heard of the "runner's high.” In truth all aerobic exercise releases endorphins, so find an exercise that is comfortable for you.
Get a massage - Massage and exercise release endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals naturally make you feel good.
You should try all of the above in one day...it might be the best day you've ever had!