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Drug-free pain relief
4 techniques for reducing stress and alleviating pain
Published Tuesday, February 4, 2014
by Valecia Weeks, The Houston Forward-Times

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Therapeutic massages stimulate the body's natural painkillers.

With the popularity of phrases like “no pain…no gain,” you may dismiss pain in your body that just won’t go away as you just paying your dues.

When this occurs, some physicians are quick to prescribe the latest “heavy hitter” painkiller, but even prescription medications aren’t always enough. Besides. the side effects of some of the pain relieving meds can make you prefer being in pain instead of having to endure them.

However, leaving the pain untreated is not an option. Pain that just nags at you and continues to persist drives up the stress hormone cortisol, which can make certain ailments, such back pain for example, much worse.

While it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommended medication plan, you shouldn’t stop there. Try alleviating the pain with these calming techniques and remedies for dialing back those pain-boosting stress hormones:

Massage therapy - massage calls up the body’s natural painkillers.  It stimulates the release of endorphins, the morphine-like substance that the body naturally produces into the brain and nervous system.

Hot and cold - Ice packs can help reduce swelling and numb painful joints and muscles, but some folks prefer moist heat to ease aches. Others find the best relief from a combination of both.

Follow these basic guidelines: Use ice — never heat — in the first 48 hours after an injury, and make sure never to place an ice pack directly on the skin (use a paper towel or cotton lining). After the first 48 hours, use heat or alternate heat with cold. Not sure which is best? Check with your doctor.

Topical rubs - Over-the-counter or prescription analgesic creams containing arnica menthol, wintergreen, peppermint, camphor, or no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help soothe your pain. Ask your doctor whether combining topical analgesics with oral pain relievers might help even more.

Relaxing breaths - Deep-breathing exercises not only reduce the stress associated with pain, they may also help tame the pain itself. You can use deep breathing as an emergency pain- or stress-reducing measure. Better yet, make it a daily ritual to see if it dampens overall pain levels and bolsters your mood.

Even though you’re in pain, there is always hope. Hang in there and try some of these natural remedies to help alleviate your pain. For more information on massage as a therapy, visit www.assuringhands.massagetherapy.com.

Valecia Weeks, health editor for Houston Forward Times, is the owner of Assuring Hands Doula & Massage Care.  She is a professional licensed Massage therapist as well as a birth doula. Weeks also is licensed and certified in personal training with NESTA and ZUMBA. 


Lower back pain can be the most persistent and debilitating pain of all. However, doing physical 'spinal appeasing' exercises can bring comforting relief and spare you reaching for the pill bottle. You may like to see one of my pages here on www.simplebackpain.com where I take you through what you have to do yourself. See http://www.simplebackpain.com/backpainexercises.html
Posted on February 4, 2014

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