4 Steps to Starting on the Path of Natural Pain Relief

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

April 30th, 2010 • Mind-Body MedicinePrint Print

Unlike pharmaceutical-driven pain relief, natural pain relief is not something you can access in an instant, in pill or liquid form. Rather, natural pain relief comes from a dedicated practice of healing — identifying each and every opportunity you have to maximize your health & wellness, and siezing those opportunities. Here are 4 steps to starting on the path of natural pain relief:

1. Identify factors that exacerbate your pain levels.
Do you get stabs of nerve pain in your eyes, when you are around certain people? Does your pain jack up when you are sitting for long periods of time in front of the computer? Do you get pain flares the minute you arrive at work? Does your headache amp up when you imagine the worst-case scenario for an outcome?

2. Identify factors that lower your pain levels. 
Does your stomach pain seem to diminish when your nieces arrive? Can you walk more easily when it’s on the sand? Does your back soften when you are in a jacuzzi? Do you sleep more comfortably after reading positive affirmations?

3. Start the process of emphasizing and deemphasizing activites.
One baby step at a time, wherever and to whatever extent possible (even if just a tiny microshift), begin changing your behaviors. If reading affirmations has made you feel better before you go to sleep, keep a book on the nightstand, and commit to reading three brief affirmations each night, before turning out the lights. If a certain person triggers stabbing eye pain, get together with this person less frequently, and see how it feels.

4. Safely and gently experiment with additional behaviors.
Research reputable sources on what additional lifestyle changes may reduce pain levels, and begin experimenting with those that are the safest, easiest, and most appealing to you. For example, cutting down on or eliminating sugar is a less risky activity than trying chriopractic. Practicing meditation from a guided CD is less of a hassle than driving across town for a live class.

As you start on the path of natural pain relief, know that, as Martin Rossman, MD says, there will be “precious gains and painful losses.” Keep in mind that it may have taken you years to reach the state of pain and discomfort you’re in now. And so it may take you years to reach an alternate reality, with less or no pain and discomfort. Natural pain relief is not a quick-fix solution, but a dedicated practice of healing. May you be blessed on your journey down this path.

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