NCTV Episode 30
Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-
- When & where to seek help
- Low impacted exercises
- Relaxation techniques
- Anti-inflammatory foods and ones to avoid
- A cute cat with the right idea
If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-
Hello and welcome to NCTV Episode 30 which is about how to manage muscle and joint pain without the use of painkillers.
I should start by saying that chemistry definitely has its place and can be brilliant where used appropriately.
However, there are occasions where you may not want to become overly reliant on drugs, you may have been using them for too long a period of time resulting in stomach ulcers, liver damage, addiction or other side effects. Also, the pain may only be mild and you’d rather seek an alternative solution to pain killers.
Short term, if you do have a low pain threshold, pain killers can be useful to give you some respite while the body is going through the healing process, although they do mask the problem which can lead to further injury if you’re not careful.
Pain signals in the muscles and joints, as much as we may not like them, are actually a good thing in a way because it’s our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong, we’ve pushed ourselves too far or that something needs addressing, which we can then deal with.
So first of all, when in pain, it’s always best to look for the root cause of the problem. In some cases, you know straight away what that is, whether it be a sports injury, fall, repetitive strain or a postural fatigue issue.
Other times, it may not be quite so obvious and on those occasions it’s good to seek outside help to get the bottom of it, in the form of an osteopath in my case or another healthcare professional who will take an in depth look at your situation, health & lifestyle to provide treatment and advice accordingly, without the use of painkillers where possible.
Other natural ways to manage mild pain can be to increase your low impact exercise which may seem counter intuitive but this has been shown to improve pain and psychological wellbeing. Some of the types of exercises that fall into this category may be swimming, walking, using a cross trainer machine or taking Pilates or Yoga classes to build strength or improve posture. Likewise, it should be said that faster of higher impact exercises are to be avoided in the short term and if the pain worsens with an exercise then be sure to modify the type or intensity accordingly.
Using hot or cold therapy in the form of gel packs can be useful, hot for longer term chronic problems, cold for more acute recent issues, apply for about 10 minutes at a time and as often as required. You can also alternate between the two but if you do so, you should start and end with the cold.
Relaxation techniques can also help. Experiencing pain can cause stress, stress can increase pain perception as you tend to tense up more which puts pressure on the nerves around the source of pain and this can carry on in a viscous cycle which needs to be broken. Therefore, reducing stress has been proven to help reduce pain levels.
How to do this, well that’s a whole topic on its own but a few ways may be to try meditation and breathing exercises, visualisation, talk to a friend, family member or a health professional, you could try yoga or tai chi, go for a massage, listen to some relaxing music or undertake something creative.
Making sure you get enough restorative sleep is something else you can do to manage pain that gets overlooked. This has been proven to help every aspect of your health, wellbeing and physiology so be sure to make getting your 8 hours sleep a priority.
This next point sounds obvious but needs to be said, if you’re overworking then you need to increase the amount of rest you get.
Finally, making some small changes to your diet can make a big difference to pain levels. Certain foods can reduce inflammation, help to maintain a healthy immune system and build stronger bones to support joints, whereas others can actually cause inflammation and acute joint pain.
Ingredients containing anti-inflammatories include ginger, turmeric, garlic, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, fish, oils and seeds.
To boost Calcium and Vitamin C to strengthen your bones, then adding kale, chia seeds, spinach and almonds to your diet can help, if you’d rather avoid dairy that is.
The reason I say that is because cows milk and other dairy products contain fats that can promote inflammation.
Other foods to be avoided as these can cause inflammation are wheat, sugar and caffeine so substituting these foods for alternatives could help improve your symptoms.
That’s it for this week’s bitesize bit to help your health flourish, see you time, bye bye.