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10 Natural Remedies for Chronic Pain

By Jasmine Baily
from Bare Naturopath

Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. According to a recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020), one in five Australians aged 45 and over live with ongoing chronic pain. As a result, there is an increasing demand for natural therapies. However, it’s important to work with a qualified practitioner and discuss any potential risks or side effects. Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing chronic pain, and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for you.

So, what is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is characterised by persistent pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. Pain looks different on everyone, but common types of chronic pain include headaches, back pain, neck pain, and joint pain.

It’s crucial to understand that chronic pain can result from a range of factors, including injury, nerve damage or inflammation, as well as underlying medical conditions such as arthritis, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, or neuropathy. It’s also important to note that psychological factors like stress, anxiety, or depression can contribute to chronic pain.

Why are Natural Remedies needed for Chronic Pain?

People with chronic pain are nearly three times more likely to be prescribed opioids, analgesics, and migraine medication than those without pain. While these medications can be helpful, they also come with negative side effects and the potential for addiction. That’s why it’s important to consider natural options for chronic pain management. Not only are they safer and more holistic, but they also have the potential to address the underlying causes of chronic pain, rather than simply masking the symptoms.

10 Natural Remedies to Support Chronic Pain

So, without further ado, here’s the list you’ve been waiting for (unless you’ve already scrolled down to the bottom).

#1 Sleep and Rest

When we sleep, our bodies repair damaged tissues, which helps in facilitating the healing process. On the other hand, lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can make pain harder to manage, as our body hasn’t had the ability to repair overnight. Hence, it is important to prioritise good sleep hygiene habits, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime.

Resting is also vital for individuals with chronic pain as it can prevent overexertion and further injury. It gives our bodies a chance to recover and recharge, allowing us to manage pain and maintain physical function. However, it is important to balance rest with movement and activity to prevent deconditioning and maintain strength and flexibility.

#2 Exercise

Following on from our last point, regular physical activity can strengthen muscles and improve flexibility. Exercise also releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling, yoga, and walking are excellent options for individuals with chronic pain.

In addition to reducing pain, exercise can improve mood, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being. Multiple studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce pain intensity and improve physical function in individuals with chronic pain, including those with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and chronic low back pain. Amazing!

#3 Mindfulness, Meditation and Deep Breathing Exercises

Mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and anxiety, which we know can make pain worse. By paying more attention to thoughts and feelings, individuals can better manage their pain and reduce its impact on their daily lives. Deep breathing exercises can also help to reduce muscle tension, which can contribute to pain.

#4 A Good Diet

With pain, often comes inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection, but can cause serious discomfort, pain, and swelling. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources can help reduce inflammation and promote overall health.

To further reduce inflammation, it is important to avoid processed foods and refined sugars which are known to cause inflammation in the body. Instead, focus on consuming healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds. Drinking enough water and limiting alcohol and caffeine intake can also help reduce inflammation and pain.

#5 Cold and Heat Application

Cold therapy can help reduce inflammation and swelling, as well as numb the area to reduce pain. It is often recommended by medical professionals for treating acute injuries such as sprains and strains but may also be useful during an acute flare up. Heat therapy can be useful for soothing sore muscles and relieving stiffness. It is often used to treat chronic pain conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

In some cases, alternating between cold and heat therapy can be particularly effective for managing chronic pain. For example, you may find relief by applying cold therapy for 20 minutes, followed by heat therapy for 20 minutes. However, using heat or cold therapy requires caution, as extreme temperatures can cause burns or other injuries.

#6 Essential Oils

Some essential oils, such as peppermint oil and lavender oil, have been shown to have analgesic properties and can help reduce pain and inflammation when applied topically or inhaled. These oils can also help with relaxation and stress reduction. It is important to note that essential oils should be used with caution and under the guidance of a qualified practitioner, as they can be powerful and should not be ingested!

#7 Sun Exposure

We know that sun exposure is our main source of Vitamin D, but do we know why Vitamin D is so important? Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce pain and inflammation in the body.

Several studies have found that individuals with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and chronic low back pain, have low levels of vitamin D, which has found to increase pain. Regular exposure to sunlight or taking vitamin D supplements can help reduce pain and improve quality of life.

It is recommended to limit sun exposure to early morning or late afternoon when the sun is less intense, wear protective clothing and sunscreen, and discuss any potential risks with a qualified practitioner.

#8 Grounding

Grounding, also known as earthing, is a practice that involves connecting the body to the earth’s surface through bare skin contact. This can be done by walking barefoot on grass, sand, or soil, or by using conductive mats or sheets that are connected to the earth. The theory behind grounding is that it helps to balance the body’s electrical charge, which can become disrupted due to factors such as stress, inflammation, and electromagnetic radiation. Some studies have suggested that grounding may have benefits for pain reduction, inflammation, and sleep quality, although more research is needed to confirm these effects.

#9 Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA)

PEA, or palmitoylethanolamide, is a naturally occurring fatty acid that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It works by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory molecules and interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate pain and inflammation. Studies have shown that PEA can be effective in reducing pain and improving physical function in individuals with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, and osteoarthritis.

It is important to note that PEA is a product that can only be dispensed by a qualified health professional. Please consult with your healthcare provider to determine if taking PEA is suitable for you.

#10 Medicinal Cannabis

Medicinal cannabis, sometimes called medical marijuana, is the use of the cannabis sativa plant for any medical purpose. Cannabis has been shown to have pain-relieving properties due to its active compounds, called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids also interact with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which helps to regulate pain and inflammation. Some studies have found that cannabis can be effective in reducing pain and improving physical function in individuals with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, and multiple sclerosis. However, it’s important to note that the use of cannabis for medical purposes is currently a controversial topic and it may not be legal or appropriate for everyone. Only registered Australian Doctors can apply for approval to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes. It’s best to discuss the potential risks and benefits with a qualified practitioner before considering cannabis as a treatment option.

Remember that it’s okay to ask for help. Consider making an appointment with a naturopath, acupuncturist, massage therapist, chiropractor, or other allied health professional to help you manage your pain naturally.

More about the author

Jasmine Baily
Jasmine Baily
– Bare Naturopath

Jasmine is a qualified Naturopath and Exercise Scientist who specialises in Mental and Behavioural Conditions.

She previously studied a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science, which led her to study Naturopathy after discovering how diet and lifestyle changes could significantly improve chronic health conditions. It was her own experiences, as well as those of her family and friends, with a range of mental and behavioural conditions that led her to focus on this area. Her passion now lies in helping those experiencing ADHD, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, stress, or chronic pain.

Jasmine's focus is to support you as an individual by providing knowledge and empowerment on your health journey, while cutting through all the hype about modern health and simplifying things. Bookings can be made via