Natural Pain Relief

Chronic pain can put a big weight on a person's quality of life.  When daily aches and pains start adding up, it is important to know how to cope without constantly reaching for a pill that masks pain for the sake of immediate relief.  We have highlighted five simple strategies for reducing and preventing pain that is becoming a normal nuisance.

What can you do when you find yourself habitually reaching for that easy dose of Ibuprofen? How can you manage your pain if you are chronically concerned about how you are going to get through your daily activities?

Supplement.  When the body is deficient in vital nutrients, inflammation and pain can run rampant.  Food can be a major source of inflammation and taking action to ensure the right nutrition is supporting cellular integrity starts with nutritional supplements.  The most important supplements for all kinds of pain include: Food-based Multi-vitamin, Turmeric, Magnesium, and Omega 3 fatty acids.  Feeding your body at the cellular level will reduce inflammation, relax tense muscles, lubricate joints, and prevent future episodes of pain.

Water. Water is the first medicine.  When the body is dehydrated, pain is enhanced due to stagnant, tense, inflamed muscles and tissue.  Water will first flush toxins that have built up in the body and then start to hydrate the muscles.  DRINK WATER ALL DAY. Eat a variety of water-dense foods (fruits and vegetables).  Re-hydration takes time, so make it a goal to increase water intake over several weeks.  Buy a re-fillable bottle and make a goal of drinking at least 3 bottles per day.  If you are using the bathroom more, continue with the water and allow yourself the proper planning for more bathroom breaks.  (Reduced pain is far more important than the convenience of fewer potty breaks.)  

Water can also refer to the physical relief from immersion. Soaking in an epsom salt bath can do a lot for aching muscles.  Swimming is also a great way to relieve stress on joints and promote gentle muscle movements. 

Breathe. Sit up straight. Both feet flat on the floor. Relax your shoulders. Breathe until your belly fills up like a balloon.  Slowly exhale. Repeat. Breathing into pain is an effective strategy for relaxing tense muscles and fixing poor posture.  When the breath is chronically shallow (possibly due to pain) your body is flooding with stress hormones that bottleneck your energy and compromise circulation to your limbs and joints.  Make this a daily practice.  Ten slow deep breaths with good posture three times per day.  The body will get used to this pattern of breathing and with practice your breath will get better and so will your posture.

Acupressure.  Knowing how to release strategic pressure points on the body is a great tool for relieving pain.  Acupressure stimulates the same points as acupuncture and uses gentle but firm pressure of the hands to release muscular tension, promote blood circulation, and stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities.  There are three major points on the body that are fast-acting pain relievers.  

STOMACH 36 (ST36)    A soft area below the knee on the outside of the lower leg.                                                           

LARGE INTESTINE 4 (LI4) A tender point on the web of the hand between the base of the thumb and index finger. 

LIVER 3 (LV3) A soft tender point on the top of the foot between the first two toes.


Gentle Movement.  Stagnant muscles will not heal properly.  Even just 10-15 seconds of stretching can help lengthen tight, contracted muscles and increase blood flow.  Start by stretching wherever you feel pain (slight head tilting side to side or seated forward bend, for example).  Stretch to the point of discomfort- not pain- and hold for five slow, deep breaths.  Gradually work up to the point of feeling muscles release or a set of three stretches.   Yoga and tai chi practices help stretch and relax your muscles and soothe soreness and You Tube is a helpful source for videos that will guide you through gentle tai chi or yoga.  The important thing to remember, is that this may feel uncomfortable but do not force pain.  It is not important to make big progress all at once, but to simply open up the tense areas and promote better breathing and circulation, which will promote relaxation and ease of the stress response in the body.  Beginner Tai Qi   Gentle Chair Yoga for Chronic Pain  Yoga for Relaxation Beginner Yoga for Neck, Back, and Shoulder Pain

Cultivating Joy Workshop: January 26th

Join our health coach, Kerri Weishoff, for an evening of Cultivating Personal Joy

Learn how you can empower yourself to be calmer, have more energy, and navigate daily challenges.  Explore an introduction to mindfulness, breath work, and simple affirmations to guide you in staying balanced in every day life.

This is a free event, but registration is required.  Please register at the Greendale Library, or call: 414-423-2790.

4-7-8 Relaxing Breath Exercise

4-7-8 (relaxing breath) Exercise

"Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders."
Andrew Weil, M.D.

This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercisePlace the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.

  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four (4)

  • Hold your breath for a count of seven (7)

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight (8)

  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.

Take this exercise with you everywhere you go… traffic, the grocery line, your desk, watching tv, etc. Set an alarm on your phone if you need the reminder.  Just a few minutes per day may be the key to better stress management.