There isn’t a shortage for natural tips when it comes to alleviating pain. Simply search the #naturalpainrelief hashtag on Instagram and you can easily sift through hours of content. Here are my top five go-to strategies to help the body heal faster after an acute (i.e., it just happened) injury.
By Dr. Lauren Millman
We all do it. You and your friends went water skiing on the lake (even though you hadn’t done so in over 10 years) or maybe you danced the night away at your cousin’s wedding. Or perhaps you were a little overzealous with yard work last weekend. Whatever the reason, you found yourself quite uncomfortable, maybe even in pain, the next morning. During those times when we overdo it, it’s important to have helpful strategies to help you through the discomfort and encourage your body to heal as fast as possible. There are many natural strategies available to you, without you having to rely on over-the-counter medication.
Hey there, all you non- water drinkers! Guess what? Dehydration not only slows down your healing time, it can result in further injuries! Your body and your muscles were designed to be hydrated, especially when you’re active. If you already drink a lot of water, it never hurts to increase your water intake during times of injury. You also want to limit alcohol, soda, or tea as well because they further dehydrate you. Plenty of quality water is the name of the game, folks.
There are many supplements that aid the body in healing and can help ease a sore body. Magnesium is a fan favorite at our office, mostly because it’s effective, cost-effective, and easy to use. Our favorite brand comes in an easy to apply lotion, or as bath flakes, should you take a salt bath. Curcumin is another fan favorite, which is highly effective in providing pain relief and anti-inflammatory benefits, which we find just as effective as ibuprofen or aspirin.
3) GENTLE STRETCHING
Did you notice how I said gentle? Post injury is no time to initiate an hour-long intensive Pilates session. When your body is trying to heal, we want to give it what it needs to do so, and most importantly, we don’t want to further injure an already fragile area. Stretching is great for acute injuries, but I highly encourage you to take it easy. Gentle stretching increases blood flow, which aids in increased healing time.
2) ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils are simply remarkable for mild to moderate pain relief. Natural essential oils such as wintergreen, peppermint, lavender, and basil are very effective in taking the edge off sore, uncomfortable, and overworked muscles. Essential oils are very effective in decreasing inflammation and repairing damaged tissues. You can apply oils topically to the area of pain, or you can add them to a warm, Epsom salt bath.
There’s a tremendous difference in injury recovery times between those who receive chiropractic care and those who do not. Chiropractic accomplishes two things: It not only alleviates stress and pressure from joints and soft tissue, it also stimulates the brain and nervous system to encourage and enhance healing. A balanced and aligned body is undoubtedly a body that heals significantly faster compared to one that is not. Simply put, chiropractic doesn’t heal you, but rather it allows the body to heal itself, faster. Coupled with the supportive strategies above, chiropractic care is very effective at increasing healing time.
The most important thing I can stress to you is patience (yuck, I know). Healing takes time and unfortunately you cannot rush the process. Instead, you have to support the body while it’s healing. It’s important to not only provide your body the tools it needs to heal, it’s just as important to slow down and give it the time it needs to heal. Taking care of your body is about listening when it tells you to “slow down.”
If your pain or discomfort lasts more than a few days, or if the pain or discomfort worsens, stop immediately and consult with your doctor.
Dr. Lauren Millman
Dr. Millman is the founder and upper cervical chiropractor of Suwanee Spine and Healing Center, author of The Ultimate Healing Handbook, and recently voted Best of Gwinnett 2019 and 2020. For more information, visit DrLaurenMillman.com.