BY ANDREW MCDONALD
Let’s face it, though popping pills like they’re sweets isn’t a good idea, there are times when painkillers are necessary. Some people are so good at things like meditation and mindfulness they can take almost any level of agony and not let it bother them. If you don’t believe that, look up the story of Thich Quang Duc, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who burned himself to death in protest at the repression of Buddhism by the South Vietnamese government in 1963. During the process he didn’t move a single muscle nor utter a sound. Such examples of extreme tolerance of painful sensations do exist but the vast majority of us, probably fortunately, aren’t capable of them. Therefore, if you do find you need a painkiller, take one. This article’s purpose isn’t to dissuade you from that, merely to pose the question do you need them as an automatic go-to solution?
First of all, for things like headaches, there are a few important things to look at. Something we can all neglect at times is our fluid intake. Is that pain in your head influenced more by a lack of liquid than anything else? Dehydration is often an overlooked cause and is easily solved in most cases. That said, if your drinking habits include too much alcohol, or you’re a smoker, those are two obvious things to look at reducing or even cutting out altogether. Your soreness may just be caused by their toxic nature.
Believe it or not, exercise can aid massively in reducing pain. It’s not necessary to run a marathon. Start with gentle movement. For example, walking, swimming or stretching and make it a habit. You may be very surprised at the results.
Acupuncture and hypnotherapy are two alternative medical practices which may help you to defeat your pain. An acupuncturist uses tiny needles to open your sensory organs and energy pathways to naturally begin the healing process. Hypnotherapy is particularly powerful in dealing with psychosomatic pain, the soreness that subconsciously your brain is telling you to feel but perhaps has no physical root. Massages are another helpful complimentary medical option which can help to stretch and penetrate sore muscles.
Meditation is a great practice to get into and can provide a huge boost in dealing with stress which itself is a major cause of pain. Taking time out during the day can help refocus the mind and give overactive brains opportunity to calm down.
One final thing to watch is how much sleep you’re getting. Too little and you’re setting yourself up to feel sore. The same is true though of too much. Work out the optimal amount for you and aim for that.
There are too many alternatives to painkillers to list here. An internet search will offer a multitude of options. Whilst painkillers are sometimes necessary, often we rely on them when other things would work just as well, if not better.