When you have a headache, backache or sprain your ankle, is your go-to treatment to pop an over-the-counter pain reliever? You might be surprised to learn that drugs aren’t your only option to relieve the everyday aches and pains that come along with life. As reported by Prevention, here are 12 tricks to relieve your pain naturally (yet still quickly and effectively):
1. Use Profanity
Surprisingly, people who repeated profanities while their hands were submerged in ice water were able to keep them there 35 percent longer than those who did not. Shouting four-letter words may trigger physical and hormonal reactions that ease pain or at least increase your tolerance of the discomfort.
2. View Photos of Loved Ones
Women who viewed photos of their partners during a medical test had less pain than those who looked at inanimate objects or strangers. The familiar photos likely released brain chemicals that dampened areas related to pain processing.
3. Fantasize About Romance
People who fantasized about something sexual experienced less anxiety and better tolerated pain during one study, which suggests such fantasizing may not only distract you from pain but also reduce anxiety and increase relaxation.
4. Breathe Deeply and Slowly
Slowing down your breathing may help to ease away your discomfort. Such breathing “deactivates your body’s fight-or-flight response to pain” while also distracting you. This is one reason why slow, purposeful breathing is so useful during childbirth.
Meditation is a wonderful method of pain relief, and those who do it regularly actually have thicker areas of cortex, the region of the brain linked to pain sensitivity.
6. Sniff a Green Apple
The scent of green apple has been found to improve pain in those having a migraine attack, as well as reduce anxiety.
7. Downplay the Pain in Your Mind
People who expect their pain to be mild or moderate experience less pain than those who expect it to be more severe (even if the actual pain is the same). So avoid speaking with friends who exaggerate their painful experiences and tell yourself that your pain won’t be so bad.
8. Get Social Support
Back-pain patients who received support from friends and family were able to find new ways to cope with symptoms and experienced greater pain relief than those who did not.
9. Listen to Music
You may be able to tolerate your pain better if you put on some music. For instance, women with rheumatoid arthritis were able to walk farther when they turned on some tunes.
10. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness helps you to focus your mind on the present moment, increasing calm and lessening feelings of distress and pain.
11. View a Favorite Piece of Art
People rated pain as one-third less intense while they gazed at art they rated as beautiful. So when you’re in pain, try looking at your own favorite works of art.
12. Have Faith
People who engaged in daily religious or spiritual rituals, and believed they worked for them, had less pain, better mood and more social support, according to one study.