How to fight pain without painkillers

When pain occurs, the first reaction is often to take a painkiller. But natural solutions also exist to help relieve pain.

For World Pain Day on 18 October, ETX Daily took a look at three natural ways to help ease some everyday pains.

Nearly one in five people suffer from chronic pain in the US, according to estimates based on 2016 figures via the CDC. Pain is also a top reason for visits to emergency departments and general practitioners.

When pain occurs, the first reaction is often to take a painkiller. But natural solutions also exist to help relieve pain.


meditation after workouts
Picture: istock

A practice that dates back over 4,000 years, meditation is one option to consider for pain management. In this case, it is particularly mindfulness meditation that can prove helpful. It consists of being attentive to the present moment, and identifying what is going on within oneself, namely one’s thoughts, emotions and perceptions. The practice also requires being aware of what is happening in one’s immediate environment, such as noises and smells. The idea is to acknowledge them and embrace them with acceptance. According to several studies, meditating could reduce the intensity of pain and have an analgesic effect.

Diaphragmatic breathing

Also called “abdominal breathing” or “belly breathing.”

With stress and our increasingly fast-paced lifestyles, we tend to forget one basic essential: breathing. When we feel pain, our bodies tend to tense up and our breathing becomes faster and more irregular. This can increase fatigue, cause numbness, muscle tension and increase the heart rate.

“Abdominal (belly) breathing brings breathing back to a normal rhythm and helps to reduce these unpleasant sensations,” explains French association ACCORD (Regroupement des forces pour gérer la douleur chronique.)

To try it out, keep your back straight and relax. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest to feel the breath. Breathe in through your nose for a long time, while inflating your belly, then breathe out while pulling your belly back in. Repeat this action for 5 to 10 minutes. 

Peppermint oil

If you are experiencing pain, an essential oil may provide relief. If you’re experiencing headaches, for example, why not try peppermint? The menthol present in this essential oil gives it an analgesic power.

It should be applied in small quantities on the temples, the wrists or on the forehead. Its refreshing smell makes it a perfect ally in case of fatigue. In case of small health concerns, various essential oils can be a handy addition to your first aid kit.

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