By Rippan Sandhu
Are you suffering from pain of any kind? It could be back pain from years of working a physical job, or joint pain from an old sports injury you got as a kid. Many people living with back, joint or muscular pain believe that their pain is something they have to live with.
Ayurveda expert Robert Svoboda sums it up by saying that “Ayurveda welcomes and accepts pain, even while trying to relieve it, for nature intends pain to be a multi-layered message to us. Underlying the immediate directive—stop using that body part!—lies a request to look into our lives and see what we are doing to create this misery.”
Our bodies give us messages all day long and we tend to ignore them until they become a major issue in our lives. But if we pay attention to the root cause of a small problem before it becomes bigger, we can save ourselves weeks, months or even years of stress and struggles.
Here are some of our favourite tips for managing pain, the medication-free way.
Oils and Self-Massage
Abhyanga or the practise of self-massage is one of the best ways to combat joint and muscle pain. We recommend using either a cold-pressed Sesame oil or one of our medicated oils for this easy, at-home ritual. Massaging your body with warm oil regularly before bath not only helps to ease chronic pain by improving circulation and reducing stiffness, but also supports the body to release harmful toxins. Spend 10 minutes before bath to give yourself a relaxing massage and you are sure to come out feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
You are What You Eat
In Ayurveda, we often say: “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” There are certain foods that cause inflammation and make your pain worse so being aware of your diet and what foods to eat will help manage your pain. Nuts rich in fatty acids like Walnuts, Almonds, Groundnuts, have been known to help reduce inflammation so make sure to eat a handful of them everyday. Moreover, spices such as Turmeric, Ginger and Cinnamon are all known for their anti-inflammatory properties and have been found to support pain management in the long run for those suffering from arthritis. These spices are easily available and incorporating them in your diet will go a long way in helping you manage chronic pain. Here’s an easy recipe for a nourishing winter drink making use of these spices:
Add 350ml milk, ¼ tsp each of ground turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger with ½ tsp vanilla extract, and 1 tsp maple syrup in a pot and whisk constantly over gentle heat. Once hot, pour into mugs and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon to serve. Enjoy warm!
Try the Shavasana Yoga Pose
Shavasana is a Yoga posture that is often used to help the body heal, recover and relax. It is known to promote balance between periods of activity and rest and is often the last asana you perform after Yoga. While you may not think that lying down on the floor will help your pain but believe it or not, Shavasana can help reduce muscle spasms, relieve tension, and calm the mind. Even if you don’t practise Yoga, all you have to do is lie down on your yoga mat or the floor, close your eyes and let your body relax for 10 minutes.