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As the world has delved into technological advancement and humankind has progressed in financial growth-oriented fields, the collective health of the planet has deteriorated rapidly, to the point that it can no longer be ignored. All species have had to endure great discomfort from said advancements, including the specie responsible for all the damage i.e., ours.
According to a study carried out by the NCBI (National Centre for Biotechnology Information) 1.5 billion people suffer from some kind of chronic pain worldwide. That figure amounts to roughly 19% of the entire planet’s population. So, it’s safe to say that a lot of us endure pain while simultaneously ignoring it. While body pain is troubling at any age, these days, more and more young adults are complaining about chronic pain, which can be accredited to lifestyle, eating habits, posture, inactivity, etc.
Popping a pain killer for pain relief once in a while is good. Pain killers from western medicine like ibuprofen or Tylenol can be effective in managing the symptoms of pain in the human body but are seriously harmful if consumed on a regular basis. For such purposes, trying natural remedies for pain relief and practices as advocated by the holistic medicine Ayurveda is proven to be much more helpful and safe.
Ayurvedic Doshas and Pain
While the outside information may make it seem like Ayurveda is just a holistic medicinal science with a bunch of herbs and natural remedies, but it is so much more. Ayurveda is an entire way of living. It has tenets that give teachings on how to live the right way and make the mot of one’s life health-wise.
Ayurveda observes bio-energies called the Doshas present in all human beings. These ayurvedic doshas dictate the actions as well as the physical & mental health of a person and give us an insight into a how people function, what they eat, and how they think or behave. There are three ayurvedic dosha, namely: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
It is the Vata Dosha that is primarily responsible for chronic pain in the human body. This dosha, associated with movement and flexibility of the body and mind is a delicate one. An imbalance of vata in one’s body can cause a person to experience immense pain which may manifest in any part of the body.
Pain Characteristics of the Three Ayurvedic Doshas
Though it is understood that there can be no pain without the Vata dosha in the body. Pitta dosha and Kapha doshas can too manifest pain, which may feel different. Here are the differences that may help you in identifying the type of pain you’re experiencing: -
- Vata - Vata Pain is throbbing and radiates with stiffness. It is constantly fluctuating in the intensity but still chronic and can move around the body. This precisely why people in the elder ages feel more pain. Vata pain is more prominent in colder and dryer weathers.
- Pitta - Pitta Pain manifests itself in forms of swelling, inflammation, burning, and redness. It can cause acne breakouts in a person and is likely to cause greater emotional distress. This type of pain is often sharp & precise and most commonly experienced immediately following an injury. This pain can feel worse in hotter, humid weathers.
- Kapha - Kapha Pain is typically dull and lingering. Its intensity is constant and it is usually felt deep. It can be brought about by swelling or water retention in the body and tends to more preeminent during monsoon.
Relieving Pain in the Ayurvedic Way
As mentioned before, though it is perfectly okay to take pain killer tablets sometimes, they’re no way a solution for chronic types of pain. For these purposes, an active lifestyle, a balanced diet and healthy practices are essential as prevention and ayurvedic pain relief oil are approachable to help in pain management better. Each part of our body reacts to different ingredients and exercises. Following are some remedies that facilitate pain relief for the most common types aches in our bodies: -
- Tailadhara for Joint Pain - Joint pain can be experienced due to many reasons, whether it be wear and tear of the bone, stiffness due to inactivity or anything else, though there’s no finite solution to “curing” this ailment, thus ayurvedic pain relief oil can be used for pain management.
Directions: At a suitable time during the day, fill up a large container with mustard oil. Place a separate large vessel near you. Tip the oil container at an incline and very slowly drip mustard oil onto the join of question. The larger vessel on the side can catch the dripping oil to avoid any waste. You may do this on your own if it’s a joint like your knees but may run into difficulties with doing the same for your shoulders, so ask someone for assistance. This is a physical therapy called tailadhara which literally translated dripping oil. This activates the muscles above joins, and alleviates soreness from between the bones. Once the dripping finishes, body massage the excess into your joints, this will remove any extra tension in the body. Repeat this process twice a week.
- Ajwain-Heeng Tea for Stomach Ache - A stomach ache generally signals towards an abnormality or inconsistency in one’s diet. It can be due to acidity, inflammation, or even eating spicy foods. Whatever the cause may be, stomach can be excruciating and often unending if not managed properly. The following remedy can help those with frequent stomach aches.
Directions: Heat up glass of water till it is just about to reach a boiling point. To this water add 1 tspn ajwain (carom seeds), ½ tspn jeera (cumin seeds), and ½ tspn heeng (powdered asafetida). Let these boil with the water for 5-10 minutes. Take of the heat and sip it like tea after a meal or when experiencing stomach ache. Avoid doing this daily.
- Brahmi Pain Relief Oil for Chronic Headaches - If you’re prone to headaches, you know just how difficult it is to deal with one. Headaches are usually brought on by stress and can sometimes be a symptom of sodium deficiency. Here’s how you can manage a stubborn headache in the ayurvedic way.
Directions: Switch out your normal hair oil for Brahmi (an ingredient known for its soothing properties) pain relief oil (you may make one at home by boiling brahmi leaves in pure almond oil). Use the Brahmi pain relief oil to give yourself a good chapmi session (this works better if someone else is doing it for you). Massage the oil into your head evenly with a firm pressure. If your headache is more centered towards the forehead, then you may mix 1-2 teaspoons of chandan powder with some cold water and apply the mixture on your forehead. Lay down comfortably and the chandan paste sit and dry for 20 minutes. Then, wipe away with a damp cloth. If your headaches are generally dull but persistent, you can’t try switching out common salt with rock salt (sendha namak) in your food.
- Herbal Pain Relief Oils and Hot Compresses for Back Pain- Back pain is another stubborn type of body ache that can be a result of so many things. Bad posture, constant sitting, injuries to the vertebrae/tailbone, dislocated hip joints, and inflammation of muscles in the back are all common reasons for severe back pains. This ayurvedic pain relief oil can help a great deal with back pain.
Directions: Choose an ayurvedic pain relief oil or you can make one at home with ingredients like mustard oil (sarson ka tail), turmeric roots (haldi), etc. Ask someone for assistance and instruct them to use said oil to body massage the sore spots on your back. Once done, Have the lay a hot compress (microwavable heat bags, hot towels and even hot water bottles work) on said sore spots. The heat will not only help the oil seep into the skin better but will also alleviate tension from the muscles.
- Moringa-Imli Rub for Sore Shoulders/Neck - Ache in one’s shoulders or neck region can often be accredited to bad posture and stress stored in the pody over time. Neck/shoulder pain is one of the most stubborn kinds of pain and tends to resurface quite often. The following remedy can help with the same.
Directions: Boil moringa roots and imli leaves in some water together. Blend the two into a smooth paste. Use the paste as a rub all over the neck and shoulders. Gently massage it in two the skin for 10-15 minutes. Then wash off with warm water. Repeat twice a week.
- Peppermint Pain Relief Oil and Steam Inhalation for Ear Aches - Ear aches aren’t as common as other types of pain in this list but they can be excruciatingly painful. Cold, bacterial/fungal infections, Damage to the nerves are the most common causes of ear aches. Here’s how get pain relief for your ears as per ayurveda.
Directions: Apply a few drops of pure peppermint pain relief oil behind your earlobe, at the base where your ear joins your head. Body Massage the pain relief oil in. Then boil 1 liter water in a large vessel, place your face over the boiling water at a safe distance (be careful, the hot vapors of splashing of them water can burn your face), cover your head with a towel and inhale the stam for 10 minutes. You can also an electric inhaler for the same. It requires a lot less water and is much safer. Do this steaming process paired with peppermint pain relief oil twice a day for a few days.
Pairing Remedies with Yogic Exercises
Although the above mentioned ayurvedic remedies can help a great deal in alleviating pain, they’re not a full-hot solution all sources of chronic pains. Pairing these remedies with ayurvedic exercises and practices can greatly increase their effectiveness.
Following are some exercises as endorsed by Ayurveda that can help a person dealing with chronic pain:
- Pranayam - The term “Pranayama” typically refers to 4 major breathing exercises, namely Anuloma-Viloma, Kapalbhati, Bhastrika, and Bhramari. When done regularly, these breathing techniques work together to strengthen a person’s mind and body, make their immune system stronger by supplying more oxygen (which then travels to different organs through the blood stream), thus keeping them healthy. Pranayama also helps in pain relief by reducing the physical manifestation of stress stored in one’s body. These breathing exercises can be performed anywhere, at any time convenient (so long as it is before or 4 hours after a meal).
- Surya Namaskar - This is a famous Yogic practice, also often known as the sun-salutation. It observes 12 poses of the body, engages all of the body muscles, improves flexibility and releases soreness from joints and muscle tissue. This is typically done in the morning as the sun rises but can be done at any time convenient for you. It is advisable to perform the surya namskar either on grass or over a foam/rubber-based yoga mat.
If you’re someone who suffers from bodily chronic pain and are seeking pain relief without taking harmful tablets every day, ayurvedic remedies are great for you. They’re natural, have no side effects, are a cheaper alternative to western medicine and much more effective in pain management. All you need to be careful about is the proportion and volume in which you’re using certain ingredients and how often you’re engaging with these remedies.
Happy healing and pain relief!