Without pain, says the Dalai Lama, you wouldn't know something was wrong with your body. But for more than 100 million North Americans who deal with lower-back problems, arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions, message received.
Fortunately, there are powerful techniques that may reduce your discomfort by 20 percent to 60 percent and allow two-thirds of you to slash your use of addictive pain meds.
1. Drink caffeine up to four 8-ounce cups a day. It blocks the action of a neurotransmitter thats involved in the onset of muscle pain.
2. Look at your aching body part. The body senses youre in control of your pain when you look at where it's located. And then apply a topical pain reliever made from capsaicin.
3. Laugh. A really good belly laugh increases pain tolerance.
4. Use hot and cold packs, plus step up physical activity, if possible. For soft-tissue problems, walking at least 30 minutes a day (headed for 10,000 steps daily), stretching and (eventually) strength-building exercises help. Combine with use of hot and cold packs on tender areas twice daily.
5. Meditate for 10 minutes morning and night using deep breathing (count to four as you breathe in, eight as you breathe out) and progressive muscle relaxation.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.