New research into a group of compounds known as endomorphins may offer hope to chronic pain patients of the future. These compounds are based on endorphins, which are the human body's naturally occurring pain relievers. Researchers say that these compounds appear to be superior to morphine in terms of analgesia, and have fewer side effects as well. The other big advantage to these compounds is that there appears to be no risk of addiction, respiratory depression, constipation, and some of the other problems that develop with the use of opioids. This would be a most wonderful development in the world of pain management!
In the meantime, one of the best ways to help your body deal with chronic pain is to practice activities that help to increase natural endorphin levels. According to Reader's Digest, here are eight ways to reach this goal:
- The scent of vanilla and lavender are said to increase endorphin levels. Try adding some vanilla to your morning coffee or bathe with lavender oil
- Ginseng supplements are said to improve mental performance and reduce stress.
- Take a group exercise class! Exercise has long been known to increase endorphin levels.
- Laugh often.
- Have sex!
- Eat chocolate--especially dark chocolate, which can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
- Enjoy a little music!
- Consume spicy foods--the active ingredient of cayenne pepper (capsaicin) is a well known for its pain management properties.
Sources: Wikipedia; Practical Pain Management; Reader's Digest;Wikimedia