Living with cerebral palsy can be tough, and this condition doesn’t mean only dealing with certain physical limitations. Many people with cerebral palsy also have to contend with a great deal of pain that can seriously affect their quality of life. On top of that, people with cerebral palsy are also forced to accept that these pains are inevitable.
While there is no long-term cure for cerebral palsy — at least not yet — there are other ways to manage pain that help to support brain and muscle functions. And the good news is: these pain management tools don’t always have to be pharmaceutical.
Here are 7 more natural methods for relieving pain inflicted by cerebral palsy, most of which can be done at home.
1. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt offers a myriad of health benefits for everyday use, but even more for those with cerebral palsy. This inexpensive mineral helps to relieve stress and muscle aches, and eliminates toxins from the body. It also has great anti-inflammatory properties that can ease muscle cramps.
Epsom salt contains magnesium and sulfate, which are both absorbed into the skin easily. The best way to use Epsom salt is to dissolve the mineral in warm water and bathe.
Not only is ginger ideal for mitigating digestive issues – proving useful for nausea and upset stomachs – but this, too, can help with pain and inflammation. The root is commonly used to treat arthritis, meaning it has the power to alleviate chronic pain.
A recent study found that it can reduce stiffness and pain in joints by up to 40 percent, which can be an extensive improvement for people with cerebral palsy.
Ginger can be consumed in its natural form, as a dietary supplement, or as a spice to cook with or to make ginger tea.
Acupuncture is an alternative remedy that has proven successful in treating pain for centuries. The process involves penetrating the skin with tiny needles. This restores the body’s “energy flow,” according to ancient Chinese medicine.
And the benefits of acupuncture don’t stop at pain relief. Benefits also include reduced inflammation in affected areas, improved speech and muscle development, and increased bone density.
4. Music Therapy
In one study, it was found that combining acupuncture with music therapy showed even greater improvement in health.
Music therapy, a program that is effective for a variety of healthcare needs, is particularly helpful for physical rehabilitation. For people with cerebral palsy, music therapy can provide a calming and enjoyable distraction from any discomfort or anxiety caused by the condition.
Stress can play a big part in muscle pain and tension. Deep breathing techniques are widely used to relieve pain and stress, and are relatively simple to learn as opposed to aggressive therapies.
Controlled breathing can release tension in muscles, as well as relax the body overall. There are a few reliable methods worth trying, but the best go hand-in-hand with mindfulness techniques. Otherwise known as “visualization” or “imagery,” this involves using the power of the mind to control pain.
Echinacea is an herb that is used for many common illnesses, such as colds and flu. As with acupuncture, the use of Echinacea in medicine has been around for hundreds of years.
Studies have shown how Echinacea improves blood circulation, reduces spasms, and even increases neural communication. At the least, taking Echinacea can promote a healthy immune system, which is extremely important for people with cerebral palsy.
This herbal remedy can be taken orally in capsule form daily, to complement other treatments.
7. Ice or Heat
Surprisingly, both cool and warm temperatures can ease pain. One can work better than the other for some people. But even better, use heating pads followed by an ice pack for localized pain in joints and muscles. The National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests that this can help stop painful spastic movement.
Using ice or heat can even be an effortless daily routine that enhances the results of physical therapy. For people with cerebral palsy that already undergo occupational or physical therapy, this can make a big difference in strengthening muscles.
Always consult a physician before considering any new treatment. But combined with standard medicine, these simple alternative therapies can be just as, if not more, effective.