Pain and Endorphins – The Natural Pain Killer
Given that pain is nature’s way of informing us that our self is in danger, there must be a natural way of dealing with the pain as we can not live in constant pain forever bringing about the concept of pain and endorphins.
Endorphins are the body’s naturally produced pain killers, acting much like the man made pain killers with all the benefits and none of the side effects. Unlike man-made drugs, this one is non-addictive since it is a natural product of the body on the onset of pain, making pain and endorphins interrelated.
The cells in our nervous system produce endorphins as proteins of different forms acting as sedatives for body parts in pain. They block the neurotransmitters taking the message of pain to the body and instead send a contradictory message, sometimes one of euphoria instead.
While it is naturally produced by the body, there are some things that you can do in the absence of pain to increase endorphin production in the body. These include:
- Exercising, especially long enduring exercises such as running, aerobics, swimming, and skiing, all of which are known to last for a long time and exercise most muscles in the body. This explains why after these exercises people tend to feel elated, happy and joyous much like people using mind altering substances.
- Sex in a good and loving relationship, especially the pillow talk is said to induce endorphin production. However, this benefit does not accrue to those in dysfunctional relationships which are in fact known to make people grow much faster. This will explain why people tend to seek out sex when they feel emotional pain.
- Consumption of certain foods such as chocolate and chilies is known to stimulate the production of endorphins. Spicy food and anything with chocolate tends to make us feel better after consumption. Now you know how to pick yourself up on a bad day, just take a cup of hot chocolate and you will be your jolly self again.
- Laughter is a good way to increase endorphin production. A good laugh will magically cure a head ache and that is why we love our friends who are good at making jokes. Laughing will get rid of most of your minor pains, so laugh more.
- Chiropractic, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and massage all encourage increased production of endorphins. When in pain, especially chronic pain, most people are advised to try these more traditional forms of treatment and this is one of the reasons why they work.
While they are mainly for pain management, doctors are encouraging patients of substance abuse to engage in endorphin producing activities so as to fight the dangerous habits. Since the endorphins give a natural high, the patients can substitute it for the substance high and an added plus is that they will not get addicted to it.
Endorphins have also been known to help to control persistent pain, help with frustration, stress, reduce symptoms related to eating disorders, and the growth and production of sex hormones. While these benefits have nothing to do with pain directly, indirectly if they should go wrong, then the person is bound to be in pain. The pain may not come directly but eventually the string leads back directly to these ailments.
Pain and endorphins maybe closely related but it is not the only reason for production of the protein. While it has been said that endorphins are non-addictive, it is quite clear that some people are addicted to performing activities that are known to increase its production. This would mean that if they are attempting to keep feeling that good, then they must be addicted to the endorphins. But research is being done to further look into this subject. Not known to have side effects, sometimes its enhancing activities can have some negative effects. For example, extreme exercise may cause you severe muscle cramps instead.