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Acute pain comes on quick, often in response to injury. Chronic pain, however, is more insidious. It lives in the joints, muscles and tendons and causes discomfort lasting months, possibly years, often without a known cause, making it difficult to diagnose and treat effectively.

Many people take pain medications to curb chronic pain. These pills work quickly to treat the symptom but can have unwanted side effects, from disrupting blood pressure and kidney health to causing gastrointestinal bleeding.

Pills eventually lose their effectiveness, leading to increased dosages that bring increased side effects. Additionally, pills do nothing to counteract the root cause of chronic pain: unhealthy blood chemistry. After the body registers this type of imbalance, it triggers a pain mechanism as a means of protection. Avoiding this cause-and-effect scenario is possible and involves four steps, all natural.

Eliminate foods and drinks that produce inflammation. Top offenders include soda or sweetened beverages, red meat and processed meats, fried foods, white bread and any margarine or shortening products. Instead, eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, such as leafy greens, fatty fish, fruits, nuts and tomatoes. Try cooking mostly with olive oil. Other food tips can be found here in my free e-book, “Are You Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired.”

Stay hydrated by drinking pure water. I’ve written more on this topic here.

Sit less and move more. Recent research shows sitting for more than an hour changes the level of inflammatory messages in your body, but it does more than that. Sitting exacerbates aging considerably—by up to eight years—and can be as detrimental to your health as smoking. Counteract this negative habit by moving often and exercising most days of the week. Of course, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Lessen pain by adding key anti-inflammatory supplements to your diet. Examples include omega 3s from fish oils, curcumin, vitamin D, glucosamine sulphate and a new product named SPM Active, which essentially acts as a mediator to facilitate and ultimately resolve the body’s immune response to stress. Click here to watch a video on SPM Active. I’ve written more about anti-inflammatory nutrients here.

The longer the underlying cause of inflammation goes untreated, the longer it takes to regain a life of minimal or no pain. The good news is that natural remedies are here to help.

Discover more health tips by reading “Are You Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired.”

Ed Jones is a Chattanooga holistic health expert who is passionate about natural health, holistic health, natural healing and physical fitness. He is a graduate of American Health Science University and received his associate in arts degree in 1978 from MTSU. He is also a professional member of the American Botanical Council, a nonprofit organization that helps people live healthier lives through responsible use of herbs and medicinal plants. He is constantly training in new areas, attends seminars across the country and has had personal interactions with many of today’s experts on natural health. He seeks to inspire and empower people to take control of their health through the use of holistic approaches to accomplish peak vitality and complete wellness.