Living in constant pain is stressful, mentally and physically. Untreated, or under-managed, chronic pain can cause a cascade of health issues.
With the opioid “epidemic” getting pain medication is getting harder and harder. (I’ll do a separate post on my thoughts on the whole opiod epidemic thing).
Anyway, here’s the 6 things I do to try to help give me some pain relief.
- Heat and Ice Packs. I alternate between the two, depending on where my pain is. I have all over chronic pain, literally from head to toe. But I do have days where the pain is worse in some areas then others, so I try to focus on the worst areas and use either heat or cold.
- Soak in an Epsom salt bath. I have a jetted tub in the master bath (which was one criteria I had when we were house hunting). I get so much relief from soak in a tub, it’s amazing. It doesn’t completely take away my pain, but it does provide some stress relief and the magnesium in the Epsom salt helps my muscles and my restless leg syndrome. If you don’t have a jetted tub, you can buy a bubble massage mat you can put in a regular tub, that will do pretty much the same thing as a jetted tub (I love technology)!
- Meditation/Prayer. The benefit of calming your mind, is beneficial for stress and anxiety relief. When you’re in a heightened stress/anxiety mode, you tense up and you’re ability to focus on something else besides your pain is difficult. Again, this isn’t about making the pain go away, it’s about helping you find coping mechanisms.
- Yoga. I know, don’t click away just yet. Exercise releases endorphins and that helps provide a measure of pain relief. I’m personally unable to do aerobics, even walking, but I can do yoga in bed, or on a chair. I can also do some barre exercises standing next to my bed (in case I fall), and I have a resistance band I use while I’m sitting on the edge of my bed, a chair, or even sitting in my bed. I’m concentrating on maintaining some muscle mass, not getting super buff.
- Sunshine. I am very heat intolerant, but I find that even 5-15 minutes outside in the sun, lifts my mood and gives me some good ‘ol vitamin D (which I’m often low on, and low vitamin D can contribute to depressed mood). If you are able to go take a walk, do so
- Over-the-Counter pain relief. I have to really, really limit my OTC anything, as I am not supposed to take any NSAIDS at all, and Tylenol doesn’t do much. However, on really bad days, I will take 2 Aleve, as it lasts 12 hours and can help with some of my pain. It lessens the pain in some areas, but does not get rid of all of my pain from all the sources of my pain. If you have migraines, be very careful in how much pain medication you use, as you can get rebound migraines and/or “medicine over-use headache”. Yep, that’s a thing. But used occasionally, over-the-counter meds can have a measure of benefit.
None of the above things I personally do take away my pain. I’m always in pain (that’s what chronic pain means 😉 ) But it does help, and the help comes from both relieving my stress, anxiety and moving my body just enough to keep muscles from getting stiff and atrophied.
The top ones for me are the heat and ice, along with Epsom salts baths in my jetted tub. Seriously, it’s amazing. If you don’t have a jetted tub, then definitely get the bubble massage mat thingy (<– I’m sure that’s the technical term for it 😉 ). It’s worth it.
These are positive things I do that help my body in other ways, and they happen to also give a measure of pain relief for me.
What are non-medicated things you do that helps you with your pain? Comment below and let me know – and it would benefit others who are reading this too.
I’d love to know, as I’m always up for trying something new to see if it works for me too.