Written by contributor NJ Renie.
Whether you’re young or old, active or sedentary, sooner or later you’re going to be in a lot of pain. Chronic illnesses and acute injuries come without warning, transforming us from our normal selves into lay practitioners of pain management.
The options are endless, but the organic options are much fewer. Here are a few to get you started when pain strikes.
Free and Easy!
Photo by Jonathan Natiuk
Heat therapy, in the form of warm baths, heating pads, or hot water bottles, can be used to loosen muscles and relieve joint pain. Do not heat new injuries as it will promote swelling.
Cold Therapy is terrific for numbing areas of acute pain and relieving pressure pain by reducing swelling. Strategically placed ice packs or an ice bath can be applied for twenty minutes with an hour rest between applications.
This is simple and so often overlooked in our go-go-go lives. Light exercise, such as short walks, can be beneficial for some injuries and conditions, but trying to manage the same work load that you do when you were healthy is not going to help your pain. Stop doing so much and let your body can heal!
Over the Counter and Via the Web
Photo by John Byer
Topical Ointments, Creams, and Herbal Remedies, and Supplements
There is no shortage of products online and elsewhere (soon to be in the comments section of this post, no doubt) claiming to offer quick fixes to medical conditions, and pain is no exception. Many claims are grounded in fact. Many more are not.
While it is true that most modern pain relieving pharmaceuticals are descended from or derived from folk cures, the most effective natural pain relievers are *ahem* often illegal.
Before purchasing any natural product ask someone trusted and knowledgeable about such products, buy from a trusted source, and keep an eye out for too good to be true claims.
Find a Pro
Photo by D. Carson
This Eastern technique of directing the body’s energy through strategic placement of needles is especially popular for pain relief. Stand-alone acupuncturists can be found, but many health care providers are now using acupuncture as a compliment to traditional treatment.
Manipulation, Traction, and Physical Therapy
By strengthening certain groups of muscles and/or changing the way the body is configured, pressure can redistributed away from painful areas and future injuries can be prevented. Reducing the burden on painful areas can reduce inflammation and encourage healing.
Chiropractors, sports medicine clinics, and hospitals will have these options available, and most will be covered by your health insurance.
Gentle massage can help loosen tight muscles and reduce spasm, thus reducing pressure of joints and sore connective tissues.
This could, of course, be included in the “free” section if you have particularly wonderful partner, relative, or friend.
Pain often comes on without warning and once you are within its grip, you will be desperate to make it go away. If you can, find an advocate, a level-headed friend or loved one, to administer your person pain management program. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about alternatives to conventional treatments. And as always, try the free and low cost methods before spending big.
When was the last time you were in pain? How did you deal with it?