5 drug free ways to cope with chronic pain

5 drug free ways to cope with chronic pain

I’m a big advocate for people in chronic pain being able to take pain medication when they need it. However, sometimes pain medication just doesn’t do enough, or sometimes you are in a situation where you can’t take anything. So here are some strategies I use to deal with a particularly painful flare.

1. Heat, heat, heat

Directly applied heat does miracles for my pain levels. You would think that living in a climate similar to a tropical rain forest I wouldn’t need more heat, but not so. My favorite form of heat is my heating pad (aff link) which you may have notice I love. No matter how hot it is outside you will see me practically attached to my heating pad.  A steaming hot bath is my other heat resource for dealing with pain. I generally take a bath every night before I go to bed so I can relax my muscles enough to sleep. It’s a big water waster but I have found that nothing else relaxes my muscles as well as a good bath with epsom salts.

2. Yoga, stretching or another light exercise

All anyone with fibromyalgia ever hears in exercise, exercise, EXERCISE. But anyone with fibro knows that exercising the way the doctor wants you to is often a recipe for disaster. I have found however that when I’m in a lot of pain some light yoga does wonders. There are a lot of yoga routines out there for people who are in pain. My back tends to hurt a lot so I do yoga for back pain and it really helps if I use it on a day to day basis. On really bad days instead of doing my whole routine I will just do some light stretches which tends to loosen up my muscles a bit.

3. Find ways to relax

This works differently for every person but I have developed a love for chamomile tea (aff link). When I’m in pain I tend to tense my body which creates more pain. When I take the time to enjoy some tea it helps me to relax my body. Meditation is another great way to relax. I’m terrible at it because my mind will not shut up ever, but getting in touch of yourself helps a lot of people to deal with the pain.

4. Look at your diet

I am not one of those people who thinks that everything is poisoning you besides locally grown organic kale, but there often is a link between diet and pain levels. I have noticed if I start eating more processed foods my pain tends to ramp up. Soda especially can cause my pain levels to rise. When I notice my pain levels starting to get out of control I often will take a look at my diet and notice that I haven’t been eating all that great. The healthier I’m eating the better I feel overall.

5. Distraction

I tend to be grumpy and miserable if I sit around feeling sorry for myself when I’m hurting. I need to find distractions. My kids by their very nature are distractions since their goal in life seems to be to never let me rest, but every so often I have to find some other distractions. Thank goodness for netflix. I may or may not have watched four episodes of Gilmore Girls in the middle of the night last night when the pain wouldn’t let me sleep. It’s different for everyone but find something that will distract you from thinking about how miserable you are.

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2 thoughts on “5 drug free ways to cope with chronic pain

  1. Amen and hallelujah for Netflix! lol. It's my best friend for painsomnia when I'm too bleary to focus on a book but I need SOMETHING to distract me. Love herbal teas– I use them on an extremely regular basis to deal with a variety of symptoms, especially nausea, gut pain, and headaches. Sweet cravings and stress are also things I address with tea.

    I used to spend upwards of 4 or 5 hours a day soaking in steaming hot epsom salt baths to help deal with the pain, but now that the pain and stiffness has spread very rapidly and intensely to my shoulders, arms, and hands, I find it too difficult and painful to lever myself out of the tub anymore, so I rarely soak these days. Our water bill has dropped dramatically, though! You're right on about the stretching, too. It's funny– I wake up a lot at night, and sometimes I'll "come to" having woken up, gotten out of bed, and started stretching to relieve some of the pain! Hehehe. I try to stretch every day, and it's no chore for me because I absolutely LOVE the way it feels when a muscle is stretching out. It's like an addiction for me, a high. I can't get enough. Not those times when it's painful-stiff to stretch out, but a genuine, healthy stretch that just feels GOOD, you know? I don't get those much anymore. Mostly it's the painful-stiff stuff. I frequently wake myself with my arms and hands in the air, stretching and massaging my hands, or massaging my face. It's kinda weird.

    One thing that I've found that helps to keep the pain under control proactively is massage. It's hard to put out that kind of money, but I try to get a massage every two weeks because it's just so crucial to my pain management. If I could go every week, I SO would, without a doubt! But I know that massage is an option that is not feasible for most Spoonies because of the cost. (I don't have any more money than anyone else, I just have a dad that's willing to throw me money now and again.)

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