Whether your pain is caused from an injury, overdoing it, repetitive stress or something else, here are some ways to take care of pain and discomfort.
Physical Treatments– These are best for acute pain, or if you’ve had surgery or an injury. Many chronic conditions can benefit as well. The advantages are that they’re non-invasive, they can be combined for better results and the variety of options can fit into your budget and schedule. These include physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractor, acupuncture, massage, TENS unit, ultra sound, orthotics, trigger point devices, ice, heat (limited), yoga, foam roller, therapeutic tape, compression, supports / wraps, whirlpool and swimming. The possible disadvantages are the varying levels of effectiveness between different treatments and that it may take experimentation to figure the best combo for your situation.
Natural / Herbal / Topical– These are best for chronic pain and inflammatory conditions. There’s a growing body of research on their effectiveness and they have very few side effects. Taken orally is magnesium, turmeric (curcumin), devil’s claw root, butterbur, boswellia, ginger extract and melatonin. The topical rubs, gels and creams are Topercin, Biofreeze, Tiger Balm, CBD products, capsaicin, camphor, menthol, comfrey and willow bark. Some things to keep in mind is that it may take days to feel the effectiveness, the preparations can vary and some may be specific to the condition.
Mind Body Solutions– These work both for chronic and acute pain in combination with other treatments. Advantages include fostering a support system, providing distractions and they can be very effective and sustainable for chronic pain. Included are meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, deep breathing, cognitive reframing, hiking, aromatherapy, support groups and doing leisure things you enjoy such as cooking, music, games, dance, gardening and personal faith practices. The one thing required is a disciplined mental shift in thinking (or not!) about your pain.
Over the Counter Pain Meds – These can be good for recovering from a surgery or for short term when you have acute pain or an injury. It’s good for quick relief when used sparingly and shouldn’t be used for more that 4 days. Tylenol and Acetaminophen are the two main ones used.
If you have questions about your pain and what treatment to use, check with your physician first and remember that not all suggested treatments will be appropriate for all types of pain.