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29 Proven Methods to Manage Aches & Pains

Self-Care Tips from Chronic Pain Sufferers That Really Work

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Many people struggle with pain. Whether it's short term from an injury or chronic due to disc issues, neuropathy or Fibromyalgia, we all want to find relief. Pain clinics and medical interventions are great places to begin, but some pain sufferers look for additional ways to find relief that don't always involve drugs, appointments or doctor visits.
 
We recently asked members of SparkPeople.com, the largest healthy living and fitness website in America, how they deal with chronic pain. Here are some products, strategies and insights into what our members rely on that could help you, too.
 
29 Ways We Ease Pain (that Can Help You, Too!)

1. "A positive attitude, although it is extremely hard to have, is a good start. Having a negative attitude certainly doesn't get us anywhere."

2. "I like to give myself an ice massage. I use a small paper cup to make it easy to hold ice and then apply it with a light pressure for 15 minutes on then 15 minutes off."

3. "When I listen to my body more closely, I know when it's time to rest or time to push. This helps me prevent overdoing it, which keeps pain at bay."

4. "Try to take it one day at a time, asking for help when you need it. Each day is different from the next so don't assume today will be bad until it proves to be."

5. "I like to walk laps in a pool as a form of aqua/water therapy and exercise that's easy on the joints."

6. "Listening to relaxation tapes helps me relax and takes my mind off the pain."

7. "Soaking in a hot bath in a whirlpool tub or even a hot tub does wonders. I like to add Epsom, sea salt or ginger to a hot bath as well."

8. "I regularly use my TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit. It's a pocket size, battery-operated device that sends mild electrical impulses to certain parts of the body to block pain signals. Some say it can even raise the level of endorphins (natural pain killers) in the body. It does wonders for me!" Note: TENS units should only be used under the direction of a qualified healthcare provider.

9. "Join a chronic pain group for support and ideas. Being able to vent or talk to people who know what you're going through can really help."

10. "Try acupuncture or acupressure treatments. These alternative forms of therapy are becoming more widely used. I was skeptical at first, but found they helped me relax, removed tension and reduced pain."


 
11. "I like to use a heating pad on sore muscles for 20 minutes at a time. This is especially useful before bed."

12. "Move more instead of lying around. I've realized that the more I move, the better I am able to move. The more I lay around, the more pain medicine I take because I become stiff and sore."

13. "I was having trouble standing up straight so I started using a massager with infrared heat and it really worked!"

14. "I started working with a psychologist on biofeedback. It's helped me control and reduce pain without drugs."
 
15. "Pain relieving patches that you put right on a painful spot provide relief. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before using these products."

16. "Pilates has really helped me stretch and strengthen my body and prevent back pain."

17. "It's often overlooked, but a restful night's sleep of eight or so hours really helps reduce my over pain and discomfort levels." 

18. "Limiting chocolate, cheese and wine really helped reduce my migraines."

19. "There are a variety of homeopathic tinctures (Belladonna, Solomon Seal and Teasel) that can help reduce the severity of my daily headaches as well as ligament pain." Please talk with a licensed naturopathic doctor or herbalist about what might be best for you and if there are any concerns when taking other prescription medications.

20. "I rub a small drop of peppermint oil behind my ears. It really has provided a natural option for my headaches and migraines."

21. "Reducing sugars in my diet helped me relieve joint pain."

22. "Remember that everyday 'irritants' can make chronic pain problems worse. Be sure you are wearing properly fitting shoes and bras. Carry a purse that is ideal and doesn't cause pressure on the shoulders (Ameribag is good) and pay attention to what you are sleeping on at night. A Sleep Number bed has worked for me but others say a TempurPedic works well, too."

23. "Making sure my diet had enough micronutrients like vitamin B-12,vitamin Domega-3's and magnesium has been really helpful to my pain control."

24. "Exercising in the morning helps warm my body up and relieves overnight pain and stiffness."

25.  "Practicing yoga and tai chi addresses exercise and stress reduction and helps me move in a gentle way to reduce my pain."

26. "Learning meditation techniques like walking meditation and practicing them daily has really improved my pain and discomfort."

27. "Make laughter a daily goal. Laughter can help reduce the body's ability to feel pain."

28. "Regular stretching increases flexibility and helps relieve pain."

29. "I've worked to avoid bending down (to tie a shoe, load the dryer, pick things off the floor, etc.) and it's helped me reduce the amount of back pain I experience (due to herniated discs) immensely. Bending from the spine puts a lot of pressure on the discs and can aggravate the back. Instead I make a conscious choice to squat or lunge instead of bending forward."

What holistic or surprising tricks have you found to reduce pain? Share your tips in the comments section!


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Member Comments

  • When I take a walk my legs and feet are relieved of pain after 10-15 minutes of walking.
  • I use some combination of most of the above. My doctor also recommended an anti-inflammation diet which has helped as well. Special exercises for my hand seem to help the recent nerve damage that the doctor told me there was nothing I could do about.
  • Positive attitudes help me. Moving slow and steady also helps.
  • I do a number of these. Like many others I have fibro, spine issues including the L4 has slipped in front of the L5, scoliosis which was noted when I was born without needing an X Ray. My poor feet have have had 22 surgeries ,,, 23rd Weds.

    At first I became ALL wrapped up in the pain !! It totally bought me down. Thankfully I was able to attend a number of classes to do with living successfully in chronic pain. I saw I was FAR from the only one who hurts. They taught me how to do house work without putting putting further pressure on my spine. Such as,, after a meal/cooking put hot water with a squirt of dish detergent and leave it there. Next time I go out into the kitchen,,,, they need a light going over,,, and TA DA they are CLEAN !! NO more standing at the sink to do them ! YEAH !!

    I also use a heating pad a lot. Also I buy biofreeze on Amazon. It's like icy/hot only it doesn't get hot.; It works SO WELL !! The moment it starts to break (The pain) I do stretches and beginners yoga found on youtube. I can put what area I am hurting the worse I am in,,, neck, lower back, hips etc. Many times I of course can't on the floor,,, I use my bed. Most doing yoga while sitting cross their legs over each other (Indian style we called it back when,,, not sure if they still do) ,, while I can do this, many can't. DO NOT WORRY about that, sit comfortable for you. It can take me from a pain of 8 (Pain scale 0 to 10 10 bein the absolute worse pain one can feel,,,, legs cut off during an accident type of pain) down to a 1 or 2,, at times even a 0 !! This happens within 30 mins ! The best stretch for me is to stand up,, bend over at my waist and hang down. YO EASY !!
  • June of 2016 I made a pledge to myself to stop taking all pain medications, even aspirin. I thought the severe pain I was in from Fibromyalgia may have been triggered by over-usage of pain meds. Two days later I was at the doctor receiving a diagnosis of Osteoarthritis along with a worsening Fibromyalgia. Still, I told everyone - no pain meds. I treated myself with rest, self compassion, hot baths, ice packs, meditations, hypnosis for chronic pain, and gentle stretching. I also took all inflammatory items out of my daily diet ( high fructose corn syrup, sugar, wheat, corn,rice etc..) I added lean meat to boost protein when I discovered people with pain respond better to pain when they have a good amount of protein in thier bodies. I also began a strengthening program at 3 minutes a day using 3 pound weights. Pain was GONE the next day and has not returned. As I keep up the good momentum, pain stays away.
  • I utilize #20, and also use the chile pepper fruit to ease the physical pain mostly although the mental ease from the endorphin rush also allows me to enjoy life a little more. Both positives, and feeding each other actually. Woo hoo

    I looking to apply a couple new methods I see in the list.
  • Re suggestion #12--I strongly agree! As my PT says, "motion is lotion." It's hard to get started, but it almost always helps.
  • SPARKROCKS1234
    i have several health issues. Fibromyalgia, sinus troubles & knee pain are the ones that give me the most problems. i recently went to a Psychiatrist for depression who could not help me because i'm already maxed out on medications. the best thing that he did for me was to refer me to a Psychotherapist who is also a licensed Hypnotherapist. yes, she hypnotizes me. and i'm able to do it to myself at home. the hypnosis amounts to "guided imagery". i am learning how to become a happier person, focusing less on my physical problems. the negative feelings have been replaced by positive feelings that are helping to control my physical problems. it's not a cure, but it has been a blessing for me!!!!!!!
  • Wonderful and helpful suggestions! I especially like #27!
  • I use many of these but the "get enough sleep" is something I can't do because of the pain. I have Fibro, bursitis, and arthritis of the spine so there is NO position that's comfortable.
  • RAINBOW700
    I definitely can relate to pain management. There is a new natural pain relief product which will be coming out in 2016. Look out for it.
  • WODARSKIJ
    Since I have lost some weight, my back and spine doesn't hurt as much. I don't lift anything heavy to irritate my neck.(spurs grew on the disc). Take some Motrin's and I sitting still is helping. I'm always moving around doing something. Learning how to relax. Have more good days then bad now.
  • I use heating pads in bed, a heated throw in the living room, braces on my fingers, wrists, and ankles, I alternate with Excedrin and Ibuprofen, I take Celebrex and Cymbalta from my doctor, I use an infrared massager on my muscles, drink fresh ginger root tea, and rub on Aspercreme. I can't use a TENS unit because I also have epilepsy. It may sound crazy, but I've found holding clear quartz crystals and concentrating my pain into them really helps, too. Sometimes I've had luck with tumeric capsules, while other times they didn't seem to do as much. I use a walker most of the time, and I just turned 34 three days ago.
  • I don't care if it's all in my head but my magnetic hematite bracelet really helps with my carpal tunnel and arthritis in my hands.
  • My tens-unit helps, yoga stretching upon waking, Calcium and vitaD has also helped.


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