Pain can be distressing for patients as well as their caregivers. Inflammation or pain has multiple causes which often makes it harder to manage it. But there are some proven easy ways and practical tips to help you stop pain quickly and regain control of your life. Let’s take a look:
1. Use handheld TEN machines
Handheld battery operated TEN machines are a useful tool for people with muscular aches and pains. They usually consist of a handheld unit operated with a battery. The units have sticky pads which you place on the painful regions and when the unit is switched on, the device emits a low buzzing sound which blocks the sensation of pain. You can easily buy these units at a pharmacy or online and they are ideal for muscular pains like sprains, strains etc but not for pain caused by open wounds.
2. Hot and cold packs/compresses
These are the easiest tools to stop pain quickly. It is best to wrap the packs in a towel so as to prevent direct contact with the skin. You can use either heat or cold but some experts recommend alternating heat and cold packs in sets of 3 each for 3 minutes (Hot/Cold/Hot/Cold/Hot). Remember-never use cold packs for more than 15 minutes. Also, heat is not recommended for inflamed joints as it could worsen the pain.
3. Sprays, rubs and roll-on’s
Many sprays, rubs and roll-on pain relief products also work well on painful joints. Avoid using them on broken skin. They work by cooling or heating the skin so that the blood rushes to the area or the sensation is numbed so you do not feel pain any more. Many anti-inflammatory analgesic pain balms and rubs are available in the market. The effect is usually temporary so you need to apply frequently.
4. Use essential oils
Aromatherapy essential oils can be used for alleviating pain and inflammation caused by stress, fibromyalgia, arthritis etc. You can even use certain oils like Lavender essential oil to stop pain and inflammation that occurs due to burns, cuts, bee stings and skin rashes. There are many ways in which you can use essential oils for pain management such as bath oils, as cool or warm compresses, as well as massage oils (after dilution or neat) and also for internal use. (Note only certain essential oils are ingestible, so take them under the guidance of an aroma-therapist).
5. Meditation and deep breathing
Deep breathing and meditation can also be beneficial in alleviating pain and inflammation. You need to bring all attention on your breath. Breathe in deeply, filling up the lungs completely. Hold the breath for a few seconds, and then breathe out slowly. Repeat these steps till your mind is completely in the present moment.
Acupressure and Reflexology are based on principles that our hands and feet contain energy points that are connected to various organs. So, with complete awareness, focus on the point corresponding to the organ that is hurting. Then press those points on the palms or fingers. Notice the texture, sensation and pressure while you press. See if the pain intensity is reduced.
Massage therapy is an essential part of pain management. You can seek help of an accredited and certified massage therapist (or get your partner to massage you) focusing on the areas with pain. You can use any oil for massage, though coconut, sweet almond, jojoba, sesame and olive oils work best. Massage lotions are also great.
8. Stretches and exercise
Sometimes, pain goes away after exercise on account of endorphins that get released after a bout of vigorous activity. You will need to be careful and make sure that the pain is not aggravated due to the stretching. In general, stretches, yoga poses and brisk walking are recommended.
9. Take warm baths
A warm bath is just what the doctor ordered to relieve inflammation. Add a cup of Epsom salts or any inflammation-relieving essential oils to soothe away aches. Even a hot shower can loosen tight muscles and give you much needed relief.
10. Keep a journal
Pain often has psychological reasons behind them. Try keeping a journal about your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Writing down about everyday stress and strain can ease anxiety about tomorrow and help you stay in the moment.
11. Distract yourself.
Distraction through means like TV, music, video games etc or simply talking to good friends can also easily alleviate the symptoms and keep your mind off them.
12. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Inflammation fighting foods include fruits, tomatoes, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, Olive oil, coconut oil etc. Include plenty of these in your diet. Stay away from inflammatory foods like sugar, red meat, refined flour etc.
Suffering from inflammation is no fun and can significantly lower the quality of life. We hope the above easy ways help you. Let us know if you know of any other easy ways to tackle pain, in comments below!