Alternative Ways to Deal with Pain {a #chronicallywell post}

  • 31daysButtonEarly on in my chronic illness journey, I suffered bilateral pulmonary emboli and it was discovered I had a blood clotting disorder.  I am on Coumadin for the rest of my life.  Up until that point my go to medication for the pain of living with {what turned out to be} lupus was 800mg of ibuprofen.  Anti-inflammatory medications and Coumadin don’t mix so I had to find another alternative.  Acetaminophen {aka Tylenol} wasn’t an option because lupus had attacked my liver and taking Tylenol made the situation worse.  I refuse {except for brief periods after surgeries} to take narcotic pain medication, simply because I don’t feel I can be present for my family and under the influence of strong medications at the same time.  All that to say, pain control was proving difficult.  I began to research and try different alternative ways to treat my pain.

**Please note, pain control needs to be discussed with your medical professional.  This is what has and hasn’t worked for me personally and is not intended to substitute the advice of a qualified medical professional.**

  • Ice Ice Baby.  Ice is my friend.  When my joints become swollen and inflamed, ice is my go to.  A frozen pack of peas will suffice too.  When I have a bad headache, a cold wet washcloth is great too.
  • Heat it up.  Conversely, heat is my friend for sore, achey muscles particularly my lower back. I have a homemade heat pack {you can find them on Etsy} that you can put in the microwave and then lay on your lower back. Sweet relief.  Heating pads work as well.
  • Analgesic cream and patches.  I have used creams similar to Ben Gay for joint pain, particularly when I’m in physical therapy and they attempt to kill me with exercise.  My doctor has also given me lidocaine patches when lower back pain has been really bad.  They provide very temporary relief.
  • Massage.  This is a case by case for me.  I personally benefit more from massage when I’m not in a lot of pain.  It is great to relax me but when I’m flaring and in pain, touch can sometimes make it worse.
  • Rest.  Y’all, I know I stress getting enough sleep and taking care of yourself but I just can’t stress it enough. Sometimes the only escape from pain for me is a nap.  If my muscles are twitching with spasms, walking through the grocery store is not a good idea.  Sitting with my feet up is the better choice.  Listen to your body.
  • Sucking it up.  Before you throw something at your computer, hear me out.  I live in a certain amount of pain all the time.  If I didn’t push through it, I wouldn’t be able to do the things in life that bring me joy- spending time with family and friends, pursuing my career, even writing and speaking.  It can be so tempting to give into the pain and withdraw from activities and succumb to depression.  I’ve even done it a few times during this journey.  But, your quality of life suffers if you allow pain to dictate your day.  In addition, your pain tolerance will increase the more you push through- at least that has been my experience.
  • Chiropractic care.  Regular adjustments have been such a blessing for me!  Heat and massage are frequently used in chiropractic care as well.
  • Prayer.  This may sound silly but prayer brings me peace and peace helps me deal with pain.

Some things I haven’t personally tried but friends have include essential oils and acupuncture.

What has worked for you?



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