6 Tips to Alleviate Moderate Pain at Home
Our practice is committed to finding non-opioid solutions for pain, so much so, that we recommend a myriad of different solutions inside and outside of our office. In addition to utilizing the help of nutritionists, yoga instructors, fitness trainers, and other professionals, we here at Republic Pain Specialists have several tips and tricks to help you alleviate pain in the comfort of your own home.
Exercise leads to a number of benefits for your entire body. The extra production of oxygen from aerobic exercise helps the brain function better and leads to an increase in hormones like endorphins. These endorphins boost the body’s ability to handle pain. Also, strength training, when done correctly can help provide additional support for the skeletal and muscle groups around the location of your chronic pain, making the area less likely to over compensate. This lack of compensation can lead to a reduction in the likelihood of being injured. If your pain feels too intense for long stretches of exercise, seek opportunities for shorter bursts of low impact activity, like a 15-minute walk or a slow and steady swim.
Eat Specific Foods
There are certain foods and spices that can lead to a reduction in pain. Turmeric, a spice often found in Indian cooking, has anti-inflammatory properties. Fish oil, which has a number of health benefits, also possesses similar anti-inflammatory properties. One study reported on everdayhealth.com showed that 50% of the patients who began a fish oil regiment were able to stop utilizing their prescription painkillers after 75 days. Any foods that contain resveratrol, like red wine, grapes, and berries, contain properties that help with pain regulation at a cellular level.
Whether relaxing in a warm bath, with or without Epsom salts, or using a heat pack from the microwave, heat application can relax muscles and changes the nervous reception taking place in the body when experiencing pain. Additionally, warmth, when applied, relaxes the brain, triggering the rest of the body to relax as well. A warm shower can function in a similar way, especially if the area is able to be lightly massaged at the same time. Use caution with heat packs or warming blankets due to their tendency to overheat, make sure it isn’t too warm against your skin and only use electric items while awake.
Meditate and Relax
The mindfulness that comes with regular meditation can be beneficial for pain as well. By taking time to relax, the brain improves its overall function, making it more efficient at handling and dealing with a variety of inputs, including pain. Research has shown, according to everydayhealth.com, that meditation leads to “lower anxiety and depression and a better mental quality of life”. There are a number of ways to approach this solution, both in groups or solo, with instruction or without. There are no rules to meditation as long as it includes mindful times of quiet and as long as it is working for you.
Sleep is crucial to overall health, but specifically to helping those who suffer from chronic pain. Consistent sleep, both in amount of sleep and the hours in which you are sleeping, leads to the brain receiving the support it needs for rest and rewiring. This allows for the brain to better cope with and manage pain over a long-term basis. Additionally, by allowing your body to have consistent rest, you aren’t overworking muscle groups that may already feel a large amount of fatigue due to overuse, misuse, or an injury. Your sleep is vital for repair of an injury site as well.
Massage helps in a number of ways. For one, when you can massage the location of your pain, you become better aware of where the pain is. This is crucial for our doctors to know and it is something we seek to discover early on in the treatment process. Sometimes our brain or body tricks us to think the pain is up or down the body from where it is actually centralized. Also, massage loosens muscles and encourages additional blood and oxygen flow which helps with pain and repair.
While these treatments at home may alleviate some pain and may help between appointments, we still encourage our family, friends, and community to contact us if they need assistance in managing pain. Our goal is to get everyone of our patients back to full functionality as soon as possible, with as little intervention as needed.