I have dealt with chronic pain for over 25 years. In fact, I can count on my two hands the number of completely pain free days I’ve had in my adult life. In general, I try not to complain because at some everyone deals with pain. For many, like me, pain stems from a chronic condition. For others, a sports accident or sleeping in a funny position can result in pain. If you are experiencing pain of any kind, it is a signal that something needs attention. Always consult your doctor about any new or worsening pain. That said, there are certain some ways to treat pain at home. I thought I’d share a few with you.
Ways to Treat Pain at Home
A new bed
One main culprit of back aches and pains is incorrect sleep posture. Your sleep position, and the quality of your mattress, can cause your spine to be misaligned. This is why it’s recommended to regularly update your mattress to suit your individual needs. A sagging mattress is bad news.
Luckily there are many different mattresses to suit a variety of needs. When we bought our new mattress, we literally tried out over 30 mattresses. Whether you need the best mattress for fibromyalgia, a mattress to keep you elevated to reduce snoring, or a cooling mattress, the options are endless. Just be sure to test the mattress by laying on it the way you actually sleep. And if you have the time, lay on it for 20 minutes or so.
Ice is a surprisingly effective therapy for pain. It is easy to use and inexpensive. To use ice for pain, you can apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected area. Ice helps reduce swelling, and is a great option in the first 72 hours after an injury or pain flare. That said, ice should not be used for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time. You should never apply ice directly to the skin as it can cause nerve damage.
An electric heating pad
The old adage is, “ice to dull the pain, heat to relax it away.” Heat and warmth are a standard solution to help assist with sore muscles and bones. Heat causes vasodilation, or more blood in the area, so it is best used after the first 72 hours, because the inflammation should be waning. While a heat pack is great, sometimes they can’t cover all the necessary areas. An electric heating pad can be a great solution. Just place it over your sore spot, and let the heat do its magic. There are different sizes available, but most should be able to cover your affected area easily. Just be careful that you don’t fall asleep on one, as they can easily cause burns. Ask me how I know…
An acupressure mat
While they do look a bit scary, acupressure mats have had many great reviews. Some people swear by their benefits. You can use them to assist with headaches, aches and pains, and even insomnia. Most studies recommend using it for around 20 minutes each day. Just make sure you take things slowly as the sharp spikes can take a little while to get used to.
Ginger tea is also believed to reduce pain and muscle aches. I typically use Yogi teas, but recently ran out.
I happened to have fresh ginger on hand, so I used ceylon tea, cinnamon sticks, and fresh ginger slices to make my own ginger tea. It was incredibly easy to make, and turned out great.
Bath salts and soaks
How you treat sore muscles and how you treat bone aches sometimes differs, but a hot bath usually helps both. Try using different bath salts and soaks in your bath the increase your comfort levels. One of the most common ingredients is Epsom salt, which is reported to help the body detox to reduce pain. There’s nothing quite like a hot Epsom salt bath!
Certain oils, like lavender, have aromatherapy benefits that can help to reduce your stress levels, which can also impact pain levels. Muscles tend to clench with stress, so the less stress the better off you are. You’ may not be able to forget the pain, but you may be better able to handle it. Make sure you do a spot test first, to check for any reaction, before you go soaking yourself in a full bath of it. Treating pain at home shouldn’t result in a rash.
Vitamins and gummies
Not getting enough of the necessary vitamins and nutrients can also lead to muscle soreness, aches and pains, or general feelings of yuck. By taking a multi-vitamin or a replacement for what you are lacking, you might begin to feel much better. There are plenty of reasons to take nutritional supplements, but be sure to check with your doctor before starting new supplements, especially if you take any prescription medications. Some supplements may interact with prescription medications. Trust me when I say that supplements really can make a big difference in the way you feel. I probably wouldn’t be functional without turmeric.
If you find that most of the pain you are feeling is in your legs or feet, then investing in a pair of compression socks can be a great choice. The pressure allows your body to improve blood flow and can also help with swelling. Be sure to speak to your doctor before purchasing, however, as they need to be appropriately fitted. The last thing you want is to cut off your circulation or harm your skin because they are too tight.
Topical Pain Reliever
A common solution to help with any pain or discomfort is to a topical pain reliever. My Mom swears by Biofreeze because of its cooling menthol formula.
Whether you select an anti-inflammatory cream, a cooling roll on, or a hemp based balm, be sure to apply natural pain relief products to the affected area as directed.
Over the Counter Oral Pain Relievers
Of course, you can also use over the counter oral pain relievers if needed. Be sure to follow label instructions and never take more than is recommended.
When Home Remedies Don’t Work
There are times when you pull every trick out of the hat and none of the home remedies for pain work. If this is the case, be sure to call your doctor. Whether you see a GP for stronger pain meds, a chiropractor for adjustments, or an acupuncturist is entirely up to you. Pain should not go untreated.
You should see your doctor if your pain leads to weakness, loss of sensation, or falls. You should also get immediate medical care if your pain is coupled with difficult breathing, dizziness, a high fever, stiff neck, or changes in mental acuity.