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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Journey to Pain Relief: The Simple Solutions

Take your vitamins and drink your milk! We don't eat and drink as healthy as those before us did. Particularly in America. We are overweight and underachieving. Weakened bones can't hold us to a higher performance. Eating things that boast calcium additives, doesn't mean that you are going to retain it better. As a matter of fact, some vitamins and minerals will cancel each other out. Do a little research. Know what your body might be missing and see what you can take that will boost its own supply, while avoiding the things that will block it from absorption. Take, for instance, tea. If you are suffering from an iron deficiency, or your blood iron is low - stop drinking tea while eating more peanut butter, red meats and greens. Tea absorbs the iron your body needs.
Keep the exercises simple if you are hurting. Nothing wrong with working out. Actually, it will increase bone as well as muscle strength. This in turn might lead to weight loss. And all of this can lead to less pain throughout your body. From the research I had done, working out lessens and lengthens the bodies ability to stave off the effects of arthritis. I tried hard to work out daily to keep the spine strong. And for a while, I think it worked. Until arthritis was no longer the only problem I had going on back there. You can be slightly sore, but don't push yourself until you are aching and feel like you're dying.
Get support in the form of better pillows. Normal pillows may seem fine. You might think that your pain and lack of sleep are stress-related and only curable by medicine and doctors, but at least try a different pillow. I switched to a gel-filled memory foam pillow. While my neck isn't completely satisfied, I have at least noticed a difference. And when I get migraines that drive me back to bed, that pillow is always cool under my head. It helps so much!
Dressing comfortably means the tight-fitting and heels need to go. I worked in a professional setting where heels were a daily additive and looking like a million dollars showed confidence. But those shoes added to the pain, as did tight pants. Try it. One day, wear heels and tight pants. Then the next day, flats and loose clothing. Tell me if you notice the difference or am I going crazy. I'm not saying put on the proverbial "tent" dress from the 70's and wear thong shoes. But something that is so tight it looks painted on, is doing more damage to your body than that of something truly comfortable. Besides, ladies, if you show it all off, what is left for their imagination? Or am I so old fashioned that only I think that way any more?

Focus on other things to trick your mind. Part of my pain management training during my teen years while dealing with spinal fusions, was to focus my mind on other things. When you think about other things, your mind can't focus on pain so much. Yes, there are times when the pain is so great that you can't think about anything else. But let's say your pain is no more than a 4, try to keep busy with other things. It will distract you from the signals your brain is sending.
Warm showers or baths can help to loosen the muscles and relax the tension your body feels. When you are in pain, you tend to subconsciously tense up more. Try soaking in the tub. Playing music, adding bubbles, and even doing so by candlelight are all fun, but also helpful in relieving that added stress that your body is building up. Using lavender scents and Epsom salt helps to relax you as well. So take time to release.
Massage is something that I suggest, but also think only works if you got someone truly good at what they do. I've had a few friends help me with this. Not all hands are equal. Some people are truly gifted. No training required. I've usually been on the giving end though I have no training, but plenty of practice. I know what to feel for and know how to work out the kinks without causing pain. At least bad pain. Sometimes we have to hurt a little to feel the really good stuff. Sadly, not as many times, have I been on the receiving end. And even less often, have those been helpful massages. So if you find someone who can do it well, I suggest making time for it. And if you can't afford a pro, but know a good friend, maybe work out a barter system!
Physical therapy is suggested by doctors. Sometimes we have to learn to move in ways we never have before to really get the range of motion that eases the flow of energy and keeps us going. I've never been able to take this route and I'm not sure how well it will work for me, but I still think it deserves a place on this list. 

I've also heard that acupuncture works wonders. I've never had it, and not sure I want it. It is something to ask your doctor about though. 
Posture is a learned trait. We tend to slouch a lot. Such an easy thing it is to sit straight up. However, far more comfortable we find it is to slump our shoulders and be lazy. Such actions restrict the proper flow. They stress the spine. If you cannot find the ability to train yourself to stay upright, there are braces you can wear that will hold your shoulders back.
This last one is the hardest for me, but know your limitations. I struggle with the things I've had to let go of. Motorcycle riding, roller coasters, and running are my top three so far. Things I enjoy, but suffer so much afterwards. Letting them go means I hurt less. Sometimes that is what you have to do. For the better.  

I might not have given you the true answer to your pain relief, but I do hope this list at least gave you options that you might not have thought to try yet. 


  1. The nurse at the retirement place where g-pa Al is said the exact same thing about water yesterday! I think there is something to it. She also said water is best but any liquid counts.