Saturday, November 9, 2013

6 Tips for Pain Relief Without Using Medication

When I was in a bad car accident almost two years ago, I walked away, but I walked away with chronic pain that would plague me for a long time after. The pain for me manifested itself in my neck and through migraines. It was honestly excruciating and the only thing the doctors had to offer me were heavy pain killers. I didn't like the way they made me feel. The medication seemed almost as bad as the pain. The both made me feel like I wasn't myself. I knew I needed to find other ways to help my pain that wouldn't affect my ability to be who I am. These are the ways I have found to treat my pain without taking medicine, these are what has worked for me, not necessarily what will work for everyone.
The Car Accident That changed my Life
1. Essential Oils. I was a massive skeptic of essential oils before my car accident and while they can't heal everything, I really believe that they help. I love peppermint oil on the sides of my temples for migraines and lavender for a relaxing bath. I also love to diffuse some of my relaxing oils for calming effects in the house.

2. Time spent in a bath or hot tub. Two years ago, I seriously use to mock people who spent a lot of time in the bath. Now I have joined them. I take one almost every day to ease the aches and pains and my mother-in-law does too. It loosens up your joints and soothes tired muscles. I prefer my bathes with a little bit of Lavender in them for relaxation purposes. Some insurance companies will even cover part of the cost of a hot tub if you have been diagnosed with chronic pain.

3. Bikram Yoga. Yoga and stretching in general are great for pain, but they don't even touch Bikram Yoga. Bikram Yoga is taught in a room kept at 105 degrees. It sounds way too hot to exercise in, but it is truly incredible. I walked out of my first class with very little to no pain. The heat combined with the stretching allows you to work out muscles safely and easily, instead of pushing them too fast. I tried it for the first time reccently and I was really impressed. The teachers were very instructive and knew how to help me have my best class ever without pushing me too far. If I needed to sit down or was feeling tired, the instructed me to sip water or sit down. Never once did I feel overwhelmed by the work out, and when I struggled to do a pose, the teacher help me individually to get it right. The doctors kept recommending yoga and Pilates to help stretch out the muscles, and I liked both, but Bikram Yoga blew them away. If you are looking for weight loss, it burns incredible amounts of calories and if you are looking for pain relief it is a fabulous option.

4. Chiropractic Care- Also something I was a skeptic of before my car accident, a good chiropractor was able to help me minimize my headaches. I was surprised at how well it helped the rest of my body to have my back treated.

5. Hot and Cold. Try both to figure out what works for you. Heat from a hot water bottle or heating bad is fabulous for relieving sore muscles, but cold actually helps deaden pain sensation by numbing the area. A lot of people only try one and not the other. Try both and figure what helps your specific pain.

6. Massage Therapy. I can understand the resistance to massage therapy, before my car accident, I had never had a massage. It seemed too personal to have someone touching my body, but right after my accident a wonderful friend bought me a gift certificate. I went, pretty skeptical that I would enjoy and I found that it is hands down the best pain management without medication that is available. I have tried quite a few massage therapists since my accident, but I have found my favorite experience/pain relief has come from my experience with massages. Most spas offers many different types of massages including Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports Injury, Hot Stone, Ashiatsu, Cranial Sacral and Pregnancy. They also offer facials, body wraps and the Vichy Shower.

Over the last two years, using these techniques, I have been able to ween myself of all forms of pain medications. I hope to some day soon try other techniques such as acupuncture, but by far, these have been the answer to my prayers.
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