How Natural Products to Manage Your Pain Can Help You Live a Better Life

Author: Injurymap

Introduction

I started this post ten days ago.  I thought it would be an easy project.  Then that night I was in the hospital emergency room.  I was admitted to the hospital.  I spent four days there.  And upon release, I was completely wiped out.  This hospitalization had nothing to do with my pain issue.  I am thankful for the wonderful staff that took care of me, especially the nurses.  And I am thankful to learn there is something I can do to avoid this problem in the future.  Having started this website because of pain issues has taught me to be proactive in my care, to listen to my body and to search for solutions.  So, I applied these criteria to this new illness.  But for five days I didn’t feel well enough to work on this post.  Then I got to thinking, I should write a little about the experience in hopes it will help me get back on the saddle and help someone else if they are going through a rough time.

How about you?  You want a better life? What can you do to feel better?  I hope you have read my other articles.  They are all aimed at providing information to help you find some pain relief.  I’d be so happy to know that something I have written here on this website has helped someone.

First, Some Advice

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that I am very proactive about my health.  I do all the things we are supposed to do to be healthy.  I watch what I eat, I exercise, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I get plenty of rest, I get enough water by tracking my amounts.  So you can see my philosophy is to take care of myself.  I don’t expect others to do for me what I won’t do for myself.  In fact one of the in home nurses that is coming told me today that she has patients that lie to her and won’t do what they are supposed to do to take care of themselves.  Don’t be that person!  You won’t get better or feel better if you don’t take responsiblity for your health.  So just do it!  Following are some suggestions that have been helpful to me, and I hope will be helpful to you.

Don’t go it alone

If you have family or friends to care for you, you are truly fortunate.  If someone offers to do something for you, let them.  It is very fulfilling to provide help to others, so let them help you.  Just be sure to be grateful.  Even if you can do most of your care alone, if you are alone, you need to keep in contact with others.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, community is vital.  We are social creatures created to have communion with others.

Get plenty of rest

This is tough for me.  I just realized something new about myself; that I don’t like to be non-productive.  But that has to be balanced with getting rest.  I am listening to my body and having it dictate my efforts.  This also means I don’t push myself like I did before.  This is your body, and you are responsible for taking care of it.  This has to be balanced with people coming to visit thought.  So although it is good to have people around, listen to your body if you are tired.

Do some stretches

My inactivity in the hospital caused my buttock pain to flare up.  Just today was I able to do some stretches.  I know more than ever the benefits from moving, stretching and exercising.  At this point I am just stretching, but the others will come as I feel stronger.  I have had to modify my stretches because I can’t bear weight on one arm.  But I can still do something.  A good start would be the CD I recommend in this post.

Now My Original Purpose in Writing This Post.

This post discusses some product recommendations that I have either tried or reviewed. Sometimes, when you are hurting all you want is a little comfort. Maybe one or two of these products can help you with that.  They may help you toward a better quality of life.

Product Recommendations

Heat

A heating pad can provide some warmth and comfort as well as easy the pain of sore and achy muscles.  My nerve pain also causes other pain in surrounding areas and a warm pad can help.  It is not only physically comforting to me, but a warm source just comforts me emotionally.  I feel like it’s the closest thing to a hug! ?

 

Sunbeam Heating Pad for Pain Relief

Or try this one.  Doesn’t that look lovely?  Wrap your back in a warm hug.  It has 4 stars and is currently listed for $19.99 on Amazon.

My Heating Pad- Adjustable Lumbar & Abdomen Heat Therapy Pack – Microwavable Back Pain Relief – Reusable (Blue)
My Heating Pad

Cold

Maybe cold is what you need.   Cold is for recent injuries, or to reduce swelling.  It also reduces pain for a time. 

It’s called FlexiKold Gel Ice Pack.  It has an 81% 5 star review.  It curently sells for $14.99.  It comes in various sizes and with or without straps.

Maybe a New Bed?

Here is a more expensive item, but one I recommend.  In this post, Take Action to Relieve Pain Naturally, I talk about the need for a good mattress.  This made a huge difference for me.  According to the reviews this mattress has a 4 star rating, and people with back issues recommend it. It is cheaper than the one I bought about 3 years ago.  I still recommend the one I mention in the earlier post, but this is a good option if you don’t live in my area.

https://amzn.to/2X4mg2l

Tuft & Needle Queen Mattress, Bed in a Box, T&N Adaptive Foam, Sleeps Cooler with More Pressure Relief & Support Than Memory Foam, Certi-PUR & Oeko-Tex 100 Certified, 10-Year Warranty.

Conclusion

These items are ones that I have tried and found to be helpful.  Did one of these products help you?  I would love to hear your comments or questions.

Be advised that should you purchase a product through any of these links, I will be paid a small fee for directing you to them.  Thanks in advance.

Is There a Best Natural Pain Reliever?

Best Natural Pain Remedy
Best Natural Pain Remedy
Gyorgy Bakos

Let’s step back and consider all the remedies and pain relievers I have talked about on this website. Is there a Best Natural Pain Reliever?  What do you think?  I would love to know about what you have found to help you.  You would be helping me and others!

I’ve written articles about acupuncture, yoga, foods, meditation, and CBD oil.  I’ve mentioned chiropractic, essential oils, physical therapy and supplements.  I’ve come to the conclusion that there is much out there that doesn’t work, and a few things that do.  I’ve also come to the conclusion that different treatments work differently for different people.  Just like prescription medication.  One person may have a reaction to a side effect and another person may not.  Just today I was speaking with my acupuncturist, Dr. Terry Chang while I was getting treatment.  I asked if he treated people for anxiety.  He responded that he does.  But he was quick to point out that it worked for some people and not for others.  And I am sure it is difficult to quantify results.  The same can be said for other treatments.

Some Options to Consider

Move!

Harless Todd

You can view many of my previous posts for various options I have investigated.  As I research Natural Pain Remedies I search various articles regarding this topic.  Movement and exercise actually are promoted as natural choices to manage pain.  I have found yoga and stretches to be helpful for me.  An article on Easier.com in their lifestyle section mentions yoga, Pilates and hydrotherapy.  Click here to review it.  In addition, I found this great article that includes video clips of exercises that can relieve hip pain, from Medical News Today.  Check it out here.  Or here are some exercises to use for sore muscles from too much sitting or computer work, from The Indian Express.

Even a walk releases endorphins which are feel good hormones that can counteract the pain hormones.  If you haven’t done much walking or any type of exercise lately, start small and slowly.  You can build up to more as you get stronger and feel better.  I used to work out for 2.5 hours before I was hit by chronic pain.  Now I am thankful to be able to walk for 1/2 an hour.  And that took months to be able to do.

Laugh!

We all know laughter is good for our mental health.  Well, it’s good for our physical health also.  An article in Better Homes and Gardens gives 5 reasons why laughter is good for mental health.  But it mentions relief of pain as well.  Click here for article.  You might ask, well what have I got to laugh about?  I’m in pain!  That’s where YouTube comes in.  I frequently search it for funny videos.  While I’m not a big fan of people hurting themselves, there is some funny stuff out there.  I have been enjoying Steve Harvey on Family Feud.  Here’s my favorite clip. (The best part starts at 1:06)  If you don’t laugh at this, I’m sorry.

I’ve said before that it helps to have friends and family around that can make you laugh.  I’m very thankful I have a few of those people in my life.  You don’t need many, but a few close ones are golden who know your suffering and are willing to be there for you.

Alternative Therapy Treatments

Treatments that are available are becoming more and more popular, thankfully.  Acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage come to mind easily.  I have discussed acupuncture on one of my other posts.  I have experienced chiropractic but I am currently not using this treatment.  However, I know it works and highly recommend it.  (Probably a topic for another post.)  I have also experienced physical therapy and massage.  PT did not help me, but that is just me.  I imagine others are helped by it.  Massage was very helpful and enjoyable.  More research is needed for me to comment further on these topics.  But I strongly recommend you investigate these options.

Meditation and mindfulness are other options.  I discuss Meditation here.  I have not researched mindfulness enough to post about it yet.  But I see that many people have found relief from suffering using this practice.

My Experience

I have now suffered with chronic pain for over three years.  I am thankful the horror of waking up in the middle of the night unable to move without screaming pain is a dark memory.  But it took months of painful suffering to find the right combination of relief for me.  I was told by the traditional western medicine doctor to get a shot.  I told him I wanted to try physical therapy first.  In the meantime, I began my quest to find relief naturally.  I still believe there are other options out there I have yet to discover, so I will keep researching.

Conclusion

Wouldn’t you agree that we each need to seek out treatments until we find what works for us?  There are so many options, which is one reason I have created this website.  My research was motivated by my pain.  This website became an outgrowth of it.  I want it to be helpful to everyone.  It is my intention to discuss the different remedies from a fellow sufferer’s viewpoint.  I’m not promoting one over the other, although I know what has worked for me and what hasn’t.  But you will probably be different.

You do have to take responsibility for your health and pain relief though!  Get going today!  Who knows, you might feel better tomorrow.

Please leave comments.  I welcome them and believe they will be helpful to me in my search and for others in their journey.  Thanks.

When I recommend a website I receive no financial gain.  I just recommend what I have found to be helpful and hope it might help you.  If you see a product that I have a link for, and you purchase it, I do receive a small compensation for that.  Furthermore, if you purchase something from an ad featured on my website, I also receive some compensation.  Thank you in advance.

Can Meditation Help with Pain Control? Read More to Find Out.

 

Relaxing

 

This is a topic that has come up time and again in my research. I have avoided it because I know so little about it. I know it is time to buckle down and learn about it. Especially if it helps my pain management. And yours!  Can Meditation Help with Pain Control?

What is Meditation?

The dictionary defines meditation as the act of meditating.  Oh that’s helpful isn’t it?  Synonyms are: contemplation, thinking, musing prayer.  I like the example used that it is “cultivating the presence of God in meditation and prayer”.

Because I am a Christian, and I have been taught that meditation is from Eastern religion, I have avoided this topic. The eastern form of meditation calls for emptying the mind to gain oneness with the universe.  This is very antithetical to what the Bible calls me to do.  I am to meditate on God and seek to abide in Him.  So can I safely and honestly practice meditation to manage my pain?  How would that look?  And would it help my pain, or only focus my mind and soul on God?  Not that that is a bad thing!  Because it isn’t.  That is my chief aim in life; to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  That said, can I combine meditation with my Christian beliefs?

I think so.  And you can continue reading if you don’t practice Christianity.  Because the same principles apply in practicing meditation.

Before I move on, I see the term mindfulness associated with meditation.  Mindfulness is being aware of something.  I think of it as disciplining my mind to focus on a certain thought.  Mindfulness and meditation go hand in hand.  Meditation is the tool, mindfulness is the path.

How Does Meditation Help to Relieve Pain?

When we experience pain, our body releases hormones that magnify the pain, called stress hormones.  Our mind focuses on the pain.  We tense our muscles.  Meditation can reverse that by releasing calming hormones.  The calmer state of mind not only stops the body from releasing stress hormones, but also starts the body to release endorphins, i.e. feel good hormones.  These hormones can be released other ways also.  Some practices that release endorphins which I have used were exercise, laughing, caring for someone else.  See my post here for more information.  This calms the body, relaxing the muscles and joints.  With that comes less pain.  So meditation packs a one two punch, lessening stress hormones, and releasing endorphins.  This is accomplished by refocusing the mind.

How Can You Practice Meditation to Relieve Your Pain?

There are many websites that walk you through the steps to meditate.   From my research I have gleaned the basics.  They are

  1. Sit or lie comfortably in a quiet place.  You don’t have to sit in the classic cross legged position that you see in so many images.  Get comfortable.  Quiet is vital as it sets the environment for peace and uninterrupted concentration.
  2. Close your eyes.  It may help to be in a darkened room, if at all possible.
  3. Concentrate on breathing.  Simply breath normally.  But notice the effects your breathing has on your body.
  4. Practice this for just two or three minutes.

Easy, right?  The results should be that you will find you are more relaxed.  As you grow comfortable with this practice, you should be able to increase the time spent.  As you increase the time, you should reap more benefits.  From my reading, the research says that the longer you practice meditation, the more benefits you gain.  I have found this to be true with the stretches that I do.  Some of these natural remedies take work and discipline and time.  But I can testify that they produce results.  And if I can avoid medication and surgery, then I am motivated to practice them.

I found two apps that were recommended on this website, Meditation: An Opioid Alternative.  The apps are: Back Doctor and Stop, Breathe and Think.  They are both free.  I haven’t tried them long enough to know how effective they are, but I plan to give them serious trials.

As a Christian, my focus while I practice mindfulness and relaxing through meditation, will be to meditate on a verse in the Bible, or on a characteristic of God.

Other Helpful Practices

Posture

Most of us tend to sit in a slouch position.  It is the natural way we sit.  But maintaining a straight spine position is helpful to relieving back and buttocks pain.  Challenge yourself to maintain good posture when you are walking, standing and especially sitting.  It does take practice.  And it is another example of mindfulness.

Heat and Cold Pack

I have discussed this before.  For temporary relief of pain you can try heat or cold.  The difference is that cold reduces inflammation and heat assists in blood flow.  The both act to deaden the pain.  You may want to try doing both; cold for a few minutes, nothing for a few minutes, heat for a few minutes.  Do not leave either one on for more than 20 minutes.  Use a towel to protect your skin from the cold or heat source.

Conclusions

I believe meditation is a valid alternative as a pain remedy.  If practiced on a regular basis, a person should find relief from their pain.  I welcome your comments and questions.  I am especially interested to know those of you who practice meditation and what your results are.  I am also open to suggestions and corrections, as I am not familiar enough with this practice to feel I the final authority.  I am not receiving any fees for recommending any links here.  If you do chose to click on an ad or a product, I do receive a small percentage should you chose to buy something.  Thanks for taking the time to read this.  I hope it is helpful and that in practicing meditation, you will find some relief from your pain.

For those of you who desire to practice Christian meditation, I recommend you start at this website.  I found this helpful and challenging and plan to add it to my daily Bible study.

And if you’ve read this far, I bet you are wondering what that picture has to do with meditation?  The original caption was 3 turtles relaxing on the beach in Hawaii.  I don’t know, but it seems to me those guys (or probably girls, exhausted from the journey to lay their eggs) look like they know how to chill.  I want that picture in my mind; how totally comfortable they are and in the beautiful sunset of God’s creation.

 

Everybody is talking about CBD Oil for Pain Relief. Helpful?

CBD Oil

The last thing I thought I would be posting about is CBD oil.  I am not a proponent of legalized marijuana.  Having worked in support services for law enforcement we do not need more reasons for people to drive under the influence and create traffic hazards.  That said, I felt it was necessary to address the popularity of CBD oil.

Some Background

CBD stands for Cannabidiol.  It is available in the states that have legalized medical marijuana.  I live in California, a state that has done so.  So I had a friend ask me if I would recommend CBD oil as a natural remedy for pain. I told her I didn’t know enough about it to recommend it.  But with it’s popularity I figured I needed to be better informed.  Hence the reason for this post.  In fact, through the program I am using for ads to be posted to my site (and thus getting a small percentage of the cost if a person purchases through the link), I see that there are ads for CBD.  This is another reason for me to research this topic.  I hope to answer these questions.  Is it safe?  What research has been done?  Is it effective?

The oil is made from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants.  It may or may not contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that causes the high one gets from marijuana use.  Some sites I researched said it didn’t contain THC, but some sites said it did.  (See VeryWell Health.) Popular claims are that it can help ease pain and inflammation, ease anxiety, help you sleep better, and have some effect on epileptic seizures.  An article in WebMD states that there isn’t much evidence or studies to back up these claims. (This is an excellent article and I recommend you check it out if you want more information.) Furthermore, there is currently no regulation for the oil, which means that the product quality is very questionable.

Is It Safe?

So, is it safe to use?  Some sources say it isn’t.  Some say it is.  Apparently the World Health Organization weighed in on November 2017.  The link is the report from Expert Committee on Drug Dependence in Geneva .  Now what I read on page 31 of this report is that there doesn’t seem to be a relation between use of CBD and dependence.  So, we can say that use of CBD oil doesn’t cause dependence on the oil.  But I didn’t find information on research about whether or not it is safe to use.   Shouldn’t we all want information about the safety of something we put in or on our bodies?  I couldn’t find anything that addressed this.

And what about side effects?  The main side effects appear to be light headedness, drowsiness, dry mouth and a lowering in blood pressure.  It is recommended that pregnant women not use the oil.  That’s enough reason for me to conclude it just isn’t safe.  And for the time being CBD oil is not regulated.  This means you don’t really know what you are getting or what the quality is.  These are good reasons to be cautious in using this oil.

What About Research?

A study that stated there were benefits to Multiple Sclerosis patients from use in a nasal spray (Sativex, GW Pharmaceuticals), states that it may have some positive effect on certain symptoms.  But there is no data if used alone.  This particular product is also not available in the United States.  Other limited studies have been done regarding issues such as social anxiety, bipolar disease, Parkinson’s, and insomnia but the results are not conclusive. (See this link.)  Most of these studies are from animal testing.  However, I did see more positive studies that stated that cannabis was effective for pain and inflammation treatment.  (Go here for more information.) These studies report that marijuana can actually help with pain relief.  But that is another topic.  Given my objections to any substance that impairs my brain, I am not willing to recommend marijuana use.  There seems to be scant information regarding studies on humans and the use of oil. I am also concluding that more testing and research needs to be done to decide if there are actual benefits from the oil.  The studies just don’t exist.  The proponents of CBD oil are quick to say there are so many uses for the oil, but I just can’t find the data to back that up.

Is It Effective?

Effectiveness has not been proven either.  The use of cannabis has been studied and conclusions are that it is effective.  But there just isn’t information about the effectiveness of the oil.  Further studies are needed.  Why put something on you or in you that may not be effective?  Or even spend money on it?

Conclusions

The reason I am writing this article is because I have chronic pain.  I am always researching natural remedies for my pain.  The popularity of this product forced me to research it.  Normally I want nothing to do with marijuana or anything related to it.  I confess a strong bias.

Because the oil isn’t regulated and because there is hardly any data on the oil’s effectiveness, I am choosing to not use or recommend the oil as a natural remedy for pain.  My anti-drug philosophy also strongly influences my views.  I continue to search for natural remedies, and have posted on this site regarding some of the modalities that have helped me.  See my posts: Pain and suffering; is there hope in a natural remedy?  or Other Natural Pain Remedies.  I am also in the process of checking out filters for the ads on my site so that I do not promote CBD oil.

If you do choose to use CBD oil, there is strong recommendation that you consult with your primary care physician.  I hope they are better informed about this topic.  I intend to ask my doctor the next time I see her.

I am open to discussion on this topic and welcome comments.  I would especially appreciate information regarding studies of the effectiveness, safety, research and regulation of CBD oil.  Please leave your comments below.

Can Acupuncture Help Back Pain? What’s Involved?

acupuncture as a natural pain remedy

Introduction

In my continuous search for relief from my pain, I keep coming back to how helpful acupuncture has been for me. In this article I will discuss some history about acupuncture and my experience in this alternative treatment. Hopefully you can then decide if acupuncture is a helpful remedy for inflammation and pain. Please note that I am not a medical professional and therefore these findings are based solely on my experience and research. Please see your primary care physician before you make the decision to visit an acupuncturist.

Brief History

Acupuncture treatments have a history dating back to 100 BC in China, first appearing in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (Huangdi Neijing) according to Wikipedia. However, throughout China’s history, it became less practiced and was outlawed in 1929 (See A Brief History of Acupuncture). It gained popularity again around 1949.

In the US, it has only been popular in this last century. I still remember myself thinking that it was an odd and mysterious practice. But my pain drove me to look for any and all alternatives to find relief. It is recorded that a US press corps member was treated with acupuncture while recovering from an emergency appendectomy in China. This lead to US physicians investigating it’s reliability. However, acupuncture became acceptable in the US when a NIH conference reported positive evidence for its effectiveness. (See A Brief History of Acupuncture.)

How Does It Work?

Chinese medicine is based on the flow of yin and yang, or qi in the body. Qi is the flow of energy within the body. The hypothesis seems to be that pain and inflammation can interrupt that flow. Acupuncture works at the neurohormonal level, adjusting the qi to stimulate the nerve. This then helps the nerve to function properly, to function healthfully. It can apparently stimulate the hormones to function better as well. In fact it causes the body to release neurotransmitters that act as a natural pain killer, more powerful than morphine. So the results can be twofold; healthier body function and pain reduction. All of this accomplished without medication or surgery. The needles are placed along meridians in the body to affect the related painful areas. These meridians are a system that is part of acupuncture.

Meridians

What’s Involved?

You will be in a private room, like in a regular doctor’s office. You will most likely lie on a narrow table/bed on your back, side, or tummy. Or you may sit in a recliner. Depending on what part of the body receives the needle insertions, you may have to pull up your pants bottoms, pull down your pants or pull up your shirt. I never have to take off my clothes. My doctor asks me about my pain, and treats me according to my response. I have been treated for colds, coughs and bouts with diverticulitis. But mostly I see him for my buttock pain. He then puts needles in my lower back, my right buttock (where the pain is) and my neck. Mostly all I feel is a slight tap; nothing painful. But to be honest, once in awhile it does hurt. Not pain that is intolerable, but stinging enough for me to say something. That usually subsides within seconds. If not, he removes the “offending” needle. Once he has the number of needles he deems necessary (about 15) he attaches electrodes to four of them. These are attached to a machine that delivers an electric current. I concentrate on relaxing, and 90% of the time, I fall asleep. I spend about an hour in the office including the preparation, the treatment, the resting during treatment and payment and making my next appointment.

You may or may not have electrodes attached. Cupping is another treatment that acupuncturists use. This involves placing a dome with an open end on the skin and creating a suction, either with heat or a hand held device. The cupping stimulates blood flow. My acupuncturist uses this occasionally, but not lately. I think that is because I am better, having less pain. He does do “scraping” which doesn’t feel too good, but is tolerable. I think it also stimulates the blood flow, bringing natural warmth to the painful areas.

A friend of mine who sees him for edema, diabetes, and glaucoma says he feels no pain at all. He too is able to nap during the treatment. He has seen reduction in his edema and with proper diet and medication is keeping his diabetes within a healthy A1C range. So you see that acupuncture may be used to treat many complaints. Talk to your doctor first. And call the acupuncturist to see if he treats your complaints.

My doctor charges $40.00 per visit, but takes insurance. In California you need to get a referral for insurance to cover it. But thankfully most insurances do. Otherwise, see what payments you can work out. I found that most acupuncturists are kind and caring people and want to help you feel better. Charges do vary so be sure to check that out before you get a surprise after your treatment! Find a doctor that takes time to listen to your complaints. It is my belief that no one knows my body better than I do and if the doctor isn’t willing to listen to me, then they don’t know how to treat me.

Final Thoughts

You may also be interested in my other posts regarding acupuncture. See them here.

My doctor says that he wants to make me younger! Ha ha. But visualizing a younger healthier body is a good picture to have. Because of the whole body philosophy involved with acupuncture, it makes sense to have the brain on board too. He encourages me to stretch at home and to walk. I have found that the combination of his treatments, stretching and walking are my prescription to feeling better. And all natural! So yes, acupuncture is a helpful natural pain reliever and inflammation remedy.

Your treatment plan may be a bit different. I welcome your comments, questions and treatment plans. We need to help each other!

 

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