When it comes to pain management for chronic pain, there are many options available. What works for one person might not work as well for another. The purpose of this article today is to inform and educate you as to what options you have and then, with some trial and error, you may be able to find what works best for you.
Ice and Heat. With ice and heat , there are many sizes and types of ice packs available. The size and shape you need will depend on the location of your pain. With a larger area such as the back you will need a larger ice pack. With an area such as an ankle you would need a mid size. There are ice packs which strap on, as well, and can be very convenient to use while being active. Heating pads are a great option but can cause burns if used on a high setting. The downfall of these methods are that you do still have the potential for allergy such as latex to the padding or pack. Through experimentation I hope that you will be able to find the right size and method for your particular need.
Medicated creams, patches and ointments. There are many options in this area which are available. One of the ones I have found most helpful is Biofreeze, which can be purchased via the internet, from a physical therapist, or chiropractor. The active ingredient in it is Menthol and be quite effective at this 4% level. The best prices are usually found via the internet. More readily available are patches such as Salonpas, creams such as Maxfreeze, and of course the tried and proven BenGay. Some of the drawbacks are the smell and potential for a local allergic reaction. Check the ingredients listed in each one before trying.
Massage therapy. Massage works great because it improves circulation to the area and relaxes the surrounding muscles. If you have a partner, friend, or relative who can help with this, Great! If not, you are still not out of luck. Many massage options exist such as wands, chair massagers, pads, or cushions. And these can be placed or propped in a manner that will achieve the best results.
TENS Units. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)is the use of electric current produced by a device to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes. This works by transcutaneously (outside the skin) applied currents used for nerve excitation used to treat pain These must be prescribed by your doctor but can be very beneficial in long term pain management. They are simple to operate. The downfall to these is that you will need to replace the batteries as needed.
Over the Counter (OTC) Pain relievers such as Acetaminophen commonly known as Tylenol, Ibuprophen, Naproxen Sodium also known as Aleve, and aspirin. The downfall here is that you could be allergic as well as a potential for stomach, kidney, and liver damage.
Prescription Medication which can vary in strength and intensity and must be prescribed by your physician.
Exercises. There are many exercises which can help with strengthening the injured and/or painful areas and supporting structures which can bring pain relief. The exercises are different depending on where you hurt. I will be writing future articles to address this issue.
So as you can see there are many options available. By experimenting you will find the right pain relief or combination. Good luck and have a happy pain free life.
Photo Credit: Universal Pain Scale