Pain, it's such a life altering issue for so many folks. I see it day in and day out in my massage practice. Chronic pain totally alters the way people do life and can add to depression and other conditions. We have all worked out too hard, rolled an ankle, or slept funny and woke up with pain in our neck and it sucks but could you imagine that day in and day out?! Today I want to share with you a few ideas and tips to help with pain, reducing it, planning for it and how to get in front of it when you've done too much. If you don't have chronic pain keep reading you can use some of these tips just the same with occasional pain :)
When you have chronic pain getting up and moving can be a real challenge but you need to get moving. Moving and exercise help reduce those pain signals and release happy endorphins in our brains, we NEED to get moving. But "I hurt every time I exercise!" yes you likely do because when you do get moving you overdue it! Pacing yourself can help you find where is your limits and what exacerbates your pain and what is beneficial. How to do this? Keep a little journal or paper of activities, plan to get up for five or ten minutes each day and gently walk around, walk through your yard or garden, your neighborhood or even just through your house. Write down how long you did it for and how you felt later that day. If you hurt use some interventions to decrease your pain and do a shorter length of time next session. If you felt great maybe add a few minutes and see how this simple act can change your life. Find your activity sweet spot and enjoy how it makes you feel.
Interventions for Pain Flare Up
Use Ice for 5 - 10 minutes on the affected area. Ice works wonders for flare ups of chronic muscle issues or acute or recent injuries. Sprained ankle think ice, sore back that just came on think ice, slept funny on your neck throw some ice on it for a few minutes, it just might change your day! People tell me all the time but ice is so cold it feels awful but here's the deal injured muscles respond well to ice. Not sit on the couch and watch an hour show with ice on your back but a few minutes of ice can make a huge difference. In my opinion and experience clients that ice their injuries a few times a day for short periods of time do better than those that never ice of ice for extended periods of time. So Ice, short periods think 10 min or less at a time.
Heat, what about that glorious warm heat? Well heat is great, it brings blood and healing fluids into the tissues to help them heal but if that ankle or low back is already inflamed that heat is just flooding the tissue more so use some heat if you're a few days out from injury but alternate it with ice or at the least end your heat session with ice just for a few minutes to kind of "flush" the tissue.
Aromatherapy options for pain. There are so many oils that have pain relieving properties, I've written several blog posts about it and it still doesn't cover them all, but there are a few tried a true recipes I love for muscle pain and tightness, joint pain, and injuries like a sprained ankle.
4 drops Balsam Copaiba, 2 drops Peppermint, add to 15 ml Carrier oil and apply to area.
Muscle Spasm Buster
4 drops Cypress, 2 drops Basil, 2 drops Peppermint, add to 15 ml carrier oil or cream and apply to affected area. This dilution is great for short term acute type issues rather than long term. If you find that this blend is working well definitely use it and just add another 15 ml of carrier oil to dilute it to a more appropriate level for more consistent use.
Joint, Tendon, and Ligament Relief
3 drops German Chamomile, 2 drops Helichrysum, 2 drops Lavender, add to 15 ml carrier oil or cream and apply to area 3-5 times daily if pain or inflammation still present.
Magnesium is an amazing mineral that we need. Many of us don't get enough of it in our diets and it is beneficial to muscles, joints, tendons and boosts our moods as well. Like Vitamin D being a crucial component for our health Magnesium is pretty powerful little tool to get you feeling better. You can talk to you doctor or pharmacist about supplements that are available and especially if you take heart medications and such you would want to talk to them before adding a supplement.
You can also get Magnesium Bath Salts, such as Epsom Salt, Magnesium Chloride Flakes, Magnesium oil spray or Himalayan salt and apply it to your skin, this is called using it transdermally. You are then absorbing the magnesium through the skin. Getting a boost of magnesium through bath soaks or foots soaks has been around for years. This is my favorite way to boost my magnesium because what we apply to our skin gets absorbed so adding some favorite oils to your salts and soaking away can really help with pain and your mood. Try these recipes in your tub tonight!
2 drops Neroli, 2 drops Lavender oils added to 2 tsp jojoba or other carrier oil, then add oil mixture to 1/2 cup Epsom Salt or Himalayan Salt.
2 drops Black Spruce, 2 drops Frankincense (I use carterii but you can use serrata if you prefer) add essential oils to 2 tsp Jojoba or other carrier oil and then mix oil mixture into 1/2 cup of Epsom Salt or Himalayan Salt.
Give these tips a try and let me know how it goes. Do you have any favorite recipes, if so I'd love to hear about them so be sure to share them in the comments below.