Whether you’ve been injured in an accident, hurt yourself working around the house, or sustained an injury playing sports, pain management is a vital part of the recovery process. Unfortunately, with the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse in the United States, doctors have become reluctant to prescribe strong pain medication, even for short term use. The risk of the pills being sold on the street is too great for them to risk, but that also means many individuals dealing with an injury have to find other ways to manage their discomfort.
If you’re wondering how you’ll manage your post-injury pain as you work towards recovery, don’t lose hope; there are many other options available. Consider trying these 4 strategies to find one that works well for you.
Hot And Cold
Depending on how you’ve injured yourself, two of the most helpful things you can do are applying heat and/or cold to the painful body part. For muscle strains, heat tends to be effective, since it draws more blood to the area, increasing circulation and loosening tense places in the muscle, while other injuries like sprains respond better to ice. Icing an area numbs it and can also reduce swelling. Just be sure to take the ice off after twenty minutes to give the affected area a break.
When you’re in pain, the last thing most people want to hear is that they should exercise – but contrary to how your body feels, exercise can actually help you recover more quickly. Activities like swimming are ideal for those dealing with an injury because it works the whole body with minimal stress on the joints. The cool, low level pressure from the water can also soothe an achy body.
For those with chronic pain or severe, acute, finding ways to adjust your mental state can be more effective than any medication for reducing discomfort. It’s a case of mind over matter. Learn mindfulness techniques such as relaxation-focused breathing, sensory splitting, or visualization that can help you take a step away from the pain. If you’re struggling to learn these techniques, there are many mindfulness apps you can download. You might also consider meeting with a therapist who specializes in pain management for a few sessions.
Although the science behind it remains unclear, many people dealing with pain find acupuncture to be extremely helpful. A traditional form of Chinese medicine, acupuncture involves placing needles at specific energy points across the body to resolve different problems. Some doctors hypothesize that acupuncture releases endorphins and that’s why it relieves pain, but more studies are needed to gain greater understanding of the practice.
Being in pain is an exhausting experience, but you can calm the sensation using any of these natural approaches. Then, as your body heals, you’ll be able to reduce your interventions and steadily feel like yourself again. The most important thing is to walk the road of recovery with patience, not pushing your body too far too quickly.