Unexplained or persistent pain is one of the main reasons people go to the doctor for a variety of office based procedures. The medical team there can diagnose what has happened and give you treatment. However, you may find yourself dealing with longer-term pain for a number of reasons including:
- sprains and broken bones
- back pain from poor posture or scoliosis
- you’ve recovering from a surgery
Pain can have a major effect on your life, so you want to get it under control. Your doctor will discuss options including medication. However, you may want to explore other pain relief strategies to use instead of or along with prescription medication. Here are some common methods of pain relief used after medical office based procedures:
This acronym stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. If you’ve played sports in school, you may be very familiar with it. In the immediate period after an injury, you can reduce pain and speed healing by following this process:
- Rest the injured area, using it as little as possible.
- Apply an ice pack several times a day for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Wrap a compression bandage on the injured area to support the joint and reduce swelling.
- When sleeping, rest with the injured limb elevated above the level of your heart.
Capsaicin, the molecule that gives hot peppers their distinctive ‘burn,’ is gaining acceptance for topical pain relief. In fact, some people with conditions like arthritis swear by it. The nerves in the painful area get stimulated by the sensation of heat and then seem to, in the short term, stop sending pain signals to the brain. You may be able to get capsaicin-laced creams from the pharmacy. Follow the directions carefully.
Exercising can sound like the last thing you want to do when you’re in pain. However, gentle forms of exercise may offer many benefits. They increase blood flow throughout your body, loosen cramping muscles, and naturally release feel-good endorphins. Discuss with your doctor options like:
- walking around the neighborhood
- casually dancing to your favorite music
- weightlifting programs you can do while seated
There are two parts to long-term pain: the pain signal itself, and the person’s reaction to that. Over time, long term pain can make people afraid, angry, sleep-deprived, and other completely understandable reactions to a bad situation. With simple meditation techniques, such as concentrating on your breathing for just five minutes a day, you can help take that second part out of the pain equation. Getting yourself into a positive frame of mind may make it easier to deal with the physical sensation of pain.