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29 Proven Methods to Manage Aches & Pains

Self-Care Tips from Chronic Pain Sufferers That Really Work
  -- By SparkPeople Staff
Many people struggle with pain. Whether it's short term from an injury or chronic due to disc issues, neuropathy or Fibromyalgia, we all want to find relief. Pain clinics and medical interventions are great places to begin, but some pain sufferers look for additional ways to find relief that don't always involve drugs, appointments or doctor visits.
 
We recently asked members of SparkPeople.com, the largest healthy living and fitness website in America, how they deal with chronic pain. Here are some products, strategies and insights into what our members rely on that could help you, too.
 
29 Ways We Ease Pain (that Can Help You, Too!)

1. "A positive attitude, although it is extremely hard to have, is a good start. Having a negative attitude certainly doesn't get us anywhere."

2. "I like to give myself an ice massage. I use a small paper cup to make it easy to hold ice and then apply it with a light pressure for 15 minutes on then 15 minutes off."

3. "When I listen to my body more closely, I know when it's time to rest or time to push. This helps me prevent overdoing it, which keeps pain at bay."

4. "Try to take it one day at a time, asking for help when you need it. Each day is different from the next so don't assume today will be bad until it proves to be."

5. "I like to walk laps in a pool as a form of aqua/water therapy and exercise that's easy on the joints."

6. "Listening to relaxation tapes helps me relax and takes my mind off the pain."

7. "Soaking in a hot bath in a whirlpool tub or even a hot tub does wonders. I like to add Epsom, sea salt or ginger to a hot bath as well."

8. "I regularly use my TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit. It's a pocket size, battery-operated device that sends mild electrical impulses to certain parts of the body to block pain signals. Some say it can even raise the level of endorphins (natural pain killers) in the body. It does wonders for me!" Note: TENS units should only be used under the direction of a qualified healthcare provider.

9. "Join a chronic pain group for support and ideas. Being able to vent or talk to people who know what you're going through can really help."

10. "Try acupuncture or acupressure treatments. These alternative forms of therapy are becoming more widely used. I was skeptical at first, but found they helped me relax, removed tension and reduced pain."

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11. "I like to use a heating pad on sore muscles for 20 minutes at a time. This is especially useful before bed."

12. "Move more instead of lying around. I've realized that the more I move, the better I am able to move. The more I lay around, the more pain medicine I take because I become stiff and sore."

13. "I was having trouble standing up straight so I started using a  massager with infrared heat and it really worked!"

14. "I started working with a psychologist on  biofeedback. It's helped me control and reduce pain without drugs."
 
15. "Pain relieving patches that you put right on a painful spot provide relief. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before using these products.

16. "Pilates has really helped me stretch and strengthen my body and prevent back pain."

17. "It's often overlooked, but a restful night's sleep of 8 or so hours really helps reduce my over pain and discomfort levels." 

18. "Limiting chocolate, cheese and wine really helped reduce my migraines."

19. "There are a variety of homeopathic tinctures (Belladonna, Solomon Seal and Teasel) that can help reduce the severity of my daily headaches as well as ligament pain." Please talk with a licensed naturopathic doctor or herbalist about what might be best for you and if there are any concerns when taking other prescription medications.

20. "I rub a small drop of peppermint oil behind my ears. It really has provided a natural option for my headaches and migraines."

21. "Reducing sugars in my diet helped me relieve joint pain."

22. "Remember that everyday 'irritants' can make chronic pain problems worse. Be sure you are wearing properly fitting shoes and bras. Carry a purse that is ideal and doesn't cause pressure on the shoulders (Ameribag is good) and pay attention to what you are sleeping on at night. A Sleep Number bed has worked for me but others say a TempurPedic works well, too."

23. "Making sure my diet had enough micronutrients like vitamin B-12,vitamin D omega-3's and magnesium has been really helpful to my pain control."

24. "Exercising in the morning helps warm my body up and relieves overnight pain and stiffness."

25.  "Practicing yoga and tai chi addresses exercise and stress reduction and helps me move in a gentle way to reduce my pain."

26. "Learning meditation techniques like walking meditation and practicing them daily has really improved my pain and discomfort."

27. "Make laughter a daily goal. Laughter can help reduce the body's ability to feel pain. ."

28. "Regular stretching increases flexibility and helps relieve pain."

29. "I've worked to avoid bending down (to tie a shoe, load the dryer, pick things off the floor, etc.) and it's helped me reduce the amount of back pain I experience (due to herniated discs) immensely. Bending from the spine puts a lot of pressure on the discs and can aggravate the back. Instead I make a conscious choice to squat or lunge instead of bending forward."

What holistic or surprising tricks have you found to reduce pain? Share your tips in the comments section!