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Shelley Ensz

Natural methods to relieve pain

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Many of us in the forum have turned to natural methods for relieving pain, rather than partial or complete reliance on medications. Easy fixes for short-lived pain (popping a pill) often do not work well long term, since there can be so many side effects or interactions with other medications.

 

In this thread, please share your favorite techniques for relieving pain naturally. We'd also love to hear from new members (or old members who haven't posted in a long time...or ever).

 

I use many different methods for dealing with chronic pain. My all-time favorite is distraction! Absorbing myself in anything -- a hobby, book, or project of any sort is, I think, one of the most amazing ways to relieve pain. The only difficulty with it is during those moments when I come up for air and the pain whooshes in again with surprising intensity, awaiting another natural management technique.

 

I've seen people scoff at the idea that distraction works for pain management. Such as, well, if you had REAL pain, you would need medication! But medication often seems to backfire for me. Recently, I discovered the possible root of my problem with using the medication approach.

 

When I'm not taking pain medication, I fully expect to feel "interesting sensations" (my word for pain) and I am pleasantly surprised if even a moment goes by when it is less intense than usual. But, when I am taking a pain medication, then I fully expect to feel no pain at all. So, part of my brain begins scanning my body continually, to see how things are going and whether it is time for another dose or monitoring how effective the current medication or dose is. And, anything less than entire pain relief is discouraging...after all, I've taken a med for it...so I feel it should rightfully be entirely gone! Can you see how easily I can thus slip into feeling sorry for myself? I have pain, I've taken a pill, I still have pain, oh woe is me!

 

The mental process of monitoring my pain threshold to see if it is time for another PAIN pill seems to not only exhaust me, but also, it puts my mental focus on the pain. And notice, my terminology also changes -- I am no longer calling it "interesting sensations" or "amazingly interesting sensations", I am calling it PAIN because nobody has ever prescribed "interesting sensation pills". Also, I have popped a pill, so why bother with other management approaches?

 

I certainly have moments when I make exceptions to the no-pill approach, generally for something that is on top of the usual level that I am accustomed to managing, such as a severe toothache that is awaiting a root canal. Over the years, my approach has fluctuated as I have developed better natural management skills or found new medications or as my symptoms have changed, sometimes worsening and sometimes, quite blissfully, lessening.

 

What tips and tools do you use for managing pain naturally? Here is our link to Pain Management and Scleroderma.


Warm Hugs,

 

Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

 

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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Hello all! I've just been diagnosed with scleroderma...I think. My doctor says she thinks this is what I have, but after my 4th visit to her, when I asked if I had it or not, she's still saying she's not sure yet. Agggh!

Anyway, I think I've had it for a while now and just didn't know it. But exercising always makes me feel better.

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I have to deal with pain on shoulder blades almost daily. No-one really knows the reason for it, but I do have some sclero areas on them. It is not usually very intense but I need to take a loads of meds to get rid of it and that's not good for my stomach and such.

 

I've found a way to make it feel better though: letting my boyfriend or mom or someone to pet them carefully helps in two different ways! It does make me feel emotionally better when someone is taking care of you, and gentle touch somehow makes the physical pain go away at least for a while.

 

I hope everyone could just get out of their pains with this!

Emmi

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Welcome to the forum urangel.

 

Shelley I have tried lots of different things including Reki, Acupunture, Homeopathic remedies, simply heating aids like wheaty bags etc. Firstly I enjoyed the Reki but the effects didn't last long enough for me, acupuncture didn't help & when she put one of those fine needles into my thumbs that only seemed to make it worse! I do use homeopathic remedies for some things but have still to find one which helps my pain. Warmth always seems to help & warm relaxing baths are lovely. I also do Tai Chi which is gentle & I think it does help to keep my joints moving & along with the exercise we also do a kind of meditation which helps with relaxing. For me it's a matter of trying a mixture of things dependent on the type of pain I have.

 

Jensue

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Distraction works great during the day - but not much help when trying to get to sleep. Pets can be a good means of distraction. Taking care of my little doxie girl keeps my mind off pain.

 

I also find exercise helpful, as long as it is very light (otherwise it will cause myalgia), and not jarring. Light swimming is the best. Unfortunately most pools are too cold for someone with sclero.

 

Some pain (peripheral neuropathy of the feet, in particular) tends to be worse after a lot of sugar. I notice this pain is worse when I have a big bowl of ice cream before bed. But that might just be me.

 

Craig

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I have found Yoga to be an excellent exercise to reduce joint pain. But, unfortunately lately I have been too lazy to do it. May be I need to include it as my new year’s resolution for 2009.


Kind regards,

 

Kamlesh

 

 

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Hi all. Here are my thoughts to pain management and staying healthy with sclero for five years now: maintaining a really healthy diet, regular exercise, minimizing stress and getting enough sleep are really essential. I know exercise is hard when we feel so rotten and fatigued, but even walking on a treadmill for 30 min a few times a week followed by stretching is a great start. The endorphin release I think is very beneficial. Diet-wise I think a lot of fruits and especially veggies (I do a lot of steamed greens and others) and complex carbs is helpful. I try to stay away from too much sugar (very hard for me) and processed foods. Just a really clean diet (inspired a little on macrobiotic principles). Sleep is key - your body can't heal without it. and stress... wow, my symptoms skyrocket in direct relation to stress. Anyway, hope it helps.

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Pain meds all come with a warning label and I think that pain should also come with a warning label that reads "won't kill you but you may kill a passerby just because they passed you by."

 

I used to use distraction methods when I had a mild to moderate migraine by listening to the radio with earphones on and the volume down very low. After a pain injection for a severe one my husband would read our favourite book to me whilst it tapered off and that would help.

 

As already acknowledged distraction doesn't work for severe pain or pain in the wee small hours when you want to be viewing the inside of your own eyelids, these are my times for medicated relief. Even if the pain is only lessened that's good enough for me because I need a bit of psychological relief which comes from knowing that I can still treat the pain. Mind you I have had that awful heart stopping moment of realisation that I am well and truly in trouble when the strongest pain relief available to me it isn't working this time.

 

To me the most natural approach to pain is accepting that pain in varying degrees is something you are going to live with for the rest of your life so that you can then begin to assimilate pain into your life rather that it assimilate you. As part of your life it becomes something to manage and cope with and we employ various strategies in order to do so whether medicinal, herbal, physical, psychological, religious and the like. The only thing that does not work is denial oh yes and trying to keep it to yourself.

 

I accept that I have varying degrees of pain all day everyday and what helps me is knowing that there are lots of others living the same thing and that I can share with them in this forum. To read about another's struggle with pain and their management of it assures me that I am not the only one doing this day after day.

 

For me what works is acknowledging the pain, accepting it, sharing about it, partaking in others sharing about theirs and finally taking pain meds when I think I need them, being fully aware of the effects in the long term but nevertheless making my own informed consented decision to use them whenever I feel it appropriate. Having started at the point of acknowledging I will have pain my use of pain meds has lessened as I no longer expect them to take the pain away completely and an happy to just have a degree of relief.

 

I would be open to herbal/natural alternatives, I've just never heard of any that actually work. I'll continue reading this thread in the hope of picking some up.

 

Amanda


Amanda Thorpe

ISN Sclero Forums Senior Support Specialist

ISN Video Presentations Manager

ISN Blogger

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Assistant Manager

(Retired) ISN Email Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Also welcome urangel! :lol:

 

Still awaiting a definite diagnosis eh? Let us know when you get it!

 

Amanda


Amanda Thorpe

ISN Sclero Forums Senior Support Specialist

ISN Video Presentations Manager

ISN Blogger

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Assistant Manager

(Retired) ISN Email Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Thanks for the welcome Jensue and Ohboyoklahoma.

 

Yeah, it's almost like she is scared to tell me my diagnosis even though all of my tests results (ANA levels, pulmonary tests, related symptoms, etc.) all are screaming Scleroderma. She wants to take more tests. I don't know, maybe that's a good thing. But I've been going to doctors for the past 4 years trying to find out what's wrong with me.

 

I just love this site, there's soooo much valuable information here. I've been reading as much as I can for 2 days straight!!

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Hi all and welcome Urangel,

 

I agree that keeping active helps - I do Pilates stretches.

 

I've had good success using a 'relaxation' CD while I have a TENS unit working on the worst areas. I get a lot of back spasm and I find if I 'wire up', put on the CD and stretch out in a warm place, I'll relax so much I fall asleep! It took me ages to make it to the end of the CD. :lol:

 

I read for distraction too. My handsome hubby says he can tell how I'm feeling by what I'm reading. ;)

 

Jeannie (JJ)


Jeannie McClelland

(Retired) ISN Director of Support Services

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Manager

(Retired) ISN Blog Manager

(Retired) ISN Assistant News Guide

(Retired) ISN Artist

International Scleroderma Network

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Hi Urangel,

 

Happy News Years. I agree with the others about exercise. It helps me a lot. I do yoga at least once a week, and I do Zumba at least times a week. When I don't get a chance to do my classes it effects my moods and pain levels. It has really helped me.

 

Zumba is fun because it is a dance/exercise class. You can do it anyway you want. On days I don't feel really well, I still try to go but put less into it. It is also fun so I look forward to it.

 

Yoga makes me feel better also, but is more painful doing it.

 

Hope you find something that helps.

 

hugs,

Nina Lynn

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Urangel, welcome to the Sclero Forums. I'm glad you've joined us. I look forward to knowing you better.

 

Natural methods for me include - Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, stretching, foot massage, some Chinese herbal remedies, meditation, hydrotherapy, and distraction.

 

I rarely take pain meds. I try to do anything but that. It's a last resort for me.


Warm and gentle hugs,

 

Pamela

ISN Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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1 boy in sports age 11

1 boy in sports age 6

1 litterbox with cat

1 deprived dog

1 full time job

1 house to clean

1 yard to trim

 

If not for these, I probably would not even ever get out of bed. Responsibility = distraction = pain management.

 

Other natural methods I use are:

 

Favorite music

dancing

hot and cold packs

long hot showers

pacing myself

treating myself

the rare massage

biofeedback

becoming one with the pain

making pain my friend

ignoring the pain

crying

aromatherapy

comedy


Take care,

Barefut

 

Serena Justis

ISN Blogger

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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