Managing Your Pain At Home
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
With the ongoing pandemic, many healthcare services have been limited. For patients enduring pain, this time may be challenging. Not to mention, there may be added stress due to lifestyle changes with staying at home. This added stress could be amplifying your pain. Listed below are 5 things you can do at home to decrease your pain.
1. Use heat or ice.
Using a modality like heat or ice can be very helpful at decreasing pain. In deciding whether to use heat or ice, consider the type of pain you have. Muscle soreness and inflammation tend to feel better with ice, however muscles or joints that feel stiff tend to feel better with heat. Use for 20 minutes on the area where your pain is, up to 3 times a day.
2. Practice diaphragmatic breathing.
Diaphragmatic breathing, along with other relaxation techniques, can have a positive effect on decreasing your pain. For best practice, begin lying on your back with your knees bent in a comfortable position. Place both hands on your stomach. As you breathe in, try to fill the bottom of your lungs so that you feel your stomach rise, and as you breathe out, feel your stomach lower. Perform at a comfortable pace, and make sure you are not holding your breath. You can research other relaxation techniques to help with stress relief also.
Whether it be yoga or just general stretching, try to stay loose. Most of us are spending more time sitting during this quarantine and would benefit from general stretching. Make sure to stretch key muscles like the hamstrings, hip flexors, calf, neck, and low back.
4. Get moving!
Go for a walk, jog, or ride a bike. You could also search for online work out videos. Any form of cardio helps to release endorphins and take your mind off the pain.
5. Limit inflammatory food intake.
Diet changes can make a difference in your pain. Certain inflammatory food/drinks like gluten, dairy, and alcohol could be keeping your pain around. Try eliminating a food and recording your pain symptoms for one week to see if there are any notable changes.
6. See a Physical Therapist via Telehealth.
Many physical therapy clinics, including ours, are performing Telehealth visits via Facetime or other video calling services. Your virtual visit can provide you with specific pain relief techniques.
Written by Lauren Kremer, PT, DPT