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Why do I need at least 5 pain relief options?
If there is one thing I’ve learned living with psoriatic arthritis, it is this. When it comes to pain relief options there is no such thing as a single, simple answer. You will never find consistent, long-term relief from a single product. What works one day may not work the next and vice versa. One pain, one ache, one throbbing may respond to cold, then heat, then neither. Because of this, I believe it is very important to have a whole arsenal of weapons to fight back against chronic pain. It’s like fighting a war on many fronts.
Let’s face it, with the current state of the opioid crisis, pharmaceutical pain relief is getting more unlikely everyday. Compound this with the simple fact that I don’t like taking pain medication (when I can even get it) on top of the many pills I already take to fight my PsA and RA. It is no wonder why I am always on the hunt for alternative pain relief options.
My top 5 pain relief options
Turmeric is actually a spice that if often used in Indian cuisine that is part of curry. It has been known to decrease inflammation and relieve pain. Turmeric can be found at most local grocery and health food stores. There are several ways that you can use turmeric.
Ways to use turmeric
- It usually comes in a powdered form and can be taken like a supplement (like a vitamin). In comes in a capsule that you swallow.
- Sprinkled on your food while cooking, this spice is a great, quality option
- Turmeric Tea or Golden Milk. Wellness Mama has this great recipe for Golden Milk this is meant to be drank, usually warm.
- Lotions, masks, serums, and washes. There are a variety of products that use turmeric as a soothing ingredient. I’ve tried lotions that contain it, but haven’t actually tried any of the masks or actual skin care products yet. They are on my list though.
Since I’m not particularly science savvy, I have a bit of trouble explaining exactly how a tens unit works. TensUnit.com does a much better job of explaining it that me. Their site states, “The current travels through electrodes and into the skin stimulating specific nerve pathways to produce a tingling or massaging sensation that reduces the perception of pain. When a Tens Unit is used as directed a T.E.N.S. is a safe, noninvasive, drug-free method of pain management.” Here is the one I use and highly recommend:
a TENS Unit is great if you are able to stay on the couch or lay in bed. This one is particularly helpful because you can change the strength of the pulses. However, it is a bit of an investment. There is a much smaller form of a TENS Unit that you can probably get at your local drug store to give it a try and see if it helps you, but even that runs around $20. Also, Amazon has quite a selection of TENS Units as well.
Being totally, honest, CBD (cannabis) is actually one of my favorite, go-to options for pain relief and the one I believe actually helps me the best. Using a high quality CBD is important, but a little goes a long way so the initial investment is worth it. If not, you could be wasting your money and getting no relief. There are several ways to get relief from chronic pain using CBD.
Ways to use CBD
- You can take several drops, under the tongue, morning and night- This is called sublingually. One of the advantages of this is, if taken regularly, it can provide consistent and reliable pain relief. Using CBD this way isn’t recommended for immediate relief measures. Rather, it builds up in your system and works over time to decrease inflammation and relieve pain.
CBD oil comes in many strengths. You can work your way up in strength to figure out exactly how much is a good dosage for you. I recommend starting at either 250 mg (for $20) or 500mg (for $35) for moderate pain to severe pain. Then you may work up to where I am, about 1,000 mg. My full review (as well as dosing information) is coming soon. You can also follow this link and enter the code SUNDAYS to save 5%. I have found a lot of success with a couple different brands. The one pictured above, from CBDISTILLERY, is my current favorite for effectiveness and affordability. Taking CBD this way takes longer to work, but the relief does last longer than vaping.
- Vaping- The difference between vaping CBD and taking it under your tongue is how quickly you get pain relief and how long that relief lasts. Vaping CBD will give you nearly immediate pain relief but it usually only lasts for about 4 hours. Here is my post on how I use vaping CBD to fight my pain. I tend to use it if I need something extra above and beyond my usual pain management measures.
- Oils and Lotions- You can also apply CBD topically in the form of an oil or a lotion. I have found a lot of success with Bio CBD+ Oil . You can find my complete review of this here. I apply it directly to aching joints several times a day. There are also other great quality ones on the market as well, including this salve.
While this one seems to be a no-brainer, I have found that applying heat and ice can be very awkward and cumbersome without the right ways to do it. Heating pads and ice packs don’t wrap very nicely around my wrists, nor do they stay in place very well on my feet or lower back, just some of the areas that I have most of my pain. Slapping some ice in a baggie or grabbing a heating pad just don’t cut it for most of my pain.
Go-Fit Polar Massage Bar is great for working through the plantar fascittis pain on the bottoms of my feet. I included the picture because it can be hard to imagine what I’m talking about. But, rolling this (while cold) on the bottoms of your feet feels amazing!
This ice pack with velcro works great to hold the ice in place for the awkward joints of the elbow, shoulder, ankle.
These booties can actually count as heat or ice therapy because they can either be placed in the freezer or the microwave depending on if you need heat or ice therapy. Because they are booties, they match perfectly with the contours of your feet. Plus, these are filled with aromatherapy elements to help sooth and heal achy feet and ankles. Seriously, these are awesome.
Compression is an interesting way to fight chronic pain. In my experience, I have only found relief using compression when I know I’m going to be on my feet a lot, like spending the day shopping or at an amusement park with my kiddos. I did a full review of what I think about compression gear (socks and gloves) here.
When it comes to pain relief, it has taken me a long time to accept the fact that there will never be one single magic bullet to make me feel better. A combined approach is the only way to find relief in the most effective way possible. For a complete shopable listing of most of my favorites, click here.
Please, comment below if you have found a good way to find pain relief, I’d love to give it a try!
Sending gentle hugs and pain-free mornings!