SP Premium
SparkPeople Blogs  •  health  •  tips

Natural Pain Remedies That Work!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I used to weigh 460 pounds. Because of that, I have degenerative disease, herniated disks, pinched nerve bundles, arthritis, bad knees, and the list goes on. As a result of these things, I used to be the depression queen. My daily mantra was "I can’t”. The truth is, I felt hopeless in my world of pain and weight issues.  I thought nothing could save me.  Now I am at a nearly 200 pound weight loss, thanks to SparkPeople and Sparkers like you!
But what about my pain? Is it gone?  No, sadly, but it has become much more manageable with a few wonderful techniques I’ve discovered along my journey.
After starting SparkPeople, I fired every doctor I had and got new ones.  I explained my needs and desire to get better, but I refused to put up with any form of ridicule. (Example:  One doctor grabbed my stomach and called it "This thing.")  I needed advice and direction, not judgment.  So I found a new doctor who set me up with in-home physical therapy to address my specific needs.  Your specific needs may be different, so it is always best to start with a knowledgeable, yet understanding doctor. 
From there, I started a plan of action.  Many doctors now recommend ways to deal with minor to moderate pain without drugs.  Even my severe pain was helped by physical therapy, which I continue to do.  I also think of my exercise routine as a form of physical therapy because it allows me to keep moving and keep the pain in check to a degree.  
Soon after I began physical therapy, my therapist recommended yoga.  I thought she was off her rocker- a 460 pound immobile person doing yoga?  Yet, she guided me on my bed on all 4's into the cat/cow position, where you alternate raising and lowering the back.  Bingo!  She was a genius!  We also practiced the cobra and a few mild twists.  The combination of physical therapy and yoga did wonders. 
I also integrated temperature therapy into my pain management routine.  A warming blanket or hot bath in Epsom salts really helped to ease my pain and fibromyalgia.  I used cold for numbing or reducing swelling. I was told by my hand specialist to get a paraffin bath to control the arthritis and degenerative pain in my hands.  Not only does it help the pain, but it is very moisturizing, too!
Massage is now being covered by many medical insurances.  I personally got the most pain relief from a Swedish style because it is gentler than other types of massage.  Deeper tissue massages are great for breaking up and moving fluids that could be causing pain, but they can really set off my fibromyalgia. 
Another pain control method that is getting plenty of recognition is acupuncture. I've heard fantastic things about acupuncture, although I've never gone under the needle myself.  Some scientific studies show that acupuncture may work on pain from migraine headaches to arthritis.  The technique involves placing hair-thin needles into pressure points.  Stimulation at these points is thought to help the body naturally heal and improve function.
Similar to acupuncture, chiropractic treatment helps create proper alignment at various points of the spine and allows the body to enhance its healing properties.  Personally, I have tried this and it has worked for me.  The trick is in finding a reputable chiropractor, so be sure and ask a few medical professionals for references.  
Many of the pain management techniques mentioned above are now being considered by insurance companies.  If you have to self-pay, many times the practitioner might negotiate a better price depending on your situation.
Take your pain day by day and roll with it. Find what works for you in terms of therapy and don't expect to do what you can do on a "Good pain day" on a "Bad pain day."  Rank your pain and then match your activity to it.  Heal and be gentle.  And remember that any movement at all is physical therapy.

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See more: health tips


This is a great article.

It is hard to feel positive when you are dealing with chronic pain. Compared to yours, mine are relatively mild but it still can be hard to think positive through the pain. I have found that it helps to focus on what I *can* do, even if the list of the things I *can't* do feels legion. And yeah, you have to learn to really pay attention to your body and it's limitations because just because I can do an activity on Monday (even something as simple as walking in the park) doesn't mean I can do it that Friday.

It's also great advice to remind people that if their doctor isn't helping them that it's okay to get rid of them. It can be hard because they are the experts and I was at least raised to listen to what my doctors says and do what I'm told, but doctors are human, too. It's important to listen and follow their advice, true, but I don't need to put up with a doctor who ridicules me. That's not helpful.

Thanks for the reminder about the parafin wax! I have one of those and completely forgot about it and my hands are really bothering me lately--that should help. Report
Great information. I especially appreciate the information on the massages. You're an inspiration. Report
Thanks for the wonderful information !! Report
Congratulations on the great progress you have made! Also thanks for all the ideas for controlling pain in various areas of the body. This will be very helpful. Report
I enjoyed reading your blog and how you persevered. Keep up the good work! You are an inspiration to all! Report
A couple more things for your arsenal, in case you ever need them. I have sacroiliac joints that go "out" because of loose ligaments. I've been taught a couple of techniques for self-manipulation that get them back "in," but the surrounding muscles can remain sore for days. It's a chronic problem that started with pregnancy and childbirth, but it has gotten a lot better over the years I thanks to prolotherapy and PRP which have helped stabilize those joints ( www.treatingpain.com ). I'm currently learning some stretching techniques that help too. I lie lengthwise on a foam roller to stretch out my tight shoulders (where I store all my tension), and to keep my neck moving more freely (I have arthritis in my neck). I wear Skechers Shape Ups with custom orthotics to help control SI joint pain, as well as to control pain in my feet from arthritis and occasional tendinitis, and they work like a charm. I replace them every few months because wear and tear on the sole can provoke my sacroiliac joints. It's all about management. Sometimes I am pain-free for months, and then I have a flare up, but for the most part, these measures keep things under control. I just got a "body back buddy" and a book on trigger points to help with self-massage of difficult to reach areas. If you haven't visited before, you might also enjoy visiting optp.com. It's an online store for doctors, patients, and physical therapists. I sometimes get books and other stuff from there to help with self-care. Report
You have pointed out some great alternative therapies to pain management. I especially find your closing statement concerning expectations of extreme value. Report
Walking Guide