STOPPING THE HURT
When you hurt there are a couple tried and true methods to try to alleviate the pain.
Ice: Reduces blood flow, inflammation and swelling to an injured area. applying ice for 20 minutes at a time then leave the ice off for 20 minutes. Repeat. Ice does an amazing job at numbing pain. This method works best for up to 3 days after an injury. After three days you may actually slow the healing process so after 3 days shift to heat if that works. DO NOT use ice if you have sensory loss, as you may damage the tissue (this includes advanced diabetes), if you have stiff and sore muscles or joints.
Heat: Improves blood flow and soothes stiff muscles. For minor stiffness and pain 20 minutes should be enough, for moderate to severe stiffness and pain you may need to apply heat for 30 minutes to 2 hours. You may want to try moist heat as it takes shorter amounts of time and seems to penetrate deeper. Another great option is Epsom salt baths, remember to take a cup in the tub with you so you can scoop up the water and cover your upper back and neck without having to lay down in the tub. Use warm temperatures, not hot, and check for burns or discoloration. DO NOT use heat over bruised or swollen area, open wounds. Ask your doctor before using heat if you are pregnant or have hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, dermatitis, vascular diseases, deep vein thrombosis, multiple sclerosis (MS)
For chronic overuse pain or chronic swelling you can alternate between warm and cold. Use the same precautions as above. Two minutes in hot, one minute of cold, you can dunk the body part in water if its possible. Always end on cold for inflammation and swelling. While in warm water or heating pad is on try stretching to make a mechanical pump to move any edema (fluid) out of the area. Remember to be smart and start off small and build up the temperature difference only after you know you can handle it.
Topical ointments are always available for mild to moderate focal pain. Be cautious if you have allergies. There are a huge number of these available at any pharmacy, ask your pharmacist for advice on which one may work best for you.
Light exercise can help decrease pain
Stress reduction: prayer, mediation yoga or walking can help decrease mental burdens which can lead to more pain.
Gentle stretching for 30-90 seconds can help with tight muscles, don’t bounce just ease into the stretch. Here again you might give yoga a shot.
Make sure you are sleeping enough. 6-9 hours are commonly suggested. Make sure your bed and pillow are the right ones for you. The number of people I see who are sleeping on poor quality mattresses and pillows is huge.
Drink plenty of water as dehydration can cause pain and discomfort. Not to mention it is dangerous. A good rule of thumb I use is half your body weight in ounces every day. Note: this may change if you have medical conditions talk to your doctor first.