Pain management is a big concern with chronic pain and fibromyalgia. There are a lot of things touted as helpful for dealing with pain. It can take a lot of trial and error to find what helps us. So I thought I’d provide my favourite five pain management mechanisms that I utilise daily as a potential starting point for you. These are pregnancy and nursing safe too.
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My top five natural pain management options video for those that prefer to listen or watch
1. Heat pack
Heat is my favourite pain management mechanism ever. I use my heat pack multiple times a day and take it to bed when I first hop in. I was using a heatpack long before I started researching and fighting the fibromyalgia actively, my body seeks heat when in pain.
Edit 2020: I have found something even better than my tiny microwavable heat pack! An electric heating pad designed to fit the neck and shoulders. It has made such a difference to be able to simultaneously treat my neck and back at the same time. It is also great in the middle of the night, I tend to wake with a sore neck in the early hours, now I don’t have to drag myself out of bed to get the heat pack! I simply turn this on and then wake up with the children in semi-functioning shape. It is truly the best tool I have tried in a long time.
2. Warm bath
Bonus add Epsom salts
Following on from the heat pack, a hot bath is my favourite time out and relaxation technique. When my lower body is very sore, this is the only way to release the cramps – for these times I have it rather hot. When I was in my third trimester with my second baby I’d end up in a hot bath that just covered my thighs just about every afternoon.
Yoga is a multi use pain management tool. I use it for strength, flexibility, pain relief and relaxation. When my back is sore and tight I’ll do cat and cow pose slowly, with my breath for a minute for so. This was super useful when I was dealing with the symphysis pubis disorder (when your pelvis widens too far in pregnancy and can stay that way for some time after delivery).
This has been an emotionally bolstering find. Especially when I have slept particularly badly and am exhausted. I no longer bother trying to nap and then get frustrated because I can’t. It is relaxing for body and mind. It can bring pain and fatigue levels down. I wrote a giant post about this here and have a chapter in my book and an entire course dedicated to it!
5. Magnesium oil (pregnant) essential oils (not, or after first trimester)
Every night since my second pregnancy I have applied magnesium oil before bed. I never had an excruciating calf cramp during that pregnancy. I’m only at the beginning of my natural topical pain relief journey. Lavender and chamomile is a lovely combination for massaging onto sore muscles. It also makes a lovely bath oil. This is a whole other topic that I’ll research, experiment with and write up on the blog.
Please note that it is not recommended to ingest oils during pregnancy or to use essential oils during the first trimester – for the same reasons we try to minimise medicine use in pregnancy, there isn’t enough data to consider it safe.
I’d love to hear your go-to natural pain relief options!