Over the last 6 years, I have dealt with a ton of physical, mental, and emotional pain. I have tried many things in an effort to cope and these are my best holistic pain management tips, along with some things I don’t recommend.
View my tips on managing:
When a migraine hits, which I have had A TON of over the last 7 or 8 years, some things not to do: use phones, computers, and other devices, no reading anything, no lights, no loud sounds. The migraine will stick around longer if you are reading things and using a computer.
When I feel the pain set in I go to the darkest room possible right away, which for me is my bedroom. I used to just hang out in the living room but it seemed like my migraines stuck around longer. I realize it’s because there is more light and it comes in from multiple directions all around me.
I usually only have light from a TV in the bedroom. For some people watching TV maybe too much, but for me it is a good distraction from focusing on the pain, which can increase the pain. When I focus on my pain my stress levels spike and this can make the pain even more intense. If TV is too much I recommend listening to a podcast because something with a story will be a good distraction. Keeping calm is key!
The next thing I will do is drink a ton of water, and place a large ice pack on my head or around my neck. It doesn’t typically take the pain away, but it is a good distraction and can sometimes numb the pain. The third thing I do is eat if I haven’t nourished my body in a while. I try to avoid sugar and processed carbohydrates and instead eat some fruits, vegetables, and protein. Sugar can definitely make it worse!
If I am stressed I typically do breathing exercises. They help to calm me down. The breathing exercises work better than anything else I’ve tried at minimizing my stress levels when I’m in pain. I typically do the Nadi Shodhanam Pranayam To Balance The Mind, you can read about it here: how to calm your mind - 6 ayurvedic breathing techniques
I also highly recommend these breathing exercises for anxiety. I always find myself surprised how much they calm my stress when it is really high.
Once I have done about 10 minutes of breathing it is time for coffee! Coffee has taken away my migraines more times than I can count. It doesn’t always work, but lately, it has been working. I drink espresso, but any coffee should work the same. After my coffee, I will drink more water, as coffee can be dehydrating and water is needed when the body is in pain.
There is one last thing I do that is supposed to help with migraines. I rub some peppermint essential oil on my head and on my neck. It can sometimes numb the pain for a bit but usually doesn’t do too much for me personally.
The best thing for my stomach/muscular pain is a heating pad. I’m literally not sure how I survived pain before having my heat pad. It is super helpful at numbing my pain. If I have sore muscles, not related to inflammation or chronic pain, then I will do ice instead. Depending on the type of pain, I might also try stretching, a massage, or doing Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube.
Another awesome way to numb the pain is a bubble bath. I use a natural lavender (known for relaxation) bath solution, or eucalyptus (known for easing joint pain), and arnica bubble bath solution View here. To gain even more benefits from a bath, many sources recommend a handful of Epsom salts, and a ½ cup of baking soda (which I prefer too).
I also have an essential oil blend specifically for stomach pain which is a mix of panaway and copaiba added to an essential oil rollerball with some almond oil. I use Young Living Essential Oils.
Additionally, the body tends to heal better when you eat the right food. Some of the best foods for muscle pain include berries, fish, turmeric, leafy greens, ginger, bananas, and pineapple. A hot green tea might also be helpful. Juicing is also a great idea. Sugar, processed carbs, and alcohol should be avoided when dealing with muscular pain.
Lastly, if I notice my pain is in my neck or spine and the pain lasts for at least a week, I will usually go see my chiropractor.
I have found a lot of helpful things when dealing with complicated pain inside my head. First, if there are too many thoughts in my head I have found it is best to voice them to a trusted friend. Don’t allow yourself to get stranded on a lonely island. Sometimes it’s great to just have someone to listen, to comfort you, lend a helping hand, or you might be able to make more sense of your thoughts once you say them out loud.
You might also choose to write them down. Sometimes writing them down helps you to organize your thoughts, just get them out of your head, and sometimes it is just the process of writing that is calming. You might write down what you are feeling, write down some positive things (what you are grateful for), or just whatever feels right.
I also tend to eat chocolate when I’m struggling with some difficult emotions which have been known to help with stress. It should be around 80% dark chocolate in order to get the benefits. There was actually a study done showing chocolate can help reduce stress: view here.
As I mentioned above, breathing exercises can also help calm the body along with meditation. I used to meditate quite often when I was really sick, and it helped me to focus on just getting from one moment to the next. It helped me to not worry about the rest of the day, the next day, or the next week. I also used to enjoy mindful coloring in adult coloring books before I started doing more arts and crafts.
I tend to be more relaxed when I’m doing my arts and crafts. If you have hobbies that reduce your stress, I suggest making time for them.
Exercise of any sort is also great when dealing with complicated emotions or stress. I prefer a walk outside because nature helps to relax the body. I also like grounding, which is walking barefoot across the grass, sand, or whatever ground you have to walk on. The electrical charges from the earth can have a positive effect on the body. Here is how grounding works.
Lastly, prayer, reading the bible, or listening to Christian music helps me when I’m struggling with difficult or complex thoughts and emotions.
I used to get really bad allergies every February for several years in a row where I was coughing stuff up, sneezing, feeling drained, and extra tired for at least a week. Then, I would be coughing stuff up for nearly a month. But over time, I have found a lot of awesome things to help and I no longer get month-long allergies.
At my house we use HEPA air filters, have a Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier that we keep by our bedside at night, and we also sometimes diffuse essential oils (lavender, lemon, and peppermint) combined. But, what finally stopped my allergies from coming was the UV light my husband installed in our furnace, and the quercetin supplements I take around the time I expect my allergies to show up. I’m not sure for certain, but I’m guessing the UV light was the game-changer.
Other things I have found that help includes drinking lots of water, having more garlic, pure honey, and tea. It is also helpful to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
Many people find a Neti Pot to be a useful tool for reducing allergies, but I don’t like the way it feels. My last tip is to avoid using chemical cleaners, candles with fragrances, and air fresheners because they pollute the air inside your house. It is best to choose all-natural cleaners and natural candles.
I hope my tips on managing pain naturally were helpful. What has worked the best for you?