Now one of the things you should most definitely know about me is this: I am a sucker for a good life- hack. Dont get me wrong, there’s a few things where nothing but the ‘original recipe’ will do. When it comes to chronic pain, however, I think we can all say that we would try anything. Below I will be sharing my list of chronic pain hacks. Short disclaimer: little old me thinks these work brill, but not everyone has the same opinion. Remember to keep your mind open, but please don’t take my word as gospel. That being said, It won’t hurt to try, so go ahead and take a peek at my list…
1. Drink more water.
It sounds pretty obvious, but drinking more water helps avoid dehydration, one of the main causes of your day-to-day headache. I don’t know about you, but my day tends to go significantly better if I ditch the headache, as it gives me more of a chance to manage the rest of my pains. Plus, drinking more fluids helps flush out the toxins in your body, increases your metabolism, and helps you to think more clearly. Sounds pretty good to me.
2. Cut back on caffeine.
I’m not sure on the exact science behind this (although I reckon a little Google-ing here or there could sort that one), however, I’ve been given plenty of advice on this and, as far as I’m concerned, it seems to have done the trick for me. Cut down on coffee, sugary drinks and – the source of all evil – energy drinks. Not only will this help beat those shakes and sweats you’ve no doubt complained about, but it also appears to do some good for your pain. Remember, check out what your consuming, because you would be surprised by the amount of caffeine in some of your usual ‘not-very-caffeine-ey stuff’. Better to be safe than sorry, eh?
3. Swap those cheeky treats for some tasty, guilt-free alternatives.
Like I said before, consuming healthier things just makes you feel better, but it also has another benefit. Getting the vitamins and minerals you need, plus ditching those pesky calories, means that your body can function better. This means that your body has more energy to spare, helping you deal with pain. Furthermore, you’ve probably noticed that your fibro leaves you feeling low on energy, and that reaching for those calories is your first move. The weight that most fibro sufferers gain through this is one of the biggest contributors in making them feel naff, because it means carrying around extra baggage. Not only does this increase the amount of pain you may feel, but it also wears down your energy levels even quicker. It’s a never ending cycle. Cut out the rubbish in your diet and you’ll find that you cut this issue too. Lower calories = lower weight = less pain + more energy. It’s a simple equation. Similarly, those of you who find yourselves losing weight and muscle mass (thus making you weaker and in need of more energy) can plan your diet around this too, building on healthy fats, proteins, and wholegrains in order to build your body mass in a healthy way.
I have three things to say about this. Firstly; yes, I know it’s a pain in the you-know-what. I hate exercise too. Secondly, yes, this is the fourth tip I’ve given in what seems like an obvious list, but trust me, it gets better. Thirdly, well, this is where you need to pay attention. Pain makes exercise hard, and so does fatigue, but trust me on this, it pays off in the end. By building muscle mass and burning fat, you can help your body to cope better when it comes to the stress of fibro. Increasing your capacity for activity helps you to last longer, and you release a bunch of lovely endorphins along the way, which make you feel better emotionally too (yay!). It’s even been said that the endorphins that you release during exercise help reduce the amount of pain you may be feeling. Can’t go wrong, really.
5. CBD oil.
This is where is gets interesting. Get your learning caps on guys, were about to have a lesson in biochemistry. So, CBD oil is a plant-based substance that you can buy from your local whole foods retailer, such as Holland and Barrett. It is also known as Cannabidiol oil, and (don’t freak out) is a product that’s derived from cannabis. It’s a type of cannabinoid, one of the chemicals naturally found in marijuana plants. However, there’s no need to panic, you won’t get the ‘high effect’ that you would usually expect from the plant, because this is caused by a separate cannabinoid, known as THC, which isn’t present in this case. This means that CBD is legal, and so is available on the market at low concentrations for around £20 per bottle. Oh, and as far as we know, it is completely safe to use and has little to no known side effects (Woo!).
6. Massage it out.
Getting a massage, whether by a highly trained professional or by your bestie, helps to ease your achy muscles. Adding some fancy smelling aromatherapy oils can also help, giving you some mental relaxation too. Try some calming music or some candles to help set the mood if you’re at home, because a spa day is the perfect remedy for everyone. And if your pain doesn’t ease as well as you would have hoped? Well, at least you feel pampered.
7. A hot, steamy bubble bath.
Again, not only does it give you an excuse to feel pampered, but this actually can help with your pain. Soaking in warm water helps your muscles to relax, easing that annoying ache.
8. Heat pads, hot water bottles, and microwave buddies.
I have a microwaveable cat and believe me, he is my best friend. Using the same theory as above, the heat helps to relax your muscles, so bang it on your ache and hopefully you should feel some relief. Be careful though! Sometimes these can get too hot, so wrap them in a towel if you think you might get burnt.
9. Cool packs.
Put these on your aching joints to soothe and reduce any inflammation. Fibro often correlates with co-morbid diseases such as arthritis and hypermobility syndrome. If this is the case for you, you might find that achey joints can be eased by reducing their inflammation, and the cold temperature of ice packs are perfect for this.
10. Netflix and, uh… chill?
No! Not like that! Get your mind out of the gutter you filthy animal… Now, it might seem silly, but sometimes, when nothing else seems to be working, one of the best things you can do to ease your pain is snuggle up in bed with your fave movie and take your mind off it. I know, easier said than done, but it’s better than being in pain without the bed or the Netflix, right??
*** Please note that no microwaveable cats have been injured in the making of this post. ***