Pain Management without the Pain Management

I hate the phrase pain management. Seriously, I do. I really despise it. Whenever I am in the hospital, right after I hear the words, “Let’s manage your pain.”, they shoot me up with Zofran and Diladid, then I’m slurring my words and snoring…for 3 hours. After 3 hours I wake up in a sweat, grinding my teeth, in pain and unable to make sense of a lot of things. That isn’t really managing pain. But it’s a necessary evil. And eventually, it allows my body to rest enough, that it begins to heal itself.

However, none of these things are conducive to parenting a child. After your children are born, there is no time to sleep anything off. A hangover or pain pills. And when you’re a single parent, you don’t have a partner to tag team in when you do need to, sleep it off. But even when I had a partner, there just wasn’t the time to “manage my pain” with my prescribed pain medication. I was a stay at home, often with no nanny or babysitter. I couldn’t be on a Vicodin high while my son was home. What if he fell and broke his arm? Who was gonna drive him to the ER while hubby was an hour away at his office? Yes, these are things moms think about, all the time. We have to think about the worse case scenario and work backwards from there. Because to be honest, with a toddler, the worse case can happen. One day my toddler found his way into the pantry and pulled out all the cereal and crackers on to the floor where he stomped them like he was in a 1927 wine grape vat. And that just happen to be on a day where I couldn’t really clutch the broom too well with my arthritic fingers. So, yea. Moms + Worse Case Scenario= No Vicodin!

Does that mean that you are doomed to spend a day in absolute pain? No. There are products and things you can do, to ease some of the pain. Here are some things that work for me.

Family Bath

Most moms relish in bathing by themselves, because…we can’t! Ever! So, I’m sorry to take this away from you, but this is a very good way to submerge your aching muscles & joints in warm medicated water and keeping an eye on your kids. If you aren’t comfortable or have older kids, you can absolutely do this in bathing suits. It actually might be best if your kid doesn’t like to bathe. Turn it into a pseudo swim time. Fill the bath with warm water, epsom salt, juniper oil and lavender oil. Sometimes I had a little Valerian if it’s close to everyone’s bath time. Add some bubbles for fun. Set up the iPad or Laptop on a near by dry counter and put on a movie for the kids. Or play a game. We had bathtub crayons and bath bombs that Hippo and I played with. When his father and I were together, sometimes his dad would join. Or he would sit by the bathtub, while Jax got in and out and we read stories or listened to music.

Warm Packs & Massage Chairs

I would sit or lay on the couch with a hot pack (hot towel) doused in Juniper, Eucalyptus and Lavendar oil. We also had one of those massage pad inserts for the cars. You know the mobile massage things you get from Brookstone…when Brookstone was alive? We had a heat feature on ours and I would sit on that, on the couch wrapped in the hot essential oil towels. For the towels you wet them down in warm water. Rub them around in essential oils. Put them in plastic baggies and place in microwave for about 2 ┬áminutes. I remove from bag so that the plastic doesn’t burn my skin.

Use Topical Pain Relievers

Take a hot shower and before you moisturize. Rub on a topical pain reliever. I will often use Topricin or Voltaren Gel. Actually I use Topricin more as a preventative topical everyday. Voltaren I use as immediate pain relief. Rub on the trouble spots. Try rubbing in one layer of Topricin, wait 2 minutes and then add another layer. Lots of people love using Tiger Balm, I think it’s great and I used it often. However, I can’t with the strong smell. Especially within my sheets, I just can’t. The Topricin and Voltaren don’t have a smell. And they aren’t greasy, so that’s why I use them. You can also get 30% off of Topricin if you use my CCM30 promo code on their website. So, there’s also that! ­čÖé

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs

Yes, I am very serious about this. At my sickest, I was getting acupuncture once a week and drink this AWFUL tasting tea my acupuncturist concocted from a Chinese recipe. It cleared up my night sweats, relieved some of my back pain, and helped me get back to sleep, even if I was up at night going to the bathroom. It wasn’t a cure, but it definitely was a good treatment.

Massage From Your Partner

Having an autoimmune disease can take the sexy right out of your relationship and put a strain on you emotionally & financially. Intimacy is hard to come by and quite frankly the last thing on your mind. At one time, I was actually petrified to have sex with my partner for fear of everything that could go wrong. It was so embarrassing to think about that I didn’t even tell him. In fact, he never knew. It was never him, it was the idea that I looked sick and heaven forbid some blood or something come rushing out in the middle. Look it can happen! People have been known to be sprayed with breast milk during post partum sex…I’m not naming any names or anything, but listen…IT HAPPENS! Look at you, laughing, okay, so you know what I mean! Alright, so intimacy with hang ups and complications. But I think that sometimes we forget that we have to put some effort into love and intimacy. So start with something that will actually heal. Ask for a back rub. Or hubby/wife, give a back rub or a foot rub. Turn the lights down, make sure the room is warm and turn on some music. It may or may not lead to anything. But that doesn’t matter. What it will do, is ease the stress between the two of you. Stress can manifest into physical pain. I spent most of my relationship feeling guilty, less than & stressed. A lot of that I put on myself. I’m sure if at least some of that would have been relieved, I wouldn’t have been compounded with so much physical pain. We need endorphins to flow and help us move. If your relationship is fracturing, it will only make you sicker. The nights we spent laughing, playing games, hugging each other, were the mornings I woke up feeling lighter than the day before.

One or more may or may not work. I think it also depends on how you look at things. I have tried to stop looking at things as the cure all. I realize it’s a collaborative effort to be healthy, not cured. I’m not looking for a cure. I’m looking for a better quality of life, living with the cards I’ve been dealt. I know it’s achievable, I believe. Or rather…I Want To Believe…HAHA! See what I did there? What do you want from me? The X-Files are back, I had to inject in somewhere into this blog. Mulder & Scully bring me joy! Alright, alright. Okay, so listen, just try some of these. Take deep breaths throughout the day. Find the joy in small things and stay hopeful. I also find that it helps if I do the things I CAN do during the day with Jaxon when I can’t take a pain pill, as opposed to the things that will drain me into NEEDING to take a pain pill. I also try to just take each day as it comes and not worry about what the next morning may bring. Staying in the moment and feeling wonderful that I took a chance on motherhood! No Colon, Creaky Joints and all!