Jun 25, 2015 | By Tim Stoddart
6 Tips For Dealing With Pain In While In RecoveryRelapse Prevention
Life hurts… that’s just the truth.
One of the downsides of being a human, is that you stand upright. This naturally can cause a lot of pain for people. In fact, back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Everyone has aches and pains in life, which is something we all have to deal with.
However, for those of us in recovery, our options for dealing with this pain are somewhat limited. Some people who are in severe pain still depend on narcotic painkillers, which needs to be balanced carefully and managed between the individual and their doctor. If it all possible, I suggest staying away from narcotic painkillers at all costs. I have personally witnessed way too many friends relapse on painkillers, all because of an ache or pain. Maybe the pain was a justification for them, maybe not. Regardless, it rarely ends well. Some of them I never saw again, I wish I knew where they were.
Yes, this is hard, but there are ways to manage your pain without the use of drugs. People have been dealing with pain for thousands of years before the creation of painkillers, so we know it can be done.
Here are a few tips to help you get by…
1 – Yoga and Exercise
I know what your thinking. Yoga is for girls in tight pants and lotus flower tattoos. False!
The art of yoga has enormous benefits for your posture, your flexibility, your mental health and your overall fitness. Most of the aches and pains we experience are caused from simply being still. In our society, we spend most of our time sitting down and remaining stiff. If you have back pain, neck pain, headaches or stiffness is your hips, yoga will do wonders in relieving that pain.
On top of that, the endorphins that doing yoga produces are a natural pain relievers within themselves. The bending and stretching of your muscles and tendons will leave you less prone to injury.
Don’t knock it until you try it. Yoga feels great.
2 – Get Your Vitamins And Nutrients
Most of us don’t have fulfilling diets. Natural herbs and medicines have been proven to help with pain and also proactively heal joint damage.
Most of these vitamins and nutrients can be found through food. Kale, bananas, good proteins and ginger all have benefits for muscle growth, immune system strength and act as anti-inflammatories. But there are also supplements you can take to give you an extra boost for vitamins and nutrients you might be missing through diet alone.
Some examples of supplements to help with bone and joint health are…
- Fish oil
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
Although buying supplements can get expensive, it is nothing compared to how much money you will blow through if you are buying painkillers every day from your dealer. Be proactive!
RELATED: The Role Of Diet In Recovery
3 – Communication And Knowing When To Rest
If you are in recovery, and especially if you are in pain, you need to communicate with your support group.
You will know your own body better than anyone else, and if you feel like you are pushing yourself too hard, it is critical that you let the people around you know. In our society, we have this strange complex where we like the push ourselves to our limit. Although it is what makes a lot of us successful (in whatever your definition of the word is), it also can lead to some unnecessary damage.
Simple tasks have the ability to spark pain. Working on your car, picking up furniture, dancing and playing basketball with your friends. These are all positive and necessary activities for life. We are just suggesting that you keep your support network informed and you make sure you get your rest.
Easy does it.
4 – Acupuncture
In the Western World, many people are still sceptical of acupuncture. For those who are unsure, let us first start with explaining what acupuncture is and how it works.
“Traditional Chinese Medicine views the body as a cohesive one—a complex system where everything within it is inter-connected—where each part affects all other parts. They teach that lack of balance within this biological system is the precursor to all illness. The body exhibits symptoms when suffering from inner disease, and if it’s not re-balanced these symptoms may lead to acute or chronic illnesses of all kinds.”
Acupuncture looks to weed out these “clogged” or congested areas of energy flow within the body. Sticking a thin need in the skin allows the energy to flow once again. With the “life force” or energy flowing again properly, the body can now re-regulate and maintain its own optimal level of health.
Acupuncture also incorporates herbs and other therapies such as guacha, cupping, and moxibustion—the burning of herbs on or over the skin—can be used to support the healing.
My mother deals with severe pain, and she says that acupuncture works wonders for her. Give it a shot!
5 – Keeping Good Posture And Staying Active
Bad posture and long periods of sitting is one of the leading causes of back pain and ill health. Every “machine” needs to run in order to stay clean. Cars turn into a heap of metal if they sit on the driveway for too long, it is much the same for the human body.
Although it may “hurt” to move, counter-intuitively, it will hurt even more to stay still.
Posture plays a big role in this. If you have a job that requires a lot of sitting, there are things you can do to alleviate some of the pain. For instance, there are dozens of ergonomic chairs that require you to sit up straight. Sitting on a workout ball will do this as well.
Sitting this way strengthens your lumbar which will support your frame and take a lot of the pressure off of your spine, neck, shoulders and hips.
Also, do some push-ups or jumping jacks every few hours. Stand up, strength, go for a walk and move your body. We are not asking for you to run 3 miles on your lunch break, but you need to keep moving.
6 – Swim
Are you noticing a pattern here?
It seems a common theme in this article is that movement and staying loose will help a lot with pain.
Swimming is probably the best form of exercise there is. It is a full body workout, it strengthens your heart and lungs, and there is virtually no impact on your joints. This is important because we don’t want to hurt ourselves more by trying to strengthen our bodies. Running for instance, can create more pain in your back and knees, but swimming will not.
If you swim for 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week, your pain will subside. No doubt about it.
Focusing On What’s Important
Let’s not get it twisted. The point of this article is not to teach you how to be healthier (although that is an added benefit), the point is to keep you from relapsing because of chronic pain.
As I said before, some people have debilitating conditions in which they need to be on narcotic painkillers. As long as taken as prescribed, I see nothing wrong with this. But the second that little pill turns into “just one more”, you now have a big problem
There is no magical answer to this. Life is full of problems and my heart goes out to those who deal with chronic pain of any kind. However, we believe that these tips can keep you off the path of addiction, and can be a positive influence in your happy and joyous road of recovery.
Stay sober my friends… God Bless
If you have any other tips, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. 🙂