chronic pain

Win the Full Salonpas Pain Relief Product Suite

Salonpas-e1484419121691.jpg

Salonpas Pain Relief Products Are My Go To!

I can remember my parents using BenGay for pain relief. That smell of the menthol and camphor was so strong!

A Less Messy and Smelly Alternative

As I grew up, I looked for products that smelled a bit better, but since everything uses the same base of camphor and menthol, I either avoided topical pain relief or just sucked it up with the smell. I tried IcyHot, Biofreeze, and even the Thermacare-style hot and cold packs.

Meanwhile, my Japanese friends were using Salonpas, which combines the camphor and menthol with an actual anti-inflammatory (methyl salicylate), and doesn't smell as intense. They would bring me boxes when they went home to visit.

And because the products are Jet-sprays, gels, and patches of varying sizes, they are much less messy than the old ointments and creams.

FDA Approved for Pain Relief

But now, I can buy Salonpas here in the US! And in addition to the regular patches, sprays, and gels, they have a hot patch and a lidocaine patch - all of which are FDA approved for pain relief and are viable alternatives to increasingly expensive prescription patches.

salonpas pain relief ll

What Do I Use Salonpas For?

The toe I crushed in 2013 still vexes me, especially in damp cold. I wrap my toe in the small Salonpas patch and it really helps!

I have chronic nerve pain from shingles, and I use the large Lidocaine patch when that gets bad, as well as the heated large patch.

Hubby has chronic back pain, and a shot of the spray helps him feel better for 6-8 hours at a time.

Plus, if I am extra sore from working out or an old injury flares up, Salonpas really rescues me!

Recently, the Salonpas folks sent me the entire product line. And now, they would like to give this same set to you!

And we have a winner! Congratulations to Carol Reid. You should already have an email from me.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Living With Chronic Pain

PTSD_stress_brain.gif

Living With Chronic Pain is not easy. Here a few tips on navigating the world when you aren't feeling great.

I spent about 15 years of my life (from 15-30) living with chronic pain. I had severe endometriosis (where the lining inside of the uterus shows up outside, sitting on nerves and inflaming tissue) and interstitial cystitis (where you feel like you have a urinary tract infection all the time, with no infection present), along with crazy PMS.

Weeks when I had my period were the worst, but no time was really pain-free.

I was routinely seeing specialists, getting tested, and taking a lot of painkillers. Basically, all of my non-working life was defined by my pain.

So I know how difficult it is to stay out of the abyss.

I have been pretty much free of chronic pain since my hysterectomy in 1996, and now am able to define myself in other ways.

Here are some tips that really helped me get through that time:
  • Make sure you eat well and drink enough water, especially if you are on a lot of medication.
  • Exercise and move regularly, even if you don't feel like it. Movement will ultimately help a lot. There are plenty of mellower things you can do, such as walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi, and Pilates.
  • Get out of the house often.
  • See a therapist. Seriously. If your pain is due to a bad accident or trauma, then you will need a professional to help you move away from that and navigate the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that will inevitably result.
  • Find others with your condition. A support network of people going through the same thing will help.

Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and Pilates

Thanks to my handy Google Alert I found the About.com CFS/Fibromyalgia page which has little blurb on Pilates...

"The Pilates method is not just a set of exercises but a complete approach to developing body awareness. It is a conditioning program that focuses on subtle movements to improve muscle control, flexibility, coordination, balance, strength and tone. Its application will strengthen and stretch the body’s core muscles. By taking weak abdominal muscles and strengthening them, the body becomes aligned. Since these core muscles support the spine and protect the body’s organs, as they become stronger the body as a whole becomes stronger. This result is reached over time as part of a natural evolution rather than other exercise programs that force the results.

[OK, the body does not simply become aligned simply by taking weak abdominal muscles and strengthening them! It becomes aligned through balanced strength and tone in all muscles around all joints. And the core muscles are not just abs, but include the diaphragm, pelvic floor, glutes, inner thighs, and back muscles. Realistically, other exercise programs do not have to force the results either.]

By practicing Pilates a person becomes more aware of their body as an integrated unit. By also practicing proper breathing techniques, as the body becomes more aligned you develop an increased efficiency of movement. The final result is a heightened sense of awareness.

[Proper breathing helps strengthen the abdominal muscles, unload the spine from the forces of gravity, and strengthen the diaphragm & pelvic floor. It's not just about awareness.]

Unlike weight bearing exercises, Pilates is designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles, open joints and release tension. Thus, the muscles grow longer and leaner. Blood flow is increased and energy begins to stream into specific areas of the body. Those who practice Pilates feel more energized and find their movements less restricted."

[Yes, yes, yes to what Pilates is designed to do. But that doesn't magically lengthen the muscles. It is the actual stretching in the closed kinetic chain environment of the equipment that allows for length & space. And Pilates when standing or working against the spring resistance is in fact weight bearing and can be properly modified for osteoporosis.]

I have done a lot of Pilates for CFS, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia. Equipment is better than mat; breathing and efficient movement are key; extension helps more than flexion; stretching between sessions is crucial! Pilates mat is NOT the best venue for people in chronic pain. Go slow, work with a good teacher, and you will feel better in about 6-8 weeks of 2-3 times per week sessions.