How to Care for Acute Pain at Home
Before I dive in, I want to be clear that I’m not a medical professional. If you are experiencing acute pain, please consult your doctor. Once you’ve determined that the pain you’re experiencing isn’t life threatening (even though it might feel that way), let’s look at some tips on how to manage acute muscular pain at home.
Should You Get a Massage?
Not right away. If you’re in acute pain (meaning you can’t do normal activities like get up off the couch or drive your car), then you should not be booking a massage. Please stay home while your body is recovering. I can do my best work when your muscles are able to relax and soften during a massage. Usually waiting 3-5 days post spasm is enough time for the muscles to be receptive to bodywork again.
Heating pads, a hot bath or shower will help to soften muscle tissue. When you’re in acute pain, your muscles are doing everything they can to protect you from causing injury to the area. The freezing up is helpful in that it gets us to slow down and stop moving, but it’s not helpful because of all the increased tension this causes to the surrounding tissues. Ice will reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area. By alternating ice with heat, you can help flush the area with fresh blood and oxygen. I typically recommend listening to your body’s response, and using heat/ice based on what soothes and reduces pain. Is heat helping? Good! Do that. And visa versa.
Don’t overdue it with stretching when you’re in acute pain. By pushing your muscles to do more than they want too soon, you can cause another spasm and slow down your recovery time. Instead, gently stretch to where you feel comfortable. This helps to maintain the range of motion you currently have. Stretching while your muscles are warm is ideal, so while you’re in the shower or bath are good opportunities to gently lengthen tight muscles.
Spasming muscles need time to heal. There’s no rushing this process. Treat this time as a stay-cation and enjoy (if possible)! This is the time for you to take mandatory baths, sip on chamomile tea, use your favorite essential oils and simply do less. The errands and house chores will wait.
If you’re in constant pain, taking an over the counter pain reliever can save your sanity. Relaxing while you’re in pain is pretty much impossible. Again, check with your doctor first to make sure you won’t have any negative medication interactions. Also, CBD is all the rage right now and it can provide a great deal of pain relief. However, not all CBD products are created equally. I recommend Aromed of Montpelier, Vermont’s CBD Pain Relief Lotion. It’s the most effective topical pain reliever I have used (and no, they didn’t pay me to say that, lol!).
There are LOTS of guided meditation apps out there. Some of them have meditations targeted specifically for dealing with pain. Test them out and find the one that suits you best.
Essential oils won’t cure a neck in spasm, but it can help you to relax. Anything that can help reduce tension is helpful, so here are a few that are especially good at stress reduction:
Just like most products, not all are created equal. There are loads of companies providing quality essential oils out there. I recommend Aromed of Montpelier, because they’re a small company that I know personally and trust. You can shop their online store here to learn more.