A Pain in the Neck (Both Metaphorically and Literally)

            Before we get into today’s topic, I want to apologize if I am unable to post and/or respond as much as I’d like to this week. We’ve been having internet problems (as in the internet being completely disconnected for unclear and confusing reasons) since Saturday, which hopefully will be all taken care of by the end of this week. Unfortunately, this has greatly decreased my ability for ‘blog time.’  It is frustrating times like dealing with the internet company (which my husband mostly did, Bless him!) that are perfect for reminding ourselves just how fortunate we are and how much we have to be grateful for.  Not to mention that, really, we have so much more compared to our struggling neighbors down the street or around the world.

            Now to the topic at hand!  Sunday evening, my husband and I both noticed that we were carrying a lot of tension in our neck/shoulder areas, and my husband felt the start of a headache coming on (and, yes, I do think some of the blame is on our internet provider, lol).  So we gathered some supplies and camped out on the couch to watch a movie.  Neither of us grabbed a bottle of pills.  Instead, we made sure to heat up our microwavable bean packs (we each have our own long one and share another specifically designed for neck and shoulders), checked that both our neck and foot massagers were plugged in and nearby (yes, we’re spoiled: most of these items were gifts!), and had the massage oil within reach.

            While we watched the movie, we took turns massing each other’s tense shoulders and necks.  When our hands became tired, we either used the heat packs to ease our muscles or one of the massage machines to work the tension out.  This process helped us both a lot.  Unfortunately, I awoke in the middle of the night to pain that had returned full-force.  Since I wanted to get a good night’s sleep for work the next day, I took some low-dose pain medicine, and then used the heat pack and shoulder massager for about 40 minutes before returning to bed.

            The main point I want to make is this: medication should not be our first line of defense against our pain.  Obviously, some people suffer from chronic conditions and may have to rely on drugs regularly as part of their management.  And I am in no way judging others for using medications.  There are times (like at work or in the middle of the night) when I rely on medicine if my pain is too distracting for the current task.  It’s just that our society relies on medicine so much, often without considering other possibilities.  So here are my ideas of what we can do to help manage our pain before reaching for the pills.

  1. Listen to your body.  In our busy lives, it is easy to ignore what our body is telling us until it has to shout so loud that we have no choice but to stop and listen.  But if we can tune in just a bit more and try to understand the subtle cues, perhaps we will have the chance to deal with less pain as opposed to whatever else is on its way.  This all about being as proactive as we can regarding our bodies.
  2. Have natural alternatives on hand.  When you’re in pain, you want relief as soon as possible.  If all you have in your house is typical pain medication, than that is what you are going to use.  Instead, when you’re not in pain, think ahead to what you need.  Maybe that means ordering the right essential oils, asking for a neck massager for the next holiday when you’ll be receiving gifts, or even researching natural remedies for your most common ailments.
  3. Rest and hydrate.  This may seem overly simple, but when we’re in pain, we need to provide our body with the tools it needs to deal with whatever is going on inside.  Allowing ourselves to pause, taking deeper breaths, and consuming enough water are all ways we can work with our body to promote its healing.

What are some of your favorite natural methods for fighting pain?