When it comes to pain, I have had my fair share over the years from living with an autoimmune disease called Crohn’s disease. (If you haven’t read my Crohn’s story, I’d highly suggest you head over there to understand my specific symptoms and disease.) For years, my intestines have been inflamed causing me to have ridiculous pain due to a narrowing/stricture in my small intestine. Because food had a hard time passing through this narrowing, it causes me to have extreme bloating, abdominal muscle cramping, bad gas, and sharp pains in my abdomen. However, with the help of a combination of tricks and remedies I have been able to manage this pain the best I can.
I have decided to break this down into two categories, physical and mental healing. This is because, when living with chronic pain, it takes a toll on your body both physically and mentally. When you get pain every single day this can be very discouraging, and for many this can lead to anxiety or depression. So when dealing with pain it is important to notice the physical and mental pain that you may or may not be experiencing.
For Physical Healing
This is my absolute go to and has saved my life on many occasions especially when I was out and about and not able to lay down. Peppermint Oil provides a cooling, numbing sensation, which will help to relax my stomach muscles when they are very tense. I always carry a roller ball in my purse or school bag, because it is one of the easiest and most discrete ways of dealing with my stomach pain. I love this blend from Saje Essential Oils, but any peppermint oil will do.
Hot Water Bottle
Even though heat is providing the opposite effect to the peppermint oil, I find that when my stomach is particularly bloated I will lay down on my side with the heating pack, or hot water bottle to try to relax the muscles. This was my go-to before I discovered peppermint oil. So, for me it really just depends on the severity of my pain whether I will use peppermint oil, heat, or both. I recommend this heating pack
because it is cheap and has a lot of options for heat settings.
When I am in pain, most of the time I just want to lay down and relax. However, I find that if I move my body, it helps to get the juices flowing in my particularly slow digestive system. This will help move the food through my body in a gentle way and will also help to get rid of some of the gas. I usually will go for a short walk around the block, or do some gentle yoga.
Tea (mint, lavender, turmeric)
I am an avid tea drinker, and have loved tea for years. Not only for it’s warming and calming effect, but also for the medicinal properties that many teas hold. When I have tense stomach pain, I will usually drink a peppermint, lavender
, or turmeric
tea. However, when I suffer from acid reflux I will usually turn to a warm (not too hot) cup of licorice tea
. Contrary to popular belief, peppermint tea will only make acid reflux worse, however licorice works to suppress the acid. None the less, tea offers great benefits no matter what digestive issues you are having, and it also has the added benefit of being one of my favorite things.
This over the counter medication has also been a very big help in relieving gas and some of the pains that come with them. Even though I try not to take these too much, I do find that they do wonders when I am having a particularly bad day.
Bath w/ Epsom Salt
In the cold Canadian winters, it can be quite challenging to warm up, even under a hundred blankets. Therefore, it becomes even more challenging to relax your muscles when your body is so cold. However, when the peppermint oil, heating pack and tea won’t cut it, I will take a bath. Some people enjoy bubbles, but I personally love some Epsom salt
and a few drops of lavender essential oil. By immersing yourself in hot water, it helps to relax all your muscles. The Epsom salt also has the added benefits of muscle relaxation. However, I am a busy person, so when I am not able to take a bath I will take a nice, long, hot shower instead. This will usually do the trick as well, when I am short on time.
For Mental Healing
Yoga & Meditation
I already discussed yoga and how it can really help me to get my digestive system going. However, yoga and some meditation can also have the added benefit of clearing my mind and lifting my spirits. Sometimes I will have to say no to an event, or I’ll have a particularly rough week, and this will bring me down. So, I will try my best to put on some meditative music, or a Yoga With Adrienne video and just flow. By focusing on my breath and letting go, I am able to relax, and focus on the positive in my life. It doesn’t always work 100% but I have never felt worse after yoga or meditation. So, it is always worth a shot if it makes me feel better even in the slightest.
Do What Makes You Happy (Guilt Free)
Grab your favorite sweat pants, hoodie, and fuzzy socks. Snuggle up in a blanket on your recliner and just chill. Watch your favorite movie, or your newest binge watch (mine is Gossip Girl right now), and just relax. Don’t think about what homework you should be doing, what cleaning needs to be done, what errands need to be ran, and instead embrace your pain, and trust that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. A little mantra I like to remind myself when I feel guilt for relaxing when I have pain is: The Universe if for Me, and so is Everything Else. I learnt that one from my girl Adrienne.
Like I said before, there have been times where I have had to say no, or cancel plans because of pain, and I just want to remind you that it is okay to do so. Sometimes, no matter if you follow all your tips and tricks, you will have to slow down and refuse an invite, and that is completely fine.
Spend Time with Those You Love
Now this one can be somewhat contradictory to the last tip, but it is important to surround yourself with love during times where you are having extreme pain. It is so important to see friends and family, even if that means that you will have to take it easy when you see them. They are your loved one’s and they will totally understand and support you if you tell them how you are feeling. But, on the off chance you don’t want to see any humans, just stay home and pet the dog, they will always listen.
Well those are my tips and tricks on how I survive those moments of horrible pain. I hope that if you live with any chronic condition, or pain of any sorts, you can take some of these suggestions in mind for the next time you experience some pain. I would also love to hear from you down in the comments. Let me know what helps you through pain, I’d love to know.
I wish you all the best,
You trust, gutsy gal