In the months leading up to my surgery, I had SEVERE abdominal pain daily from a narrowing in my intestine. At this point I had tried Remicade and Stelera and both did not work for me. Through MRI imaging they could see that my intestines were still extremely inflamed and that the stricture was getting worse. Over time the narrowing in my intestine caused me to have extreme bloating and stomach distention almost every single day. (if you want to read my whole story click here).
During this time no medications were working, so I turned to some natural and holistic approaches to help cope with the pain. In this blog post I will break down the top 6 things that helped me through the pain when NO MEDICATION would. But, before we jump in be sure to follow my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to get more updates from me on my day to day life.
1. Peppermint Oil
MY #1 ALL TIME BEST TIP is to use PEPPERMINT OIL. Without this oil I could have never continued to go to school. This was my secret weapon and I went through bottles upon bottles of the Saje Peppermint Halo essential oil blends in the months leading up to my surgery.
This oil helped to numb any pain from stomach distention and it allowed me to come out of the fetal position.
2. Movement as Medicine
Although the pain had me out by about 4pm most days, I found that if I did not incorporate movement into my day, I would be out by noon. So, I made sure that I exercised multiple times a day. I would walk or do yoga every morning and lunch break. This would significantly improve my symptoms and prolong the amount of time I had before the pain striked.
Movement is so important because it helps to get the digestive system going and move things through. I found that this really helped me because I was able to move things through the stricture in my intestine easier when I moved regularly.
3. A Low-Residue-Liquid Diet
Because of the narrowing in my intestine I needed to go on a low-residue-liquid diet for almost half a year leading up to my surgery. I remember having a smoothie for breakfast, soup for lunch, and if I could eat dinner, it would be a small portion of a solid meal (hopefully).
During these times I turned to easy to digest foods to help ease my pain. I tried to get enough nutrition by drinking meal replacement drinks and by taking extra vitamins. I previously wrote a whole blog post on this diet, including recipes and guidelines. So check it out if you think this diet may work for you.
4. Meditation and Mantras
This pain not only effected me physically, but also mentally. Before I knew that surgery was an option, I felt so hopeless and I went into a bit of a depression. However, two things that really helped me through that time were meditation and mantras. Meditation helped me to clear my mind of running thoughts and calm my body, and the mantras helped to give me hope. My favorite mantras to help me through rough times are:
Trust in the process.
The Universe is for me, and so is everything else.
I am not a victim, I am a warrior.
To learn more about meditation and the different forms check out this post.
To learn how to make your own mantras, check out this post.
Before stumbling across peppermint oil, I used heat as my main source for symptom relief. It definitely is a great, cheap way to help with pain. I love my handy heating pack, and I couldn’t recommend this one enough. However, I also enjoyed taking baths and nice long showers as well. These were a nice way to fully release any tension in the body that would come from the stomach distention.
6. Clothing Choices
This tip may seem obvious, but honestly this was something that was hard for me. I am not the type of person to show up to school in sweat pants and a hoodie (not that there is anything wrong with that). So, I had to totally rework my style in order to find pants that were nice and loose around the waste, but still looked put together.
I would highly recommend that you go out and buy a few new pants and tops that you can actually wear out of the house to dinner or an event. This will help with your self esteem because you will be more likely to go out with friends if you have an outfit that you know wont make your pain worse. In other words, ditch the skinny jeans and leggings and opt for more harem style pants.
I hope that this post really helps some of you that may be struggling with pain from their chronic illness. I wish you love and good health in your future. Thank you for reading, and be sure to pass it along to someone that you think may like this post.