9 Natural Pain Relievers

Here’s an excuse to stay in bed this weekend with no guilt:

Man listening music in headphone and sleeping in embrace with laptop on the sofa

Logging extra hours of sleep can reduce pain sensitivity and increase daytime alertness, according to a study published in the journal SLEEP. The small study included 18 healthy—but mildly sleepy—adults between the ages of 21-35. Their level of sleepiness and pain sensitivity (how quickly they moved their fingers off a hot source) were measured before and after the study. Half the participants stayed in bed for 10 hours per night for four nights, while the other half continued their normal sleep habits. Not surprisingly, the group who stayed in bed longer slept an average of 1.8 hours more than the other group, which led to increased alertness. But the group who slept in also showed a 25% decrease in pain sensitivity by the fourth day!

How does it work? When you take healthy people and you deprive them of sleep, you increase the amount of pain receptors in the blood system,. This suggests that extra sleep potentially has an analgesic effect, particularly if you can do it in anticipation of the pain. Essentially, being well rested reduces that sensitivity.

So the next time you’re training for a marathon—or just planning for a week of awful cramps—sleep in for a few days. Here, 8 more ways to reduce pain without meds:

waterGet a massage

Treat sore muscles or back pain with a trip to the spa. A once-a-week massage treatment was found to be more effective at treating pain than regular medication, according to a 2011 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Stay hydrated

When your head is pounding, reach for water. Often headaches are brought on by dehydration. You may just need to gulp down a glass or two of water to fight off the throbbing (especially if it’s post-hangover pain).

Do a little yoga

7-Steps-to-a-Life-Long-Yoga-Practice-Youll-LoveMany people are in pain because their muscles are tight and contracted. So one of the most successful strategies is stretching. Sometimes it takes heat to relax the muscles. So hopping in a hot shower or bath before you get your om on can be even more effective.

Distract yourself

Focusing your attention on a difficult task—like reciting the ABCs backwards—can actually inhibit pain signals to the brain, according to a study published in the journal Current Biology. So the next time you’re getting a flu shot, try doing long division in your head for instant relief.

gingerAdd ginger to your meals

Ginger has been found to help with menstrual cramps, In fact, it’s as effective as an OTC pain reliever, according to a 2009 study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Mix it into your meals or add it to hot tea to fight PMS pain.

Focus on your breathing

Meditation can help relieve belly pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Take a few moments to bring your breathing rate down to six breaths per minute. That helps your body produce a relaxation response, your blood pressure comes down, and many people find their pain levels to be much more manageable.”

Turn up your music

Listening to your favorite tunes can actually reduce your pain, especially if you’re particularly anxious about it, according to a study published in The Journal of Pain. Freaking out while getting your blood drawn? Pop in your headphones and crank up the music, stat.

acupressureTry acupressure

Think of it as the less terrifying (and zero needles) approach to acupuncture. “In the last 10 years, a lot of people have been turning to acupressure,” says Bauer. “And many studies show that it’s nearly as effective as acupuncture.” Try one of the most basic pain-relieving moves by squeezing the fleshy area between your thumb and forefinger for one minute.

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20 Things People With Chronic Pain Can Relate To…

stevepb / Pixabay
Millions of people live with chronic pain every day in the US, and they struggle to do basic day-to-day things like getting dressed and going to the shop. Despite their constant pain, their voices are rarely heard by the media because they look ‘normal’ and it is difficult to see the cause of their pain.

Here are 20 things that people in chronic pain can relate to:

  1. We try very hard to look ‘normal’

    People often say to us that we don’t look sick, but it takes a lot of effort to look normal. We often have to nap before going out to deal with the exhaustion, and we normally take pain meds before meeting up with people.

  2. The pain won’t pass in a few days or weeks

    This isn’t a cold or the flu, and it won’t go away in a few weeks – we may live with the pain for our whole lifetime.

  3. It’s not all in our heads

    [Tweet “We are not hypochondriac’s; just because you can’t see the cause of our pain doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”]

  4. We have dreams and goals

    Just like anyone else, we have passions and dreams that we would like to achieve in our lives. We are not defined by our illness.

  5.  We are not making a big deal for no reason

    We are probably in more pain that you think we are in. It can be pretty difficult to understand chronic pain, and we don’t need your sympathy – we just want to know that you understand our situation.

  6. Sometimes it is impossible to get out of bed in the morning

    Some days the pain is too bad to get out of bed, but we don’t let that get us down. In fact, we will probably Skype our friends or partners so we can have a giggle to take our mind off the pain.

  7. We hate being called lazy

    Every job is twice as hard if you’re experiencing chronic pain, so we don’t feel lazy – we feel super accomplished for getting dressed and going to the shops. Everyone experiences different challenges in life.

  8. Chronic pain doesn’t become less painful with time

    Pain doesn’t become less painful over time, but you become better at dealing with the pain. I am still in pain; I’m just not letting it rule my whole life.We don’t always have enough spoons
    Christine Miserandino, a woman with lupus, created the ‘spoons’ analogy to describe living with invisible pain.

  9. When you have chronic pain, you start each day with a certain amount of spoons.

    Every task, like making a sandwich, takes a spoon away from you. Once you have run out of spoons for the day, you cannot complete any more activities – your pain is too much. This analogy helps us to complete our tasks without exerting ourselves too much.
    [Tweet “PLEASE take the time to read  “The Spoon Theory” by Christine Miserandino this is probably the BEST essay to help you understand chronic pain!”]

  10. If we don’t work, it is because we can’t

    We don’t shy away from work; in fact, we would do anything to be healthy and able to work full-time. Sadly for some chronic pain sufferers, this just isn’t an option.

  11. Just standing in queues is uncomfortable and painful

    Having to hold your body in a certain place for even a few minutes can be extremely tiring and painful, and sometimes we have to ask our friends and families for help.

  12. Good days do happen

    Some days we wake up feeling better than normal, and we get super excited! Normally we will try to be productive and social on these days, because we don’t know when the next good day will be.

  13. So do bad days

    Some days are very painful, and on these days even going to the bathroom is a difficult task. On a day like this, brushing your teeth is a huge accomplishment!

  14. We feel guilty about not always replying to our friends

    Pain can be mentally exhausting, and sometimes it means we feel too tired and ill to reply to our friends. This makes us feel bad – we love our friends and we hate not replying, but thankfully our friends don’t take it personally when this happens.

  15. We are so thankful for the friends and family who are there for us

    Often we have to ask our loved ones for help with tasks like cooking and shopping, and we are so grateful for the help. Our friends are more than just friends; they are lifelines and saviours.

  16. Medical help can be frustrating

    It can take years to diagnose chronic pain due to a lack of training, and when we find an understanding doctor, we try to keep them in our lives for as long as possible.

  17.  We don’t seek drugs – we seek pain relief

    Sometimes chronic pain is treated with medical marijuana and opioids, but that doesn’t mean we seek drugs. We seek anything that will help us to control and manage our pain.

  18. We don’t need advice (unless you have chronic pain yourself)

    We really appreciate people who are trying to be helpful, but it can be mentally draining to repeatedly discuss the same pain-management methods. We always look out for ways to help manage the pain, so the likelihood is that we have already tried most suggestions.

  19. We hope to heal one day

    We don’t want to live our whole lives in pain – we want to heal and get better. We will always look out for answers and cures that could change our lives

  20. Love and support helps us to keep going

    From strangers and co-workers, the little gestures like offering to help with our bags can really help to make our lives easier.

Medical searches on Google

When you do a Google search for certain medical conditions, you can learn about their symptoms and treatments. This includes information from medical doctors about how common a condition is, whether it’s critical or contagious, the ages it usually affects, and more.

Get info about chronic pain

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Improve the Impact of Your Email

Want to know how to get your email answered? 

Need more impact in what you do?

Want more time? 

 WHAT EMAIL HAS BECOME

Depending on your work situation, email has become much more than its original intent. Email has become:

  • Your not-in-person meeting tool.
  • Your ass-covering tool.
  • Your chat window.
  • Your filing system.
  • Your database of information.
  • Your to-do list.
  • Your private social network.

None of these are especially “wrong” uses, but what happens is that by using this technology for all these purposes, it blunts our ability to be effective and to get quality responses from others. We’ve all had that situation arise where we try to get a response from someone and we either get a lame/vague response that requires another 8 messages to get everything nailed down, or the dreaded “no reply at all.”

Here are some thoughts on improving your email response and quality rates. Your mileage may vary, plus I’d love to hear YOUR tips in the comments below.

MAKE SUBJECT LINES ACTIONABLE

One reason people don’t respond is that you don’t prompt them to do your bidding. Here are a few sample subject lines to help:

  • YES OR NO: _______
  • 2 MINUTES TO READ: __(and the subject, briefly)
  • NEED YOUR DECISION
  • DINNER PLAN PROPOSAL
  • PLEASE FORWARD SUKHJIT’S LETTER

See how in every case, the subject prompts the reader for a next action? Now run to your inbox, check your sent items, and look at YOUR titles. I’ll do it, too. Because I get behind on this, too. (Well, that backfired. Here are some of the “choice” subject lines I’ve used lately:)

“Dude.”
“Happy Birthday” <– well that’s okay.
“You call me, right?” <– winner!
“Is there a way to have ONE product page for all these offers?” <– very accurate.

MAKE THE ASK AT THE BEGINNING, NOT THE END

This is a super secret great tip. Make the MOST IMPORTANT request at the beginning of the email. Lots of people try to fill the message with backstory. If you want, here’s a format for this kind of thing:

Subject: Would You Speak at a Special Event?

Body: Hi ________ ,

I’m writing because I want you to speak at a conference on ____ 12th, 20___ in Detroit. I’m prepared to pay your speaking fee of $____, and provide you air, hotel, and ground transportation as part of the deal. If you’re interested, please reply with YES, and the contact for your event coordinator/assistant and I’ll get the project started. Backstory is below.

—-

Backstory and Details:

…blah blah blah…

See how this works?

REMINDING SOMEONE TO REPLY

There are right ways and wrong ways to remind someone to reply. Here’s the least useful/good way: Email followed by immediate text/tweet.

Just don’t do that one, unless it was otherwise asked for in some way. Okay? Our inbox throws out a big red circle with a “1″ in it for a reason.

Now, what’s different than this is when you send an email and two or three days have passed (note that I said 2 or 3 days, and not 2 or 3 hours). Then, it’s perfectly reasonable to send a brief message via another channel to confirm whether that person got the message. Around that same time, you can always re-send the message, and tack on a “I’m not trying to be pushy, but just wanted to be sure you saw this” kind of message on top of the original.

Some people will be bothered/offended. Others will be okay with this. Related to that, don’t ever bother someone more than once for the same email. If they haven’t responded after the reminder, they’re either too busy, not interested, or whatever. You can’t guess on that, but you know the answer is “not going to respond.”

HOW TO GET SOME ATTENTION

Here are some quick ways to get someone to respond to your email so that you won’t need reminders like the one above:

  • Give more than you ask. Thus, your name won’t be synonymous with “needs something from me” when it pops up in the inbox.
  • Write less-than-300 words when you send an email.
  • Be the person who brings people business. Not introductions. Deals.
  • Respond when others mail you. (This should make sense, but it’s where some people fall down – me, sometimes!)
  • Stay connected via the various social channels, as well. It’s more likely people will feel connected with you if you’re commenting on their photos, or their tweets, or whatever.

Those are some ways to get attention. We’re nearing the home stretch.

8 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE IMPACT OF YOUR EMAIL

  1. 1 subject per email. Ask only 1 question.
  2. Brevity. Short sentences. Less than 300 words.
  3. Use plain text, or the simplest possible HTML. Flashy and fancy or stationary never help.
  4. Pick unique times of day to send, instead of during work hours.
  5. Use bullets or numbers to make your emails even faster to answer.
  6. Remove the “biography” or “liner notes” from your email and just ask what needs asking.
  7. Ask all the pertinent questions in the first email, instead of stringing them out. (Conflicts with #1, I know!)
  8. Make every reply either clear in the follow-up question or definitive in the ending of the correspondence. Work towards ONLY those two responses.

Those are the ways I know. I’m curious to know what works for YOU! Answer below in the comments section?

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