I wrote about 9 Ways to Ease Your Cervical Pain a few months ago. I thought that I should give out some more tips!
*I am not a doctor. These tips are drawn fom my personal experience, which has been a lot of trial and error*
Neck Support: I saw another instagrammer with this AMAZING bed wedge. I have a recliner, but it does get old sitting in the same place every day. Additionally, buying this Spine Reliever Bed Wedge is much less expensive than buying an entire recliner, if you aren’t ready to make that investment. Some of the Amazon reviews complain that the bed wedge is too soft, but I think it is perfect if you have dystonia. It gives you enough support to sit up comfortably, but is not like a board. If you want a little more support for your head, so you can use a laptop or read a book, simply add another slim pillow behind your head.
Stay Active: Sitting for prolonged periods can be really bad for you! It’s so tempting to sit in the recliner all day, but moving around just a little bit each day will keep you moving for the rest of your life. Losing a little excess weight, strengthening your bones (preventing osteoporosis) and enjoying the fact that you can still move around can boost your mood.
Take Care of Yourself: Self-care is super important. You need to be kind to yourself and show yourself some grace. I struggle with this, myself. Here is a great blog series that you can read about self-care. Maybe even do some research on your own. When you lose your health, you have to grieve. I recently learned about that concept. It has been interesting to think about. Here are a few workbooks and books that I’ve purchased (I haven’t been able to process through all of them yet):
The Grief Recovery Handbook
Managing Chronic Pain: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach Workbook
Managing Pain Before It Manages You
Cognitive Therapy for Chronic Pain: A Step-by-Step Guide
The Pain Survival Guide: How to Reclaim Your Life
If you are able to leave the house and fit it into your schedule, don’t be afraid of professional help.
I won’t write anymore about it because I’m not an expert, but plenty of experts have written about Chronic Illness and self care on the internet and in books!
Icing & Heat: I mentioned this before, but I have a few new suggestions! I discovered (thanks to the wonderful Facebook Cervical Dystonia Support Group) this ice pack that I use to cover my entire cervical region! It’s called the Elasto-gel Cervical Collar, which is wonderful. I wish that it would stay colder, longer, but the Velcro on it is almost life changing. I used to have to ask someone to help me place ice packs in the right spot and the quickly lean back and use pillows to keep the ice pack in place. Having Velcro gives me freedom and independence. I’ve also noticed that moist heat helps my pain more than dry heat. Moist heat comes from microwaving heat packs. An excellent example is Neck and Shoulder Wrap.
Medication: It is important to work closely with a pain specialist to explore all of your pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical options. If you are already getting Botox from a movement disorders specialist neurologist who uses an EMG, a pain specialist can prescribe medications and give you new ideas! They can also administer trigger point shots, which help me so much! My pain doctor is also full of non-phamercutical ideas to approach pain, too.
from my personal experience, I would caution against is over-using any one medication. Building a tolerance is always a hazard, so I like to use them only when I’ve exhausted all other options, so that I don’t have to go up on my dose. The biggest reason I am cautious is because doctors don’t like to give out higher doses, and then I don’t have to beg for a higher dose, in addition to concerns about building a dependence . But, sometimes pain is very acute and needs to be addressed quickly! You deserve a good quality of life. Combining multiple approaches to pain works the best for me
Along with the medications and working with the pain specialist, remember that you must be your own advocate. Come to the appointment with a list of current medications, which ones are working and which ones aren’t, new symptoms, questions for your doctor, or things that you would like addressed before you leave the appointment. When you’re in pain, it’s so easy to be shuffled into the appointment, mumble some answers, and then accept whatever the doctor tells you – only to get home and realize that you never got to say what you wanted to say. So, when you are feeling well and clear-minded, write down the things that you want addressed during the appointment, not just what is easiest for the doctor. You deserve the best treatment, but you might have to fight for it.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
What do you do for pain relief? I would love to hear your experiences because I like to try new things!
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