Most of us have experienced physical pain at some point in our lives. Sometimes, it's minor, other times it's major. Doctors have a 1 - 10 scale they ask us to use to quantify our pain. For some, pain is something that occurs occasionally; for others, it's chronic - daily, perhaps 24/7. Today's blog will talk about pain from a personal perspective.
Doctors say level 1 is no pain. A mosquito bite itches. A paper cut stings. These are examples of mild/minor pain -- probably a level 2 - 4 on the doctor's scale. Sore muscles, bumps, and bruises may cause moderate pain - levels 5 - 7. Sprains, ligament tears, some migraines are examples of severe pain -- levels 8 - 10. A broken bone would be an example of level 10 pain -- a level that physicians consider to be the most severe. This scale works quite well for those who sometimes experience pain, but there is pain that goes beyond these levels.
Sciatica, neuropathy, extreme migraines are a few examples of excruciating pain - what I call levels 11 - 13. Level 11 is stronger pain than a broken bone. It reduces the ability to concentrate and to function, and leaves the person exhausted, but unable to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. Level 12 further reduces concentration, the ability to function, and memory. The person might be able to get 1/2 to 1 hour of sleep at a time. At this level, when going to bed at night, the person thinks 'It's okay if I die before I wake up because I'll be out of pain.' (I know, this is unimaginable to many, but those who live with this level of pain understand exactly what I'm saying.) Level 13 is pain so intense that the person is no longer able to think or function - (s)he is only able to moan, groan, and cry.
What do we do about pain?
For mild to moderate pain, we may just put up with it, ignore it, or take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. For severe pain, most people will take an analgesic, OTC medication, or get a stronger, prescription medication. Excruciating pain needs greater intervention. It may need stronger medications, bracing, or even surgery. Severe and excruciating pain levels definitely require a visit to the doctor for diagnosis and treatment plans.
But, what if pain meds make you so sick you can't take them?
There are many of us who experience that. Fortunately, there are alternatives for those of us who are adversely affected by pain meds -- and for those who prefer to use natural methods as much as possible.
What are those alternatives?
Alternatives include physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, use of herbs (TCM, Ayurveda, Western Herbalism), and using essential oils and fixed/carrier oils. If you are looking for more natural methods of soothing your pain, check with an expert in one (or more) of these therapies. You can also start your own journey studying these fields!