How to pack a neck and back pain toolbox to help cope with muscle pain without medication. While medication can be a life saver, there are times in your life that you may not be able to take medication. When pregnant or breastfeeding, pain relief can be difficult to get.
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I recently showed you my migraine relief kit and today I want to talk about my pain relief kit for neck and back pain. I’ve had multiple injuries to my neck and back, but nothing “serious” (no breaks, no slipped discs, etc).
From what I’ve gathered after meeting with multiple doctors, I probably just have some “arthritis” in those areas at this point. Or maybe that’s just doctor code for “You’re getting old. Deal with it.”
Now let me start by saying I’m the kind of patient doctors hate. I am always searching for permanent solutions and I refuse to bandaid problems with addictive medication. I’ve had this pain for years so I just can’t see myself taking medication without becoming an addict. Not only that, but I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for most of the past six years so most medications aren’t really a viable option. Right now my medication choices (for alllll the problems) can be summed up in a very, very short list that starts with Tylenol and ends with Tums.
I have worked hard to determine what works for my body to help reduce neck and back pain. And I think some of these natural methods have worked very well for me.
The Back and Neck Pain Relief Kit Supplies listed below may include affiliate links to the products.
I used a plastic shoebox and made a labeled it with my instructions. Some of these items I can put into the box and others I’ll need to fetch when I need them (ie. an ice pack).
- Ice or Heat
- Progressive Relaxation
- Chiropractic Care
- Physical Therapy
- Tennis Ball Technique
- Core strengthening exercises
- Detox Bath: Add Apple Cider Vinegar or Epsom Salts or Baking Soda to your bath.
- Stretch areas that are tight
- Watch position when driving, typing, and texting
- Go Swimming
- Identifying triggers
- Tens machine
- Pain numbing cream
*Note: Please check with a doctor before using any of these and look to see if they are safe during pregnancy/breastfeeding. I like to check any medications with The Infant Risk Center from Texas Tech University. They have a hotline you can call and their website is an excellent resource. Pretty sure the pain numbing cream is off limits and you shouldn’t let your body temperature get too high in the bath when pregnant (obviously hot tubs are off limits but I like them when I’m not pregnant). Naturally, check to see if these relief methods are safe for YOUR body, even if you aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding.
Tips and Tricks
- I really find that a good exercise routine can help. Water classes (or just swimming or letting yourself float feet down in the water, holding onto a float of some sort) can help take pressure off areas that are normally painful.
- The most important thing when exercising is a GREAT instructor who helps you maintain a good position to avoid re-injuring sore areas. I take water aerobics, yoga, and barre. All of my instructors are aware of my injuries, and continuously remind the class of how to protect our bodies (making sure to tighten the core while exercising, not locking your knees, etc). If something HURTS to do, don’t do it. I am very comfortable sitting back in child’s pose if an exercise doesn’t work for my body.
- Less is sometimes more when it comes to exercise. I always try a little too hard, but it’s more important to get your position correct and move slowly until you can do it all without injuring yourself.
- Get the right pillow and mattress. I have asked around and done some research, and it turns out that there’s no one formula that works for everyone when it comes to the right mattress. I could not handle the memory foam mattresses long term. I do much better with a softer pillow top. When you pick a mattress, make sure to lay on it in the store for 10-20 minutes before you decide to make the purchase. If it’s uncomfortable in the store, then it will likely be uncomfortable at home. For pillows, I’ve been told that the curve of your neck needs to be supported… not just your head.
- I have this neck massager that also has heat. I LOVE it. I won’t link it because it has horrid reviews for other people and I don’t want to steer anyone wrong, but here’s a bunch of neck massagers on Amazon that you can pick from.
- Don’t use heat for more than 15 minutes at a time. I’ve heard many people like alternating heat and cold for the best relief.
- I have had pretty good luck with the tens machine when I use it properly and correctly.
- Using a tennis ball to relieve pain can be really helpful if you have tightness.
- A physical therapist can walk you through how to tape an injury. This can be helpful.
- Find the correct position when typing and texting. If you have back or neck pain, those are two very common culprits. When you text or use your phone, you shouldn’t have your phone down on your lap all of the time. Hold it up in front of your face. This keeps you from always straining your neck in a downwards position.
- When I say “identify your triggers,” I am suggesting that you identify things that really hurt your neck or back. I have discovered that driving is a major cause of neck and back pain for me. I’m already stressed when I drive and I tense up. Combined with the position of my headrest, it’s a bad situation. I have to make a conscious effort to destress while I drive… I try to focus on keeping my neck and back muscles relaxed, holding my body in a healthy position, and distracting myself from worrying (I listen to audiobooks which allows me to keep my eyes on the road but still keep my anxious brain from taking over).
- Put what works for YOU in your kit. I’m putting what works for me. If you have any more tips, leave a comment below! I love new ideas.
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