I have this pain...

We hear this phrase everyday in our office-"I have this pain right here, but I didn't DO anything..." Invariably, the pain is a neck or shoulder or lower back, and upon asking the client a litany of questions about what they could have done, it occurs to the client that yes, in fact, they DID do something. Everyday, mundane activities can cause pain. Laundry, housekeeping, picking kids or the groceries, bending down to pick up the towel in the morning. These stretching, moving, bending activities all contribute to our day to day pain. Add in driving with our hands at the top of the steering wheel, cell phone posture, computer posture, TV slouch, weeding, raking, weekend warrior games of golf, tennis, softball, biking, hiking...the list is endless. Every activity, every day can lead to discomfort. Learning how to manage that discomfort is the key to relief. In the first 24 hours of pain, ICE is ALWAYS recommended. 15 minutes of ice, rest 15 minutes then repeat as often as you have time for. In the second 24 hours, Ice and heat alternating are recommended 15 minutes ice, rest, 15 minutes heat, rest, etc. If the pain is really resistant to this, we recommend ice and heat alternating with NO rest. So you apply ice for 15 minutes, immediately heat for 15 minutes then ice again. At this point GENTLY stretch the area while it's cold. The pain receptors will not be as sensitive and should allow you to move better. Repeat the procedure. Of course, this is a time commitment. But it works. An anti-inflammatory like advil (ibuprophen), tylenol (acetominophen) or aleve (naprosyn) will help greatly. The difference between the three medications is personal preference and the number of pills. Tylenol takes 4 hours to leave your body (2 tablets every 4 hours), ibuprophen takes 6 hours (2 tablets every 6 hours), naprosyn takes 12 hours (2 tablets every 12 hours). They are all equally effective in most cases. Water is also beneficial. The better hydrated you are, the better the medications and the ice/heat can work. Massage therapy is also helpful once you are out of the first 24 hours of pain. Before that, we're just going to make you more sore. Taking a little time away from the gym or the daily housework won't hurt either. If the pain lasts more than 3 days without decreasing, a visit to your primary care physician is recommended. Here's to your relief!