I copied this posting from a terrific blog site: Desire to Heal. I hope they don’t mind but I think it’s a great message of one person doing what she can to live more fully in her own way.
How I Manage My Pain Without Opiate Painkillers
by TAMARA STAPLES on APRIL 14, 2012
I want to begin by saying that once I was through the withdrawal period from the opiate pain medication that I was on, my pain levels came way down on their own. However, I was left with some amount of pain that needs to be managed. I thought I would take you through a typical day and the techniques that I use to control my pain.
When I wake in the morning I am always stiff and sore because of arthritis in my neck, back and hands. Occasionally other joints join the party, but my neck, back and hands are pretty consistent. I go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and bring it back to bed where I sip it while leaning back on the heating pad. I call this my “making peace with the day” time. Sometimes I meditate or pray. Other times I might check emails or read a few paragraphs in a book.
After breakfast, I take a hot bath. I usually add epsom salts and soak a bit. If I don’t have time to soak, I will sometimes apply magnesium oil** after my bath. Then, with my muscles warmed from the bath, I lie on the floor and do gentle stretches. Afterwards I spend about 15-20 minutes in mindfulness meditation.
That is the end of my morning routine. I go about my day. However, I now stop a couple of times in the day to perform EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping for pain relief. I also have an Interferential Current Unit (like a TENS) that I use throughout the day.
As a last resort, when nothing else will work, I have decided to use medical marijuana to help control my pain. This was not an easy decision for me. I will be 49 years old in less than two months and I had never smoked anything in my life nor had I ever tried a street drug. However, I felt I needed a backup plan for when my pain was not able to be controlled by any other means. Luckily I live in a state that has legalized medical marijuana. Because marijuana does not bind to the opiate receptor like pain pills do, I am also now able to take low-dose Naltrexone (LDN), which I do every night at bedtime.
I have set my phone to beep at me every hour and when it does, I do a quick check in. If I need to stretch, do some EFT tapping, take in some slow deep breaths or just sit with my eyes closed for a few minutes, I do so. I think the trick is finding a routine that works for you and fits with your lifestyle and then sticking with it. And the really important part is always listening to your body and not letting the pain get too far out of control before you employ your pain reduction measures.
I lived for fifteen years taking opiate pain medication. I always was concerned about whether my doctor would refill my prescription. I dealt with the side effects like the ever present constipation. And all the while, the medication that was supposed to be reducing my pain was creating more pain than it was relieving. Gastroparesis was horrible and not something I would wish on anyone, but I am so thankful that it forced my hand. I am happy to be off opiate pain medication and to have found alternative ways to manage my pain. It feels good to be in control.
**magnesium oil can sting when first applied (especially if I have just shaved). Also, it leaves a salty film on my skin, so I will usually let it absorb for 20 minutes and then shower or wipe off the residue.
***California Poppy is hard to find right now because Dr. Oz recommended it for pain and sleep on a recent show about fibromyalgia.