The following are alternative treatment options for chronic pain that I discuss with my patients:
- Use of heat or ice, whichever works best for them.
- Use of OTC creams. Keep trying different ones until they find the one that works best for them.
- Use the cream that works best BEFORE engaging in an activity that they know aggravates the pain to help decrease or delay the pain.
- If ice works best, keep the cream that helps them in the refrigerator to get a dual benefit.
- I recently had a patient with chronic pain who had 4 back surgeries and swears that using 1 or 2 drops of peppermint oil rubbed on the area of the pain helps tremendously.
- If patients must do their own chores due to a lack of help, they should pace themselves and find ways to help lessen the pain. For example, I tell them that if they must sweep the floor, they should do it similar to the way they mow the lawn, as the back and forth motion usually is a culprit in aggravating back pain.
—Bonnie Lorenzetti, CRNP, Nicholson, Pa. (214-2)
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