The following are alternative treatment options for chronic pain that I discuss with my patients:

  1. Use of heat or ice, whichever works best for them.
  2. Use of OTC creams. Keep trying different ones until they find the one that works best for them.
  3. Use the cream that works best BEFORE engaging in an activity that they know aggravates the pain to help decrease or delay the pain.
  4. If ice works best, keep the cream that helps them in the refrigerator to get a dual benefit.
  5. 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.
  6. 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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