We all have aches and pains occasionally, and unfortunately some people live with chronic pain that affects their quality of life on a daily basis. Pain that is sudden, intense, or chronic should be checked out by a doctor, but for the minor aches and pains, there is a lot you can do for relief at home. Below are helpful hints and suggested products to help reduce the pain of sinus headaches, aching muscles and joints, menopause-related discomfort, and irritated skin.
Almost everyone has had a headache of one kind or another. If the pain includes pressure over your eyes and cheekbones where sinuses are located, a yellow or green nasal discharge, and maybe fever, your headache could be from a sinus infection. Sinuses are cavities in your head lined with a thin layer of mucus that could be for humidifying the air you breathe or could be connected to voice resonance, but no one is sure. What we do know is that if foreign particles ranging from dust and smoke to mold and pollen irritate nasal and sinus passages or if bacteria or viruses infect these cavities, you may suffer acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis. With acute sinusitis, your sinus cavities become inflamed, mucus production increases, and you feel the resulting pressure and headache. Chronic sinusitis is a persistent condition in which you have these symptoms for prolonged periods of time.
Often moist heat therapy or cold packs will ease the discomfort of acute or chronic sinusitis and the accompanying sinus headache, but you may need to see a doctor to clear up an infection. MediBeads Sinus Wrap is shaped to fit across the sinuses and it is simply heated in the microwave to provide 30 minutes of moist heat therapy. Thera-Med Headache Band Cold Pack and Sinus Headache Cold Pack can be stored in the freezer to be ready when you need them. The Body Benefits Gel Eye Mask, chilled in the refrigerator or warmed in hot water, has eye hole openings, but covers the sinuses above and below the eyes.
Keeping nasal and sinus passages clear, clean and free of bacteria and mold, pollen, and other allergens with nasal/sinus irrigation (rinsing out the nose and sinuses) can help prevent or alleviate sinus infections. Getting rid of the excess mucus contributing to the pressure in your sinuses can also give relief from a sinus headache. There are a variety of nasal/sinus irrigation devices that are equally effective, so the choice is really a matter of personal preference. The SinuCleanse Neti Pot uses gravity to draw water through your nasal and sinus passages to rinse away mucus and debris. Other irrigation tools that use positive pressure to gently propel water through your nasal and sinus passages include: Nasaline, Saltaire, NasalCare, ActiveSinus, SinusAloe, and SinuCleanse Squeeze. The SinuPulse Elite and Hydro Pulse irrigation systems send water pulsating through the sinus and nasal passages. Nasal sprays can also be helpful in keeping the nasal passages moist and clear of particulates. The capsaicin in Sinol-M All Natural Nasal Spray not only reduces pain, but it also stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose. Xlear Nasal Washcontains Xylitol, a natural enemy of bacteria, and SinoFresh Antiseptic Nasal & Sinus Care has a germ-fighting formula that rinses away debris.
Another very common type of pain is aching muscles or joints due to overdoing a repetitive motion in housecleaning, yard work, sports, or your job. You may know exactly what you did to cause the pain and just need to take it easy and use home remedies. For aching muscles and joints, applying heat to the painful area dilates the blood vessels, stimulates blood circulation, and reduces muscle spasms. Many people prefer moist heat to dry heat because moist heat gets deeper into the muscle and the sensation of relief is stronger. For moist heat therapy, just warm MediBeads in the microwave for a couple of minutes for moist heat up to 30 minutes. Cold packs reduce swelling by constricting blood vessels and can numb the pain. If you prefer cold packs, Thera-Med offers many sizes that can be stored in the freezer for when you need them. Over the counter topical creams can also reduce pain to make movement easier. Super Blue Stuff OTC is a big favorite around National Allergy for relief of muscle and joint pain. Joint pain could also be caused by one of the many types of arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "an estimated 50 million U.S. adults (about 1 in 5) report doctor-diagnosed arthritis." Many arthritis doctors recommend both heat and cold treatments to help reduce inflammation and ease the pain and stiffness that comes with arthritis. Some people with arthritis find that a brace such as Thermoskin to support the affected area can decrease pain and increase mobility. Restored Balance Arthritis Formula is another over the counter cream that really works for arthritis pain. If you are not sure of the cause or if the pain persists, you may need to consult a doctor.
Women experiencing the symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, night sweats, other sleep difficulties, and depression can often find non-drug relief if that is the path they choose. <!-- Creams like Restored Balance PMS are available that offer a safe alternative to hormone replacement therapy. -->Even bedding can make a difference in sleep quality. Mulberry silk is a porous, pure and natural fiber made by silkworms that eat only mulberry leaves. This is the type of silk that fills Mulberry West Blankets and Comforters to make them breathable and adaptable to the body's temperature while wicking away moisture. And that's a perfect combination for menopause-related sleep problems.
Many skin conditions, skin injuries, and just plain old dry skin can cause pain from redness, inflammation, itching, and cracking. You may find that your skin is irritated just by coming in contact with certain things. Finding relief from some itching and inflammation could be as easy as choosing laundry detergents, lotions, bath soaps, and other personal care products that contain no irritating chemicals or are free of added dyes and fragrances. Of all the body parts, hands suffer the most from excessive exposure to soap and water, so using a cream or lotion at night and sleeping in cotton gloves can really help. Hands also get exposure to chemicals in household cleaners so choosing vegetable-based or safe, low-chemical, and green cleaners or wearing non-latex gloves while cleaning (maybe lined with cotton gloves) can help prevent irritation. Here are other home remedies you can try to help skin retain moisture:
- Limit a bath or shower to no more than 15 minutes and use lukewarm instead of hot water.
- Use bath oil, or when you get out of the bath or shower, pat dry and apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp to hold in the moisture.
- Avoid harsh soaps such as deodorant soap. Look for shower gels, soaps or soap-free cleansers that contain moisturizer or that are free of added fragrance.
- A shower filter to remove chlorine and other chemicals from the water can be helpful.
- Only take one bath or shower a day, and remember that usually arms and legs don't even need soaping every day.
However, there are times you should see a doctor about irritated skin. Mayo Clinic recommends a doctor visit if "you're so uncomfortable that you're losing sleep or are distracted from your daily routines, your skin becomes painful, you suspect your skin is infected, or you've tried self-care steps without success."
Pain can really slow us down. Since pain is so personal and different for everyone, it is sometimes hard to find the right solution. Hopefully, if you experience occasional or temporary pain you can take some of the ideas in this article and use them to find relief. And keep in mind that home remedies are not always enough; sometimes you need a doctor's help.