Because I've recently run into a number of people who are struggling with nerve pain, I wanted to offer a practical post to help address this.
At least in my experience, nerve pain does not always respond well, if at all, to medication. It can present major challenges to live with every day, and often becomes very debilitating and exhausting. Below are some simple ways to help quiet the nerves and reduce the pain on an ongoing basis.
Easing the Body Around the Pain
I know that some of these suggestions may seem very simple and obvious, but, honestly, I would have been very glad for someone to have pointed them out to me at the beginning of my journey with nerve pain so I didn't have to sort it out for myself when I wasn't feeling my most resourceful. For that reason, I include them all here.
Relax and de-stress as much as possible. Limit interaction with things that would normally “get on your nerves,” such as stressful situations, toxic people, crowded stores, and rush hour traffic.
Stay on an anti-inflammatory diet and try to avoid inflammatory situations that activate fright, tension, or adrenaline rushes, such as suspenseful or violent media, argumentative people, or being argumentative yourself.
Get more rest and sleep by staying calm. Make doing less a priority. You might use herbal teas, such as chamomile, to help with sleep or read yourself to sleep while listening to relaxing music. Avoid staying up late on the internet which tends to keep us stimulated past a healthy bedtime.
Choose activities that not only suit your physical limitations, but also soothe the mind and soul, such as meditation, listening to beautiful music, singing, walking in nature, talking with loved ones, and reading inspiring words.
Spend time every day in nature walking and focusing your attention on the soothing feeling of the air on the skin, the breeze, the sunlight, and the sound of birds. Bare feet on the ground or in sand can be exquisitely soothing to the nerves.
Keep moving in any way you can that doesn’t exacerbate the pain. It’s important to keep the blood and oxygen flowing to keep your muscles from stiffening up and adding to the pain. Stagnant blood and stagnant energy do not help you heal.
Take long soaks in bath salts or products using aromatherapy. Let your body relax into the warmth and the delicious smells.
Calming the Emotions to Soothe the Nerves
Find the little pleasures and things you enjoy and appreciate. Don’t wait for the pain to leave before you enjoy yourself and your life. Find the places that don’t hurt and revel in them. If there aren’t any, look beyond your body and find the things you can take pleasure in around you, including nature, the creative arts, the community, and your family.
Don’t try to turn your life off to avoid feeling pain. Don’t close down your ability to laugh or have fun. This is still your life. It is the only one you have. Make the most of it, even if you have to include pain in the equation. Just let it be there. Even invite it along.
Be kinder to yourself. Create a self-love routine around taking care of your body and your emotions. Wash yourself with soothing hands. Buy things that have calming smells rather than sharp chemical odors. Indulge your need for more softness and kindness in your life. Wear clothes that feel soft against your skin. Talk to yourself using soothing words. Give yourself a break more often.
Make Friends With Your Nerves
Let them know that you hear them, you honor them and you respect what they have to say to you through the pain. Let them know that you understand that they are in alarm mode right now, but you have heard them, and it’s okay to tone it down a little. It’s okay to let their message be carried to you a little more softly, a little more quietly.
I think one of the tricks to working with nerve pain is to understand that we have one central nervous system that lives throughout the body. Even if we are feeling nerve pain mostly in the face, neck or hands, it relates to and affects the entire nervous system and therefore the entire body.
I believe we can positively affect nerve pain in any part of the body by treating the whole body with calming, soothing, relaxing, and restoring activities and approaches And anything we can do to bring any of our pain down a notch or two is well worth it.
A version of this article also appears in Pain News Network as The Pain Companion: Living Better With Nerve PainImage courtesy of Pixabay
Sarah Anne Shockley is the author of The Pain Companion: Everyday Wisdom For Living With and Moving Beyond Chronic Pain and Living Better While Living With Pain. She is a staff columnist for Pain News Network.