The first step to choosing the best methods of pain management at home is to determine whether the pain is acute or chronic. Acute pain is a sharp, sudden pain that is typically associated with breaking bones, child birth, or heart attacks. This kind of pain should be assessed by a doctor before trying to manage it by yourself, because the situation could be life threatening. Chronic pain takes place after an injury is fully healed or when there is no obvious injury in the first place. It is a persistent pain that should also be assessed by a doctor, but in mild cases like headaches, an over-the-counter (OTC) medication could help in the mean time.
For mild pain not associated with a life-threatening health condition, look to a local drug store for relief. These shops carry all kinds of pain relievers that can help relieve headaches, sore muscles, and menstruation cramps. This is the most common method of pain management at home. Be wary of taking these drugs long-term without a doctor’s advise, however. Make sure to read the labels for proper dosing, complications, and interactions.
Chronic pain is a sign of something being wrong in your body long-term. It is not normal to have persistent pain for no obvious reason, so it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to decide the best course of action. The pain is sometimes fixable, but other times a doctor may prescribe prescription-strength painkillers or, in some places, medical marijuana. Depending on your local laws, medical marijuana can sometimes be legally grown and carried on your person to relieve pain. In all cases, however, you must return to your doctor for routine checkups to ensure the problem does not get worse and, if it gets better, a reassessment of your medication need.
Another method of pain management at home is to use ice packs or a hot water bottle to soothe the pain. This method is usually recommended for sore muscles, cramps, and other insignificant to mild injuries usually described as causing acute pain. Neither hot nor cold packs can be left on the body too long or burns will result. There are devices that prolong the time a person can leave a pack on, usually by moving the water. Still, this method of pain management at home is only temporary, but it can be used to ease pain after a surgery or minor injury.