Whether you stubbed your toe, are in the midst of a migraine, or are suffering from chronic pain, here’s how to diminish the discomfort.
Ice is best used for acute pain relief rather than general muscle soreness, says A. Lynn Millar, PT, PhD, FACSM, chair of the department of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University. Her research has shown that ice doesn’t significantly alter muscle damage or inflammation. “Think of ice as a pain reliever or something that can reduce visible swelling, but it may not help the muscle heal,” she says. Still, you can massage the tender area by freezing water in small paper cups and then peeling back the paper to expose the ice; limit the massage to 15 minutes a session.
Capsaicin, the compound in chili peppers that gives them their heat, is also found in over-the-counter ointments for pain relief. Rub it on aching joints to diminish discomfort. One caveat: It can burn a bit at first, says Don R. Martin, MD, a rheumatologist with Sentara RMH Rheumatology. Check out these 14 home remedies for arthritis pain.
Bag of frozen corn
Hurt your hand? Once again, treat it with cold. A bag of frozen peas or corn is perfect for joints and hands because you can mold the frozen veggies around the area, she says. Then, read on for these tips on when it’s best to use heat versus ice to find relief.