Staying Pain-Free During Covid-19


Some of you may be in a state of panic as you find it more difficult to see your physicians, especially with regard to your pain. Firstly, let me say that doctors are probably working on making telemedicine visits available to you. I’m set up for that, as are my partners. I would remind everyone to be as patient with us as we are going to be with you, while we work through this process. Trust me when I say that as with any medical software program, no one is trying to make it easy on us.

I can’t help you with your hypertension or diabetes, but I can help with your pain, since that is my bailiwick. And I DO have some tips. These are things I do for myself as well as my patients, but I thought now would be a good time to bring it up to all my readers.

  • Modify activities which are painful. This is not a time to try to work through your pain. Stop or curtail the painful activity. If it hurts to walk…do less walking.
  • Be mindful of your pain. Find those positions in which you don’t have pain, and get there more often. Accept this for now!
  • R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). It’s an old standby, and it works, particularly for acute pain due to injuries.
  • There may be some concern regarding the use of NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Aleve, and prescription NSAIDs, such as meloxicam or Celebrex, to name a few), in the presence of COVID-19. However, as of this writing, there is no absolute evidence for this concern. And certainly, there is no evidence that use of NSAIDs, in the absence of COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test, is dangerous, any more than under ordinary circumstances. If you are in pain, and can ordinarily take NSAIDs*, you can still consider using them. I’ve already used them in the past week. *Avoid NSAIDs if you have end stage renal disease, liver disease, a history of stomach ulcers or are taking blood thinners.
  • Tylenol…unless you have liver disease or an allergy.
  • Arthritis, and many chronic musculoskeletal conditions often respond to warmth in the form of warm packs, heating pads, heating blankets, warm baths/showers, and warming salves such as Tiger Balm or Icy Hot.
  • Walking aids, like crutches, walkers, hiking sticks and canes can be used if you are experiencing lower extremity pain, or are limping. Don’t hesitate to use them. This is not a time to worry about “looking old.”
  • Pain relieving salves such as Aspercreme, Salonpas, Tiger Balm, or CBD oil (according to friends and patients), etc., are often effective pain relievers. And you have to massage them onto your skin, which brings me to the next tip.
  • Touching works…unless your bone is sticking out of the skin. I cannot overemphasize the importance of a nice massage.
  • Meditation. There are many apps and websites out there to help you with this, and thankfully, some of them are offering their services for free right now!
  • Occupation. Do something. Many of us are spending a lot more time at home. We’re working from home. We’ve been laid off. We can’t go to the gym. Absence of our usual routine gives us more time to think about our pain. Find other things to do. Play cards or board games. Learn a foreign language. Pick up a musical instrument. Start a diary. Keep your brain occupied and off the thought of your pain. Your brain has the ability to do this!
  • Kiss the boo boo. Yes…kissing works.
  • Don’t do things which have a high likelihood of hurting you right now. This is common sense. You do not want to have to go to the emergency room.
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