Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.Full Bio
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I don't know who first uttered, "If we're not in pain, we're not alive," but lately the word "pain" has become one of the most common and popular topics at many dinner conversations.
It isn't easy being pain-free.
We may be an active generation; after all, having been raised with Jack LaLanne and Jane Fonda fitness programs can do that to a person—but with that comes the inescapable and, at times, insufferable aches and pains. We bear the toll as body parts wear out, suffering from a host of things that all mysteriously end in "itis": bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis. (Let's not leave out stress fractures, pulled muscles and other sports injuries.)
Where and how does it hurt?
Let me count the ways.
I am among the many that suffer from Boomeritis, a term coined, not surprisingly, by an orthopedic surgeon. As I've conceded (somewhat proudly, though sometimes meekly), to my Pilates instructor, “There isn't a body part left to injure."
Am I complaining? No, I'm not. I've faced the fact that while I can't do what I did in my 20s, I can still do a lot to enhance my health and my quality of life. And this is why I suppose the mantra, "If we're not in pain, we're not alive," bears repeating.
Instead of being petulant, I've figured out my own ways to deal with pain in specific parts of my body.
Say I wake up with a stiff back, which happens quite often. (You can relate, no?) After I straighten up, I avoid sitting back down.
Seriously. It usually works wonders. Fact: Did you know that sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spine—something like 40 percent more pressure than standing?
There are other things that can work, too: Like an ice pack for a tweaked knee or a hot bath with Epsom salts for overall muscle soreness. And then there are the natural remedies like capsaicin, turmeric, arnica and more.
C'mon, you're saying, give me a little more information than that. That doesn't always work for chronic, everyday pain. Give me real, concrete ways to help ease my pain before I run to make a doctor's appointment.
• Avoid activities that aggravate the problem.
• Rest the injured area.
• Ice the area the day of the injury.
• Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin. (Like any other medication, always check with your doctor before taking these, since there are some people who cannot or should not take them.)
This post originally appeared on mysocalledmidlife.net.