Pain from endometriosis can be one of the most difficult parts of living with endometriosis. If you are like me, pain medicines are not the best treatment, so more natural options are helpful. Here are 10 natural endometriosis pain relief solutions to consider trying.
Endometriosis Help with Pain
As I mentioned last week, I recently was officially diagnosed with Endometriosis by excision surgery – and I had the diseased tissue removed.
I wrote about my experience with Endometriosis surgery in this post, but this is hardly the beginning or end of my journey. Endometriosis is a chronic condition with no cure – although the prognosis with the surgery I just had is hopeful to help alleviate the symptoms I have.
Endometriosis comes with a lot of different symptoms – the most severe being chronic pain. That pain can manifest in a variety of different ways – and for me, the pain was worst in my pelvis and my lower back.
Anyone who suffers from chronic pain can attest to how hard it can be to deal with. It can make day-to-day tasks like doing the dishes, going to the store, and taking care of your children almost insurmountable.
And if you are like me, pain medications can be hard to take on a regular basis. Anything stronger than ibuprofen makes me feel even worse and loopy – so I start to wonder if the medication is worth taking when the side effects can be so frustrating.
Because of this, over the past few years, I’ve sought to find more natural pain relief methods. Although I hope that my surgery will help with that pain more long term, I’m grateful to have found some ways to deal with the pain before that – and if I need it in the future.
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Endometriosis Pain Treatment
I have to mention this one first because it is something I literally use every day. It’s something that I’ve found to relieve pain more than pretty much anything else, and I can’t believe I haven’t used one until now.
Well, I guess that’s not true. Whenever I go into the chiropractor, the one I go to has me do a session of his TENS machine. It’s a lot more expensive and heavy duty, but I love it. However, I really don’t go to the chiropractor that often, plus, it’s something I feel like I need to use on a regular basis. I can’t really go to the chiropractor every day!
A few months ago, I went to a tech fair, and a representative from OMRON was there. I was intrigued by the wireless and smartphone-enabled OMRON Avail TENS device. As I spoke with the girl there, I wondered if it might be something I should consider using for my daily chronic pain.
So I was pretty thrilled when they gave me the Avail to try out. I almost cried the first time I used it because it truly helped to alleviate my pain so much.
Was my pain permanently alleviated? No. But it has helped me get through some very painful moments, including:
- Day to day lower pelvic and back pain. There are many mornings where I would wake up and put the device on immediately, and I felt such a relief. It really helped me get through the day a little easier
- My miscarriage in September – these are emotionally painful, and the physical pain almost feels cruel
- Knee pain – in October, I started suffering from some severe knee pain. I couldn’t even walk for a day. My doctor has some suspicions of what is causing it, and I will be starting physical therapy soon. But it has been very instrumental in helping to sooth that pain.
- My surgery recovery. The first few days were incredibly painful. And I wasn’t reacting well to the pain medication I was on, so I was desperate for relief. It helped me a lot during that time.
You might be asking, what is TENS therapy? It’s a good question!
TENS therapy is an effective, drug-free way to relieve pain. It can be used all over the body. It is clinically proven to relieve mild to moderate musculoskeletal pain, including chronic lower back pain. Although it’s primarily used for this type of pain, I have personally used it for my pelvic pain as well with great success.
TENS therapy does the following three things that help in its drug-free pain relief:
- It blocks the pain message signals to the brain
- It stimulates the release of endorphins – our bodies’ natural painkillers
- It improves blood circulation
I am in quite a few Endometriosis support groups, and I see women on a regular basis talk about how TENS therapy has helped them immensely. It’s truly been such a blessing for me, and it was neat to see that others have been using it as well.
I really do love the OMRON Avail. It’s portable, has a great mobile app to control it, and it works very well. It has two pads and devices included, and you can use them at different times.
I found the mobile app easy to use to get it to do what I want. When you get into the app, it shows you a diagram of a body, and you select where you are going to put the device on your body. After that, it will give you the option to select between TENS and Microcurrent – I usually go with TENS.
From there, it will give you some manual settings, an acupuncture-like setting, and then some preset for different parts of the body.
For the pain I experience, I usually use the acupuncture setting on my stomach, and then I use the pre-set setting for lower back pain. Because it doesn’t have a stomach setting, I will usually just select a random body part on the diagram, and then I will select the acupuncture setting.
I do recommend starting low and building up your levels from there. I usually go to the 50% power setting, though I sometimes turn it down lower for my back, because it can get pretty intense.
I love that I can use it on the go as well. I’ve used it in the car, at hotels, and I even brought it on the airplane to use once (though I didn’t end up using it – I was glad I had it). Here is some more information about the OMRON Avail.
Something I was really excited about when I got my OMRON Avail was that it had an acupuncture setting. I have had a lot of success with using acupuncture for pain relief.
I started going to see an acupuncturist last year, and the first time I went, I was in a lot of pain. It was incredible to feel that pain melt away the longer the session went on. I felt like it did a great job of warding off the pain for a few days. Be careful though – some acupuncturists will try and sell
Heat is definitely helpful with inflammation and pain. I’ve used heating pads a lot over the past few years, and they really do help. I had someone suggest combining a heating pad with a TENS device.
Sensing a pattern here? Heat is just a very useful tool when it comes to soothing pain and warm baths are wonderful. If you add in Epsom salts or essential oils, there are certain kinds that can be particularly soothing to the body as well.
Yoga (or other light exercises)
Believe me, when I’m in pain, the last thing I want to do is exercise. But I have found that it does help to relieve the pain. Yoga is something that many “naturalists” recommend specifically for endo-related pain. Exercise, in general, is just good for your health and your mood.
I’ve actually found that Barre has been really therapeutic for me – though I’m sure I won’t be doing it for a long time (just thinking of the core work makes me cringe).
Find something that works well for you and makes you feel good – even if it’s just a little walk. I’ve stopped trying to force myself to enjoy running, because (at least before my surgery), I felt like my insides were falling out and separating whenever I would do it. Not so relaxing or soothing for pain!
I’m not a big user of essential oils, but I know that many people have success with them in soothing pain, helping with hormonal issues, and helping with cramps. Although I haven’t used these myself, here are a few suggested kinds:
- Clary Sage – often used to help balance hormones
The body heals itself while you sleep. One of the most commonly cited side effects of endometriosis is fatigue, and while most people with endo will say they feel exhausted no matter how much they sleep (myself included), it is important to make sure you rest as much as you can.
Listen to your body. Sleep when it says to sleep (as long as the situation is appropriate for it). Go to bed earlier. Don’t push yourself to do things that your body is telling you not to do. Resting is essential.
There is plenty of research and anecdotal insight to show that diet does play a big part in the management of endometriosis. Of course, there are many schools of thoughts in regard to this, but in general, having a rounded, whole food based diet can help with the inflammation and pain.
Here are some recommendations I often see. However, because endometriosis is such an individualized disease, these may or may not help:
- Avoid red meats
- Avoid dairy products
- Avoid sugar
- Avoid gluten (there was a study I read that actually showed that over the course of a year, about 75% of the participants in the research study saw a significant improvement in their symptoms after limiting gluten. I love gluten. But I thought that was insightful)
Magnesium is a great supplement. My doctor suggested I started to take it about a year ago to help with aches and pains, as well as with IBS-like symptoms (very common with Endometriosis), and I think it helps substantially.
Omega-3s are good for anyone, but they also can help reduce inflammation. There is often lots of inflamed tissue with Endometriosis, so incorporating these into your diet can be helpful. There foods that contain them (here is a great article with a list of them), but you can also take a supplement as well. That’s what I do.
There’s no one size fits all solution for women suffering from endometriosis. As I’ve said before, there is no cure for endometriosis, and these are merely suggestions on how to help with the pain. The best thing you can do is meet with a qualified Endometriosis specialist.
I do feel that what has helped me the most has been my OMRON TENS device, as well as light to moderate exercise and acupuncture. I hope that this has given you some ideas to try!
What Does Endometriosis Pain Feel Like?
As with most things with this disease, it just depends – where it’s located, your sensitivities, and what organs are affected.
For me, the pain manifests all over – but it’s primarily been in my lower back (which radiates down my leg – replicating sciatica-like pain), as well as in my pelvis. It is especially painful during ovulation. I often describe it as someone stabbing me and twisting the knife around – though Forrest likes to remind that I don’t actually know what the feels like.
It can also feel like early labor contractions at times. Most of the time, I just kind of have a dull ache, and it gets stronger and more painful during ovulation. I also feel like sometimes my insides are being pulled down. Sneezing and coughing can be particularly painful.
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