The first step to natural pain relief is avoiding situations that cause pain in the first place. The implication is that we have to be self-advocates 24/7, asking for help so that we don’t end up hurting ourselves. Sometimes asking for help can feel intimidating or otherwise uncomfortable, but ultimately, doing so is worth the difference in pain levels.
When I joined my health club, for example, I had a hard time opening the door between the women’s locker room and the bathroom/steam/sauna area. When I explained my condition to the maintenance women and asked if they could prop open the door, at least while I was there, they refused. Their concern seemed to be about following protocol, so I spoke with the staff at the front desk – one of whom called maintenance and authorized opening that door.
For the next several months, I’d swipe my card and ask whoever was at the front desk to call maintenance and authrorize opening the door. As staff got to know me, I asked in shorthand: “Can you please call maintenance?” I no longer had to explain why.
Nowadays, I just show up and swipe my card. The front desk staff automatically calls maintenance and asks them to open the door. The maintenance women and I now laugh that they always have a heads-up when to expect me!
We’re very friendly with each other, as a result of this unusual introduction. And if the message somehow doesn’t get through to them from the front desk, as happens every now and then, they run to open the door for me as soon as they see me coming. It’s sweet.
Because I went through the trouble of standing up for myself, because I had the audacity to ask an entire facility to work itself around my needs, I don’t have to suffer from or be anxious about pain in that situation anymore. Now that’s what I call natural pain relief!