One of the goals of home health care is to help patients control their pain levels. While there are many medications that will help, there are some complementary techniques that can help, as well. These are particularly great for volunteers and aids to use since they can't subscribe medication.
1. Laughter. It can change a body's chemistry, relieve tension, create a diversion, release endorphines, relax muscles, and stimulate organs. It will also help lighten depression, which is common with homebound patients. To help someone laugh you can:
- find a list of funny jokes to share
- read a humorous book, like one by Dave Berry or David Sedaris
- try a laughter meditation
- watch a funny TV show, movie, or YouTube clip with them (like this video of babies laughing)
- share silly stories from your life and encourage them to do the same
2. Deep breathing. It will cleanse the body of harmful toxins, loosen muscles, and bring in new energy. People have a tendency to hold their breath and tighten their muscles when they are in pain. Doing some deep breathing exercises will counteract that. Have the patient:
- put one hand on their abdomen and one hand on their chest
- take a deep breath and make sure that the hand on the abdomen rises higher than the one on the chest
- breathe out slowly, counting to eight
- breathe back in, counting to eight
- hold their breath for eight seconds
- breathe back out slowly
- repeat five times
3. Massage. Even if you are not a licensed massage therapist, you can do some simple massage. It soothes the body, invites relaxation, and releases tension. You can massage a patient's hands, feet, neck, or head. Make sure you get their permission first and only do what feels comfortable to both of you. You can use some lotion and some essential oils (lavender and Roman chamomile are great for massage) to aid in the relaxation.
4. Aromatherapy. Certain essential oils can help relieve tension, reduce anxiety and stress, and lessen depression. You can diffuse the essential oils in the air with a diffuser or place drops directly on the patient's hands or nose. Try:
- lavender for relaxation
- ginger for nausea
- sandalwood to relieve muscle tension
- citrus oils to lower depression
- vetiver to reduce insomnia
- helichrysum for pain, stiffness, and grief
While medication will still be needed, these four techniques can complement any pain management plan. Home health care services, like ComForcare Home Care - Kalamazoo, MI, can help their patients with these alternative pain treatments, when appropriate.