We’ve all been there before. Those irritating bouts of pain that don’t require a hospital visit but are still enough to leave us with discomfort. Whether it’s a toothache, a minor burn, or a splinter, there’s no reason to cope with even minimal amounts of pain when there are simple remedies lying around the house. Let’s face it, the medication we always need is never on hand and in most cases is too expensive for one-time use. Next time you find yourself in the following situations, consider these five pain hacks to help relieve your discomfort and improve your quality of life.
1. Cough While Receiving a Needle Injection
No matter what age, we all dread getting a shot at the doctor’s office. The next time you’re mentally preparing for an injection or to have blood drawn, remember to cough before and during the shot to reduce pain from the needle sting. A research team from the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University in Germany used a method known simply as the Cough Trick to test how 20 health patients responded to an injection. The participants were punctured on the same hand vein twice in the span of three weeks. Results proved that coughing while being punctured effectively reduced the intensity of pain for the majority of patients.
“Coughing for needle insertion involves the gate control theory of pain,” Dr. Daniel Hsu, acupuncturist, herbalist, and specialist in Traditional Asian Medicine, told Medical Daily in an email. “The stimuli traveling along fast nerve fibers partially override painful sensations traveling along slower nerve fibers. Coughing can act as distracter and as a trigger for a sudden rise in blood pressure. It is already known that hypertension can cause reduced pain perception. I use this trick for acupuncture points on the bottom of the foot.”
2. Soothe Toothache by Rubbing Ice on Your Hand
You may be familiar with applying ice to a sore muscle or joint, but rubbing ice on your hand to relieve a toothache? While it may seem outlandish, giving yourself an ice massage on the V-shaped part of your hand between the thumb and index finger can help alleviate pain on that same side of your face. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal revealed that patients suffering from a toothache were able to relieve over 50 percent of their dental pain with a simple ice massage on their hand. Research found that the cold temperatures from the ice helped block pain impulses traveling from our mouth to the brain.
3. Yellow Mustard for Burn Relief
Next time you accidently touch a hot stove reach for a bottle of yellow mustard. While it may sting at first, coating the burned area with yellow mustard, wrapping with gauze or a band aid, and letting it sit for around 12 hours will help soothe pain and reduce scarring. Also remember to use cool, not cold, water before and after applying mustard to reduce swelling. Avoid icing and breaking blisters when they appear, since that may cause further damage to the wound or produce an infection.
4. Rub Onion on Your Skin to Relieve Pain From a Bee Sting
Getting stung by a bee can result in agonizing pain and unsightly swelling of the skin. To reduce both pain and swelling, cut an onion in half and rub it on the area of the bee sting for around 20 minutes. Research shows that an onion’s ingredients can help break down chemicals that cause inflammation and discomfort. Make sure the stinger is removed before starting any type of treatment for a bee sting and wash the area with soap and water to prevent an infection.
“Onions contain pharmacologically active substances with anti-inflammatory and or allergic properties,” Dr. Hsu added. “It may help a little. The most important thing is to watch out for anaphylaxis.”
5. Baking Soda Paste to Help Remove a Splinter
There are few things that are more irritating than dealing with a tiny piece of wood stuck in your skin that refuses to come out. When tweezers fail, whip up a paste made out of baking soda and water to remove a splinter over time. Apply the homemade waste to the area of the splinter, cover it up with a band aid, and let it sit overnight. Come morning the shard of wood, glass, or metal will have removed itself without poking or prodding. Baking soda causes the skin to swell and the splinter to come out naturally.