10 Money-Saving Tips for Pain Relief

by Christina Lasich, MD Health Professional

Ice instead of anti-inflammatory medications

The cooling action of ice helps to control swelling; it is a great way to control pain. Just ask any athlete who has had an injury, ice keeps them going with less pain.

Hand-held shower massager instead of massaging chair

The Human Touch Massage chairs are nice, but who has an extra $3,000 to spend? A pulsating hot water massage in the shower can also relieve pain, without hurting your budget. This shower head costs roughly $80.

Heating pad instead of a spa

With winter approaching, it is important to keep those muscles warm; otherwise, they will become tense and spasm. But, please don't burn your skin! A spa can cost $2,000, while a heating pad can cost as little as $20.

Mattress topper instead of a new mattress

I love the Tempur Pedic products, but the mattress is very expensive at roughly $2,000. Sometimes the cheaper foam topper (a layer of foam on top of your existing mattress) – priced around $300 - can ease the pressure points enough for a comfortable night's sleep.

TheraCane or Myotool instead of chiropractic treatments

The cost of chiropractic visits can add up to huge sums of money at around $75 per visit. Simple devices like the "TheraCane" or "Myotool" - around $50 each - can help to keep joints limber and aligned.

Generic medications instead of brand name

Don't discount the effectiveness of older, generic medications just because you don't see them on television. Cheaper alternatives often do exist, so check with your doctor about financial wise prescriptions. Generic medications can cost $10 vs. between $40 and hundreds for brand-name drugs.

Take a walk instead of exercise equipment

The fancy machines (up to thousands of dollars) with pulse monitors, pace monitors, and even TV monitors may be more fun. But when you are on a budget, you may need to sacrifice fun instead of sacrificing your health. Keep exercising through the financial crisis by walking regularly. Remember that exercise stimulates your natural pain relievers: the endorphins.

Fitness ball instead of strength equipment

Your muscles do not care if they flex with a big machine or flex to maintain your balance. A fitness ball (used correctly) can give you Olympic level strength without a financial headache. Weight equipment can cost thousands of dollars, while a fitness ball will only run about $40.

"La Fuma" recliner instead of the "Perfect Chair"

The "Perfect Chair" by Human Touch is perfectly able to eliminate pain. However, the price is less than perfect for many budgets, costing around $1,600. The "La Fuma" reclining chair is a wonderfully effective and affordable option, as it costs about $150.

Armrests instead of an inversion table

Place your hands on the armrests of your chair. Now, gradually put all (or most) of your weight through your arms. As your butt levitates off the chair, the spine is gently pulled into traction. Great, you just saved $800 and depressurized your back with a common household item.

Christina Lasich, MD
Meet Our Writer
Christina Lasich, MD

Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.