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8 Things You Can Do While You’re Waiting for the Meds to Kick In

8 Things You Can Do While You’re Waiting for the Meds to Kick In


Picture this: You’re in bed, but you’re awake because the immense amount of pain that you’re in is just too much to sleep and you’ve taken whatever medication you can. Now, you wait.

You wait for the medication to kick in, and it seems like ages and ages and nothing is happening. The pain is still as bad as it was, if not worse, and you’re left wondering if there’s anything at all you can do. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can reduce your pain levels while you’re waiting for the meds to kick in.

Endometriosis Pain Relief 

In a day and age where pills are either thrown at us or taken away (the opioid crisis, for example), it’s a good idea to have a few extra pain-relieving tools handy.

I’ll admit that even as a Physiotherapist (who is knowledgeable on pain management and who educates patients on a daily basis) it has taken me a while to start practicing what I preach. But I’m so glad I did. These alternative forms of pain relief have enabled me to keep going at work or to go out to social events that I wouldn’t have been able to participate in otherwise.

Disclaimer: The forms of alternative relief that I discuss in this article will work differently depending on the individual. Each method in this article comes with its own set of warnings and precautions. Please do your research and, as always, consult a doctor before trying anything drastically new.

Heat Therapy

Using heat is beneficial for a number of conditions, injuries, and symptoms. You can use heat in the form of a hot water bottle, hot bath, or an adhesive heat patch. This method of pain relief should be practiced in 20-minute spurts. (The adhesive pads have a different time limit. See pack directions for details.)


  • Increases blood flow and muscle flexibility
  • Relaxes and soothes muscles
  • Heals damaged tissue

Ice Therapy

Ice is mainly used for reducing inflammation and swelling, however, it can be useful for those of us who suffer from Endo-belly. You can use a simple ice block from the freezer, a bag of peas, or cold spray or gel (you can get this on Amazon). Ice should be used a bit like heat – 20 minutes at a time – and things like blocks or frozen items should be wrapped in a cloth to protect your skin.


  • Reduces blood flow, which in turn, reduces inflammation and swelling
  • Reduces nerve activity
  • Decreases muscle spasms/cramping


This is not a way of saying “the pain is in your head.” Using distractions is probably a method you’re already utilizing without realizing it. Sometimes, finding a way to take your mind off the pain or whatever unpleasant symptoms you may be experiencing, is easier than you think.

You can do this however you’d like – whatever is enjoyable or makes you feel happy will work. Why does it work? Well, when you’re focusing on your pain (let’s go back to the scenario above where you’re waiting for your pain meds to work) your brain starts a “wind-up process.” And the stress or the anxiety of the pain not improving often makes the pain signals more intense.

This ties in with a theory known as “The Gate Theory of Pain.” This theory that describes how “negative” emotions can make pain signals more intense, whereas “positive” emotions (including distraction techniques) make them less so.


Who doesn’t love a good massage? That feeling of your muscles being soothed is amazing. (At least I think so!) Muscles aside, massaging your tummy or back or wherever it is hurting is super helpful for pain and cramps.

The best thing? You don’t have to go somewhere fancy to have it done (although who doesn’t love a spa retreat every now and then?), and you can even do some body parts yourself.

There are several websites that mention specific massage techniques for Endometriosis. (NOTE: Do your research) I have also come across specialist Physiotherapists in my career who carry out specific scar tissue massages designed for patients after abdominal surgery, so there is plenty of advice out there.

I’ve even come across some spas that offer tailored massage packages for clients based on their medical condition. (Of course, you must inform them first.)


  • Helps decrease stress and adrenaline
  • Reinforces trust and relationships (Massage can be a form of intimacy for some couples especially if sex is painful.)
  • increases blood flow
  • Decreases tension in the muscles or joints
  • Eases cramps


To be honest, the use of TENS really deserves its own article (I’m working on it – promise!) as it’s such a unique and sort-of complicated form pain relief. “TENS” stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It works by stimulating the nerves on the skin to decrease the intensity of the pain signals that are being sent to the brain.

You can buy small TENS machines at your local pharmacy or on Amazon. Make sure you read the information pack that’s provided!

Other Forms of Pain Relief: CBT, Acupuncture, and Aromatherapy 

To save this article from being too long of a read, other forms of pain relief include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on the present rather than talking about past emotions, acupuncture, and aromatherapy.

If you’re wondering how CBT is considered a form of pain relief, it’s because CBT looks at how our emotions influence our activities and how we perceive them. For example, many patients I meet associate negative thoughts with pain (pain equals damage, therefore I won’t be active in case it hurts; I’m now stiff and hurting more, etc.) and CBT looks at how we can change these thoughts to being more positive.

Acupuncture for me is amazing. It uses very fine needles inserted into the skin to stimulate channels or meridians to have a positive and healing effect. It is worth noting that there are two types of acupuncture – Chinese Acupuncture, also known as traditional, and Western Acupuncture, also known as medical. Both methods are slightly different and used in different ways, so look into it before you book.

Aromatherapy works in a similar way, but uses essential oils and plant extracts to produce healing effects rather than needles.

The best way to utilize alternative forms of pain relief is to use them in combination with pain medication.

The next time you’re waiting for pain relief to kick in, stick a hot water bottle on or read a book whilst you wait.

Using alternative forms of pain relief has been a crucial part of my social and professional life. I always have adhesive heat pads in my bag and I’m able to use the ice packs we make for patients at work. And, my husband (who is also a Physiotherapist) gives me a lovely massage at the end of a painful day. Give them a try and see how they work for you!

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