Back pain: why painkillers aren't your only option



It's been a little quiet around the blog this past month, and if you follow me on social media you'll know why; at the end of December I was in a bit of a car crash and am currently still off work with Whiplash problems, mainly on my neck. I thought this guest post about back/neck pain was particularly relevant at the moment..

If you suffer from a back related condition, it’s likely you’re familiar with taking painkillers when the pain is too much to handle. While medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help ease an aching back, it’s important to note that there are other options available. Here are three alternative methods that could help banish your back woes.

A TENS machine

A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine is a small, battery-operated device that can be used to reduce discomfort caused by a number of conditions, including back pain. This gadget features electrode pads that are applied directly to the skin at the affected area. These electrodes link back to the device via connected leads. When the machine is switched on, small electrical impulses are transferred to the painful area of your body. This usually feels like a tingling sensation. The impulses reduce pain signals from being delivered to the spinal cord and brain, helping relieve your discomfort and relax your muscles. Using a TENS machine can also trigger the production of endorphins - the body’s natural painkillers.

If you’re looking to try out a TENS machine, you might want to speak to a medical professional to ensure it’s suitable for you. You can loan a machine for short-term use, or you could choose to buy your own as they are fairly inexpensive. There are many different brands and models available. For example, the TENS machines for back pain from Lloyds Pharmacy are available in a wireless design, meaning you can take advantage of this pain relief at any time without having to worry about visible wires.

Hot and cold treatments

You might find that applying a hot or cold treatment to the affected area can help ease the pain. For example, having a hot bath or placing a hot water bottle on your back could reduce your discomfort. Moreover, you may discover that using something cold, such as an ice pack, helps soothe the area. There are many products available that have been specially designed to treat back pain, such as hot and cold compression packs. These are readily accessible from most pharmacies.

Exercise

If your back is hurting, it’s likely that exercise is the last thing on your mind. However, moving your body could reduce your discomfort. Regular exercise will help keep your back strong and healthy while also improving your posture. To keep your aches and pains at bay, you could take part in some light activity such as walking, swimming or yoga.

Next time your back is causing you discomfort, you could try out one of these alternatives before you reach for the painkillers.

Fuzzy Felt Casual

When Irregular Choice's sale times come around, I can never resist a quick peek on what's on offer; despite the fact most of the heels tend to run at least half a size too small for me, which is a massive source of disappointment in my life. This time around I turned to the ICED range, and spotted these cute spotty trainers in the men's section of all places! The outers are a sweet felted, knitted type fabric whilst in true Irregular Choice fashion the inners are a metallic, shiny material. I love the mock-leather accents as well, they just add so much. I think I paid around £20 for these - down from over £100!, and I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on the Irregular Choice range at Spartoo for cute flats and sportier styles, as well as hoping for some sweet heels that fit my feet.

Makeup Palettes Top 3

In my opinion, Pallettes are a great makeup invention. You can have everything you need - whether that's makeup, skin coverage or blush - in one place, with multiple selections available within easy reach. I'd love to own a couple more palettes, and it's one of the things I want to look into more in this year; especially when it comes to choosing makeup for the wedding as I'm doing my own! Here are my Top 3 of the palettes I currently own;

NUMBER THREE: W7 CHEEKY TRIO PALETTE
One of the makeup bargains I picked up pre-Christmas whilst present shopping, this W7 palette is ideal for quick, on-the-go contouring. You don't get a tonne of colour out of this palette, but if you're super pale (like me) then you'll get a lovely, subtle look with it. W7 is known for producing dupes - of Urban Decay and OPI especially - but their makeup is pretty good in it's own right. You can pick up this palette for around £9.95.

NUMBER TWO: BENEFIT LIFE OF THE PARTY PALETTE
Me, Benefit fangirl? Not at all! Well, maybe a little. I picked up this palette pre-Christmas as part of Benefit's holiday sets, and I'm very glad I did. This offered me my first try of the Porefessional primer, which I've now gone on to buy in the larger size, and the Benetint and They're Real! mascara are ideal handbag-size makeup. The blush/highlighter is also lovely, and though I admit I've not tried the eyeshadows yet they really are gorgeous shades. At the time, I picked up this palette for £29.50 though I did see it on sale in a few places.

NUMBER ONE: URBAN DECAY NAKED PALETTE
Everyone and their mum has gone on about this palette, so I'm sure there's not too much you need to hear! I love this palette. It was the first major makeup investment I made and it was 100% worth it; I use it near enough every day in some capacity, often in combination with my NYX eye pencils to make varying subtle looks. The brush included is also super handy and works perfectly. I can't fault it. The Naked palette costs £38, but is well worth the money if you have it.


Makeup Brushes Top 5

Since getting more 'into' makeup last year, I've amassed a small collection of brushes in varying shapes, sizes and brands to make sure I get the most out the of the products that I have. Though I'm nowhere near the flawless foundation and amazing eye makeup some people can achieve, using brushes instead of my fingers(!) has improved my 'face' tenfold, and I'm a little bit addicted to adding more to my collection. Here are my favourites, from left to right;

TOO FACED TEDDY BEAR HAIR EYESHADOW BRUSH
My favourite of a recently purchased set, this eyeshadow brush is ideal for use with my Benefit and Illamasqua eyeshadow palettes. It picks up loads of powder easily without any fallout and it really transfers well. As someone who is a novice at eye makeup - and needs to be an inch from the mirror when I'm not wearing glasses - this is really handy. A set of the teddy bear brushes (5 brushes) costs around £25, which is what I paid on eBay.

REAL TECHNIQUES ANGLED HIGHLIGHTER BRUSH
I love this brush! It's super soft and the angle means it's ideal for applying highlighter, whether it's the more liquidy High Beam or the more solid Watt's Up, both of which I use regularly. I also use this to apply and blend out bronzer when I do wear it, but that side of makeup is quite new to me. The highlighter brush was part of the 2015 Real Techniques Deluxe Collectors Edition Gift Set, which cost £32 off of Very.

SPECTRUM COLLECTION POWDER BRUSH
I use this brush for a myriad of different purposes; it's great for buffing out blusher, setting under-eye concealer and for spot powder where a larger brush isn't required. I can't wait until Spectrum have more stock of their brushes, as these are the softest, easy-to-wash - and cutest - brushes I own, I need more! I picked this powder brush up in a recent sale and it cost me £6.99, plus postage.

REAL TECHNIQUES MULTI-TASK BRUSH
The second Real Techniques brush on the list, this pretty pink part of my collection is used mostly for translucent powder, though occasionally I use it for a thin layer of my MAC or Benefit powder foundations to mattify my skin and add a bit more coverage. Again, this brush is super soft, comfy to use and washes like a dream. This brush was also part of the £32 Collectors Edition set.

TECHNIC CONCEALER BRUSH
This Technic conclear brush was a bargain compared to my other brushes, and set me back a whole £1.99 including postage and packaging on eBay. Technic are known for their Benefit and other expensive brand dupes, and I imagine these brushes are designed to mimic a more expensive brand. I've found no problems with this concealer brush, and I love the peachy pink colour scheme too.

Nintendo 3DS Top 3 Games

{Kyary Pamyu Pamyu cover plates are exclusive to Japan, but I picked mine up on play-asia}

Since J bought me a new 3DS (it's also called a 'new' 3DS but calling is a new new 3DS sounded odd!) last year, it's rarely left my side. I'm a massive fan of gaming, as is J, and as we only have one TV between us and five consoles(!) it's handy to have a handheld around too. Beyond a Nintendo 64 when I was younger, and an ongoing love of anything Pokemon, I've always been more PC/Playstation/Xbox oriented; in that order. However, I've found my 3DS the ideal companion for a little bit of casual gaming on the side when you don't want to spend time playing epic quests or have a lot of time to devote. Between J and myself we have a small collection of games, both on and offline, but these are my current favourites. If you have a 3DS or DS and you'd like to add me as a friend, my code is 1607 - 5160 - 6618. The lovely Carla of Droogette has also published a post previously of her favourite 3DS games, which is a bit more in depth than mine and definitely worth a read/

NUMBER THREE. HATSUNE MIKU PROJECT MIRAI DX
This is the ultimate chilling out ten-minutes-to-spare game. I'm a major fan of rhythm games in general, and combine that with the kawaii-ness of Hatsune Miku and I'm happy! The game is sort of a cross between classic DDR and ipad rhythm games, with the backgrounds featuring chibified versions of the original Vocaloid music videos. Be warned though; even though the game is super cute and seems simple, once you get beyond the very basic level songs the game gets really challenging, but even more fun.

NUMBER TWO: POKEMON ALPHA SAPPHIRE
I'm sure I've mentioned before just how much I love Pokemon games; I even have a palm sized bulbasaur tattooed on my thigh, which if nothing else proves just how much I love the series. When I first started playing pokemon - on my purple see-through gameboy colour - Sapphire was one of the first I really, really got into. I must have lost countless hours to the original, and trawling through the new version with all it's additional features and with my upgraded version of Mudkip is still fun now. And you don't get much better than ridiculous Pikachu costumes either!

NUMBER ONE. ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW LEAF
Without a doubt, Animal Crossing is my favourite 3DS game. I'm a big fan of sim games anyway, but the cute animal friends, ability to dress up and general sweet innocence of the AC world really makes it a great way to start/end my day. Reese the pink Alpaca is my all time favourite character, she is just too cute! The little high street, with shops that upgrade based on your progress, gives you a real sense of achievement in your town alongside the bits and pieces you can build yourself. It's also really fun building up your own house and being able to see other people's using street pass if you're a nosy person like myself!

Do you play handheld games? What are your favourite things to play?

Lush Top 3 Face Masks

It's no secret I'm a major fan of Lush products! I use at least one of the Lush products a day, be it shower gel, lip balm or perfume. I'm also particularly fond of the range of fresh face masks available, I find they do a much better job than the tube products you find in the supermarket, and they always leave my skin feeling fresh and clean. As with everything though, there's a few that are my particular favourites and that I'm more than happy to buy time and time again.

NUMBER THREE: LOVE LETTUCE 
This mask is a real lifesaver for me. It's super gentle, has a lovely calming scent and a little bit goes a long way. My face gets quite oily around my forehead and chin, and this really seems to help balance it all out if I use it regularly. It goes on fairly thick and offers a lot more full on coverage than some other Lush masks but once it's on it really gets to work fast. A pot of Love Lettuce will set you back £6.75 for 75g.

NUMBER TWO: CUPCAKE 
This mask not only smells amazing, it really makes your skin feel clean too. Though it's got mint in it, the only smell you really get is the slightly hunger-inducing chocolatey scent; which feels a bit weird on your face the first time you use it, as I really don't associate chocolate with being cleansing! I've repurchased this one a couple times, and I think I'll continue to do so in the future. One pot of Cupcake costs £6.75 for 75g.

NUMBER ONE: CUP O' COFFEE
My absolute favourite mask, and definitely in my top five Lush products overall! Cup o' Coffee provides a fantastic level of exfoliation - which is great for my dry, occasionally flaky skin - when just used as a scrub, but when left on as a mask it really invigorates your skin. I mostly use mine on my face but it can also be used on the body and makes your skin so soft. Unlike most Lush masks, this one lasts ages and I've always got a pot handy. Cup O' Coffee comes in larger pots than Lush's other masks, with 150g costing £6.75.