Not only are those blue and red enlarged veins on your legs unsightly, they oftentimes cause quite a bit of discomfort.
That discomfort can come in the form of swelling, itchiness, rashes, and varying levels of pain.
If they’re varicose veins, you’ll find that your veins are large and typically pop up on your thighs, the inside of your leg, and on the back of your calves. Varicose veins are located deeper beneath the surface of the skin.
If they’re spider veins, they’ll be smaller and closer to the surface than varicose veins. They are typically short and look like spider webs, hence their name. You’ll find these veins on your legs and face.
Whether they’re spider veins or varicose veins, they have the potential to cause some serious discomfort, and we are guessing you’re looking for a way to rid of that pain. If our guess is correct, then keep reading to find out what you can do for varicose vein pain.
Expert-Approved Ways to Effectively Manage Vein Pain
Before we get into the specifics of how you can work to treat your vein pain, let’s take a look at what causes these vein issues in the first place. Below is an image of examples of vein disease to help you easily identify what you may be suffering from.
What causes varicose and spider veins?
There are a number of factors that can lead to the development of both varicose veins and spider veins. The top 5 things putting you at risk of developing spider and varicose veins are:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Hormone changes (such as pregnancy)
Some of those risks are things you can control, while others such as aging and genetics cannot. So if you find you’re spending too much of your day sitting or standing, find ways to incorporate movement into your daily life to avoid getting these vein problems, or making them worse.
How to Ease Varicose Vein Pain
If you’ve already developed varicose veins or spider veins, and are now struggling to deal with the pain, we’ve got some ideas for you on how best to relieve the pain that your veins are causing.
Elevate your legs
Varicose veins are caused by vein valves that have been damaged. It is your veins’ job to carry blood back up to your heart, and they have to work against gravity to do this. That’s a tough job! Thus, when you have damaged or weak veins, blood pools there and starts causing problems. Sometimes the blood will just sit there (called venous insufficiency), and other times the pooled blood will make your veins bigger, and that’s when they become varicose veins. So, if you’re looking for immediate relief from your vein pain, then it’s a good idea to elevate your legs and make sure they’re up above your heart. This helps alleviate the stress on your body to work against gravity and get the blood back up to your heart. Thus, it allows your veins to do their job properly. Here are some ways that you can elevate your legs:
- Put your feet up on a desk or table
- Stretch your legs up a wall
- Lie down and place multiple pillows under your legs
Exercise and stretch
There’s no need to put yourself on a strict exercise regimen when you’re dealing with vein pain — in fact, that could end up causing you more damage. Instead, you need to focus on low-impact exercises that give your calves a chance to stretch out. Make it a point to get up and walk around every 30 minutes to help keep the blood flowing in your veins. Also, when you’re sitting down, flex your feet to give those calves a good stretch.
Your body needs water to properly circulate blood. So, you need to be sure that you are feeding your body lots of water to aid in that circulation. How much water? Well, many doctors claim that you should drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. While that may seem impossible, try to get as close to that much water as you can.
Few things wake you up more than a cold shower, and, as it turns out, a cold shower is also a great way to wake up your veins. Cold water causes your blood vessels to shrink, which will help alleviate pain and swelling. Though a hot bath at the end of a long day sounds great, when you’re suffering from varicose and/or spider veins, you want to opt for a cold shower instead. The hot water will not do any good for your veins. In fact, the pain may increase if you choose to soak in a hot bath.
Many vein doctors give their patients compression stockings to help with their vein pain. These stockings help keep swelling down and will aid in cutting back on cramps caused by your damaged veins. You’ll see the best results from the compression stockings if you put them on first thing in the morning, and wear them throughout the day. If you attempt to put them on in the middle of the day, once you’ve already started experiencing pain and discomfort in your legs, it is too late.
See a vein specialist
When it comes to your veins, you do not want to self-diagnose. Vein problems are no small matter, and if left untreated, can lead to some major problems such as deep vein thrombosis. To keep from getting DVT and dealing with the potential risks of that disease (including pulmonary embolism), you want to see a vein specialist at the first sign of any vein problems. Your vein doctor will be able to assess your vein problems and give you the best option for treatment.
Interested in reading more about vein disorders? Explore our collection of circulation topics.
Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Yan Katsnelson is a philanthropist, business owner, and highly skilled cardiac surgeon. He is the Founder and CEO of USA Vein Clinics, which is part of USA Clinics Group, the parent company of USA Fibroid Centers, USA Vascular Centers, and USA Oncology Centers, with more than 100 facilities nationwide. Dr. Yan has established himself as a strong advocate for accessibility and affordability of the most advanced medical care close to home. His mission is to create a positive experience for each patient with compassionate, personalized, and expert care.