Chronic pain can be debilitating. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain, which can affect their quality of life and their ability to complete daily activities.
Fortunately, there are ways to cope. With proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals facing chronic pain on a daily basis can focus less on pain and more on the things they love to do. If you deal with chronic pain, here are some ways you can cope.
Successful chronic pain management starts with your mindset. You’ve got to accept the pain before you can take a proactive approach. Many people feel defeated by the fact that they’re constantly in pain, which makes this step difficult. Turning your mentality into “What can I do?” rather than “Woe is me” will help you better overcome the hurdles of chronic pain.
Find a Relaxation Technique
Pain is the body protecting itself, essentially the “fight or flight” response. Ongoing pain, however, can be stressful on the body so engaging in relaxing activities can help mitigate some of the stress. Some things you can try are yoga, deep breathing, massages and stretching.
Knowing your limits can prevent your pain from escalating. When you have chronic pain, you should pay attention to your body when it’s telling you something is too much. When you feel good, do what you can do, but keep in mind that you may feel the effects the next day if you overdo it. Break out your tasks over periods of time and remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Appreciate what you can accomplish rather than dwelling on what you can’t.
Start Small with Your Goals
Setting goals for yourself can help you recognize your achievements and make you feel good about your progress despite combatting pain. One of the main problems with chronic pain management is a patient feeling like they are not in control of their lives once pain takes over. This way, you can plan to work around heavier bouts of pain and maneuvering daily activities the best you can.
Engage in Physical Activity
Physical activity is important when you’re battling pain. It’s one of the most effective tools in chronic pain management, although it sounds difficult to do. Regular exercise keeps your joints flexible and the muscles around your joints strong. The important thing is to do low-impact exercises to avoid exacerbating your pain level. These include swimming, walking and strength training. Also, make sure to warm up and cool down, and start slow and add on repetitions over time. And don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout your workout!
Stay Busy with Hobbies
Distraction won’t relieve pain, but it can cause it to be less of a focus. When you’re thinking about something else, you won’t be thinking about your pain as much. Make sure your hobbies don’t cause your pain to flare up. Like exercise, make sure they are low impact; some good ones to try are knitting, crossword puzzles, playing board games, gardening and golf.
Try Alternative Medicine
Some alternative techniques to traditional medicine can have positive effects. Acupuncture, massage and chiropractic treatments have been found to help in treating pain. Studies have shown that chiropractic care can benefit patients suffering from fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches and musculoskeletal pain.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Food can be very powerful in helping you combat pain. Certain foods can help you reduce inflammation to ease pain, so consider switching up your diet. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as tuna and salmon can help those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, while fruits contain carotenoids, which help fight inflammation at a cellular level. Try adding in some leafy green vegetables and yellow, orange and red fruits and veggies to your next meal.
Journal About Your Feelings
Writing out your feelings can help you cope with pain. Getting them out can release negative feelings, and re-reading your thoughts can help you better understand what you can do to make life easier moving forward. Re-reading your thoughts over time can show you the progress you’ve made and remind you of the good things you have. It can give your life meaning and help you focus on the positives.
If you’re struggling with chronic pain management, our Pain Management Center is equipped to help you improve your quality of life. Stop noticing pain and notice life — contact us today to schedule an appointment.