Some have come to the conclusion that pain is simply a part of life. In fact, many of us live with some type of every day.
At least 50 million American adults live with chronic pain. That’s about one in five of all Americans. About another 20 million people live with “high-impact” chronic pain, meaning the pain limits the activities they can do.
Despite what the stoics say, you don’t have to ignore it. In reality, there are numerous things you can try to help manage chronic pain. Read ahead for 10 chronic pain management tips.
- Talk to a Doctor
If we’re being honest, who can say that they always go to the doctor every time they feel pain? We think the line would be going out the door at the office. It’s just not practical.
However, it’s important to see a doctor for pain that is severe, persistent, or both. Sometimes, our back hurts because we slept the wrong way but it could be a medical issue.
Some people try to ignore their pain for years only to finally see a doctor. There may or may not be an easy fix but either way, a doctor can help you learn how to manage chronic pain.
- By The Books
Physicians practice what they call evidence-based medicine. Aside from diagnosing diseases, they make recommendations using data from extensive clinical trials.
Your chronic pain might be due to a medical condition. Taking the correct treatment for that condition may help your pain.
Your physician can help you decide if pain medication is right for you. Finally, ask your doctor about the many benefits of physiotherapy.
- Know Your Body
It’s important to have an intimate relationship with your body. After all, it’s the only one you have.
Part of this means recognizing when something isn’t right. Learn how to read the message your body is giving you.
When living with pain, it can be easy to get frustrated with your body. Try not to take it for granted. One way to appreciate it is to learn about how it works.
- Eating Right
We have to be good to our bodies. It’s tempting to eat snacks and junk food but the pleasure rush doesn’t last. What we’re left with is sugar, salt, more weight for our achy joints to bear, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
All of these factors can indirectly lead to worsening pain.
There is no magic diet for pain. However, any healthy, well-balanced diet with a low-sodium content is preferable
It seems strange to recommend to someone in pain that they get up and move. In fact, many people with chronic pain have limited mobility, making exercise all the more difficult.
However, a reasonable amount of exercise is essential to our health. There can be benefits for people with chronic pain, as well.
Putting your body in motion improves circulation and causes a release in endorphins. These neurotransmitters naturally relieve pain and give you an overall sense of wellbeing.
- But Don’t Overdo It
Many people with pain have some days that are better than others. Maybe the weather is just perfect or the music is hitting just right. But for some reason today feels like the day to stick it to chronic pain and go for that jog.
It feels good to finally get out of the house but you don’t want to overdo it. Going overboard with the exercise when we’re not accustomed can lead to bad soreness and injury.
It is counterproductive to get so sore in one day that you can’t move for another five. And, of course, always use caution and don’t try any exercise not approved by your doctor.
- Cut Back on Bad Habits
Millions of Americans suffer from tobacco addiction. Alcoholism is frequent as ever.
People with chronic pain might look to these things for relief. However, it will likely only worsen the situation. Both can affect sleep and worsen medical conditions that lead to pain.
Opioid medications and sleeping pills have specific medical indications. Abusing them can lead to addiction, health problems, and worsening pain.
- Mindful Meditation
The power of the human brain should never be underestimated. In fact, our whole perception of the world, including our pain, takes place in our brains and nervous systems.
Increased stress heightens the sensation of pain. Anything we can do to lower stress is good for chronic pain.
Learning meditation can help you manage chronic pain. Tips for meditation include finding a quiet place, working on breathing, and clearing your mind.
- Sleeping On It
Getting a good night’s sleep makes being healthy and happy a whole lot easier. Being well-rested can even help with pain levels.
Sometimes, the pain makes sleeping difficult, which leads to a vicious cycle.
However, if you manage to treat the pain and sleep better (or vice versa), you could notice an improvement to energy, mood, and pain levels.
- Strength Through Support
A lot of people have trouble talking about negative feelings. Opening up with a doctor, a stranger, or even a friend about pain can be a daunting task.
However, it’s important to know you aren’t alone. Social isolation will only make matters worse.
We recommend finding a support group that consists of people going through similar things. You can learn from their stories and find peace of mind. You might even have something to say that someone needs to hear.
- Learning to Accept
Unfortunately, sometimes the pain doesn’t get better. For some people, it may even get worse. It’s one thing to talk about chronic pain. It’s completely another to actually live with it.
However, many people going through it have spoken about the importance of accepting pain for what it is.
As strange as it sounds, sometimes just understanding the solution and knowing what to expect makes it possible to stay strong. Attitude is of utmost importance.
Learn How to Manage Chronic Pain
The chronicle of pain is a story we could do without. However, for tens of millions of people, it’s the reality.
Although we are far away from a pain-free world, there are things you can do to manage chronic pain and live a better life.
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