People with chronic pain know how utterly it can disrupt one’s life and daily activities. As a vicious cycle of constant discomfort and sudden flare-ups, it is enough to leave you overwhelmed and defeated.
When you’re in excruciating pain, you may want to try anything that provides instant relief. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best idea.
7 Pain Management Mistakes to Avoid
It’s surprisingly common for chronic pain patients to make serious mistakes with their pain management plan. Not only are these blunders ineffective, but they can also impact your overall well-being down the line. Let’s explore a few of them in detail.
1. Holding onto Stress
Do you feel your chest tightening up during moments of extreme duress?
That’s stress elevating your heart rate. Besides making it difficult for you to breathe, anxiety-induced stress can tense your muscles and intensify chronic pain. Stress can also increase cortisone levels in the body, leading to more inflammation.
The good news is that you don’t have to live with your stress. Several activities can help you feel calmer, such as:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Learning a new skill
- Listening to soothing music
Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The goal is to engage in tasks that can keep you stress-free.
2. Not Being Careful with Pain Medication
Painkillers are undoubtedly one of the more popular ways to manage chronic pain. But they need to be taken with caution. Here are some pain medication do’s and don’ts you should remember.
- Many patients want to chase their painkillers with more pain medication, only to discover they are no longer as effective, even in higher doses. It’s best to stick to the amount prescribed by your pain management specialist.
- Painkillers will help you only so much. You must supplement them with other active self-care techniques for optimal results.
- Using painkillers to do more or get through certain things is a strict no-no. Learn to pace yourself and your activities by coming to terms with your condition.
- Don’t take pain medicines at random. Always follow the schedule provided by your pain management specialist.
Fill your prescription at regular intervals. Don’t wait for holidays and weekends to stock up on your pain meds.
3. Not Getting Proper Help
Even though chronic pain can seem like a lonely battle at times, there’s ample help available. Seasoned pain management specialists can effectively diagnose your condition and devise a customized treatment plan to ease your discomfort.
You’re probably wondering what a pain management specialist brings to the table that a primary care doctor doesn’t. The answer is, a lot. These specialists have extensive knowledge of modern pain management, including non-invasive procedures.
Plus, they are trained to:
- Perform procedures such as spinal injections and nerve blocks
- Offer additional care, such as psychological or physical therapy
- Conduct specialized tests to identify the source of the pain
- Prescribe and manage medications appropriately
As an established pain management clinic in Utah, Peak Health and Wellness believes in using minimally invasive and innovative techniques to reduce your suffering. Our medical personnel will go the distance to create a customized treatment plan suited to your unique needs. We can help you feel better, no questions asked.
4. Not Exercising Enough
Most patients opt for a sedentary lifestyle when they are in agonizing pain. However, this can do more harm than good. While you shouldn’t push your body to breaking point, staying still for too long can worsen chronic pain.
Exercise can help alleviate chronic pain by strengthening your muscles, reducing pressure on bones/joints, and boosting the body’s endorphin levels. Simply put, it is known to have a profound positive impact on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
A word of advice. Not all types of exercises are suited to people with chronic pain. Ideally, you should start with non-weighted moves to avoid overexerting your joints. Also, consider adding low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming, to your routine. And, if you want to get into strength training, make sure you discuss it with your pain management specialist first.
5. Eating a Poor Diet
Sure, junk food tastes great. But over-indulging in it leaves your body without enough nutrients. What’s more, a diet high in calories and saturated fats may intensify chronic pain.
On the other hand, a nutrient-rich diet packed with proteins, vitamins, and omega-3 acids can strengthen your immune system, support tissue health, and minimize inflammation. So, be sure to eat well and drink plenty of water when you’re on pain meds.
Smoking isn’t just unhealthy: it can be detrimental to chronic pain patients.
You’ve probably seen plenty of disclaimers highlighting the dangers of smoking. What most people don’t know is that it also prevents your body from circulating nutrients to your spine. Additionally, the nicotine in cigarettes can age your spine quicker, leaving you more susceptible to chronic pain.
7. Abusing Alcohol and Drugs
Unfortunately, chronic pain and addiction often co-occur. The stress from decreased mobility can lead you down a dark road of alcohol and drug abuse. Furthermore, typical opioid painkillers are incredibly addictive- and even deadly. Just look back on the recent opioid crisis in America, and you’ll know what we mean.
Alcohol and narcotics will not erase your pain. If anything, they serve as gateways to bigger health issues in the future. For example, excessive drinking is linked to an increased risk of heart and lung disease, among other concerns.
Your pain management specialist will likely warn you against relying too heavily on alcohol and opioids. In case you find yourself struggling with addiction, do not hesitate to reach out to a treatment facility near you. The sooner you get help, the better.
The Bottom Line
There’s no magic cure for chronic pain, especially if it is untraceable. It’s up to you to unlearn old habits and take the correct steps to relieve your discomfort. Hopefully, this post has given you some insight into a few pain management pitfalls you should sidestep to live a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life.
At Peak Health & Wellness, we provide patients with customized pain relief options, including non-surgical routes and careful medication management. Our pain management specialists are skilled, compassionate, and dedicated to improving the quality of your life. For more information, feel free to reach out to us today!