Pain Management Techniques: How to Live with Chronic Pain

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Living with chronic pain is a daily struggle. It not only impacts every aspect of your life, but also drains you physically, mentally, and emotionally. In fact, adults with chronic pain are more susceptible to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. 

You might think living well with chronic pain is impossible. After all, you never know how you’ll feel in the morning, none of the medications seem to work 100%, and you don’t know how to answer things like, “Hope you feel better soon!”  

But what if we told you there is a way for you to thrive despite chronic pain? Well, it’s possible! 

Thriving with chronic pain isn’t just about managing the symptoms, it’s also about finding ways to live a happy, fulfilled life regardless of it. The process isn’t easy, but possible. 

How, you ask? Let’s find out together! 

8 Ways to Manage Chronic Pain

Your lifestyle has a massive impact on how you feel inside out. Here are some changes you can adopt to make a difference in your pain levels and how you manage them.

1. Stay Active

While you might like nothing more than resting when you’re in pain, lying in bed for long periods can make matters worse. The lack of activity can make you stiff, weaken your muscles and bones, adversely affect your mental health, and ruin your sleep cycle. Plus, it’s hard to get moving again. 

A better pain relief treatment would be to stay active and exercise regularly. You can consult with a pain management specialist to decide what exercise works best for you, whether it’s walking, swimming, dancing, yoga, or Pilates. 

Also, it’s crucial to go to work even when you’re in pain. Being at work can distract you and prevent the pain from worsening. Try going back to work gradually, starting with once a week and building up from there.

2. Use the Right Medication

Chances are you won’t find the right medication for your chronic pain at the get-go. And while it can be frustrating to try new prescriptions, sampling various painkillers ultimately leads to better pain control. 

Here’s the catch. You may be worried about taking medication and dealing with its side effects. Plus, painkiller addiction is a looming issue and a potent cause for concern. 

Although most pain medications are safe and effective when taken correctly, you should mention any addiction concerns to your pain management specialists. They can help you weigh the pros and cons of each drug and explain the risks associated with taking them.

3. Reduce Stress

Studies show that stress intensifies chronic pain. Negative feelings like depression, anxiety, and anger can increase the body’s sensitivity to pain. The best way to combat this is by learning to take control of your stress levels. Several pain management techniques can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Listen to soothing, calming music to lift your mood and keep your pain in check. You can also try mental imagery relaxation (or guided imagery), a form of mental escape designed to help people feel peaceful.

4. Work on Coping Skills

Like most people, you may also see living with chronic pain as a grim reality. However, these are usually worst-case scenarios. Several people continue to live healthy, fulfilling lives despite their chronic pain. And this is thanks to their coping mechanisms. 

For example, try keeping a pain journal to talk about your pain, especially if you aren’t comfortable sharing those feelings with another person. Or you can seek out peers who’re going through the same thing as you, such as a support group. 

These pain relief treatments can help you cope with the debilitating effects of chronic pain. The more you learn to cope, the better equipped you will be to take on daily challenges head-on. 

5. Choose Physical Therapy

Most pain management specialists recommend a short course of physical therapy for chronic pain. It helps you move better, relieves pain, and makes daily tasks like walking, climbing stairs, and getting in/out of bed easier. 

Physiotherapists can advise you on the right type of exercise and activity. On the other hand, occupational therapists can support you with environmental changes that help you remain at work and function better at home. Physical therapy usually needs a few weeks to take effect, so remember to be patient!

6. Get Help

Don’t try to deal with everything yourself. It doesn’t hurt to get a little help now and then, especially on your toughest days. 

Bring other people on board and delegate tasks to them. Ask your neighbor to pick something from the store for you, ask your parents to watch the kids, or ask the children to help with the housework. Set some time aside to rest or complete minor chores that won’t worsen your pain. 

7. Eat Healthily

Everyone needs a balanced diet: but it’s a must for people dealing with chronic pain. It aids your digestive process, reduces the risk of heart disease, keeps your weight in check, and improves blood sugar levels. Choose from a wide variety of lean meats, cooked beans/peas, whole-grain cereals, low-fat cheese, milk, yogurt, and fresh fruits/vegetables.

8. Focus on the Positives

Positive thinking is a powerful pain management technique. By focusing on the improvements you are making (a reduction in pain, for instance), you can make a difference in your perceived comfort levels.  

Instead of seeing yourself as powerless and thinking that you cannot deal with the pain, remind yourself that you’re successfully working towards a productive life. Think about all the changes you have made over the years, and how they have helped you. Remember, you’re stronger than your pain – don’t let it define you!

The Bottom Line

Chronic pain affects more than just your body. It can prevent you from doing the things you enjoy, affecting your mental health. But the good news is, it does not have to be this way. Use the chronic pain management techniques outlined in this post to manage your chronic pain and live your best life! When you’re dealing with chronic pain, working with a certified pain management specialist is a must. Peak Health and Wellness offers a comprehensive range of pain relief and management techniques, including minimally invasive procedures for back, neck, and joint pain. Our compassionate and customized approach to patient care sets us apart. Contact us today for more information!