Living with Chronic Pain
5 Coping Techniques to Help Reduce Chronic Pain
Because the nature of chronic pain is so complex and every individual experiences pain differently, coping techniques are often part of a multidisciplinary approach to managing chronic pain. Coping techniques aim to reduce pain and manage the emotions often associated with chronic pain.
1. Stress management
Chronic pain often increases stress; therefore, it is important to learn how to deal with stress in a healthy way in order to cope with chronic pain more efficiently and effectively. To reduce stress levels, individuals should get plenty of sleep, engage in approved exercise, such as walking, and engage in positive thinking.
2. Positive thinking
Using positive affirmations can be a powerful way to decrease stress and reduce pain. The way an individual feels can be heavily influenced by the way they think. Pain levels often respond to positive affirmations, such as “I am stronger than my pain” or “I am uncomfortable, but I know how to deal with it.” When the mind focuses on positive thoughts, pain levels often decrease. Individuals with chronic pain should remind themselves that they have the power to manage their pain.
3. Distraction techniques
Becoming engaged and active in social activities provides distraction from pain; it also prevents isolation, which often increases the perception of pain. It sounds simple, but distraction is a powerful pain-reduction technique. Connecting with family and friends and participating in enjoyable activities (as much as physically possible) is good for the soul.
4. Support groups
Individuals with chronic pain often feel misunderstood or judged by others who simply do not understand their condition. Finding a support group and connecting with other individuals with chronic pain is invaluable. Talking with others who also live with chronic pain helps individuals feel less alone. Support groups are often available locally (hospitals, pain clinics and physical therapy centers often have information about local support groups); numerous support groups are also available online.
5. Professional help
If chronic pain becomes overwhelming, it is often beneficial to seek the expertise of a mental health professional. Talking about the physical and psychological aspects of chronic pain with a professional can help individuals learn valuable, individualized coping strategies.