Living with Chronic Pain
6 Steps for Coping with Chronic Pain
There are six primary steps for successfully dealing with chronic pain.
1. Pinpoint the cause of the pain
The first step in reducing pain is to pinpoint the exact cause of pain. Chronic pain might be due to a disease or injury, such as shingles, arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other conditions that affect nerves. Even if the pain is not constant, it is worth seeking treatment if it affects daily life to some extent. Once the cause of the pain has been identified, an individual can locate a specialist in the appropriate field.
2. Actively seek solutions
Pain often intensifies when left alone. To combat the progression of pain, be sure you are actively making attempts to find solutions. Be sure to limit alcohol intake, find healthy ways to reduce stress, eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking, and maintain a healthy weight.
3. Build a strong support network
According to the American Pain Foundation, more than 50 million people experience chronic pain to some extent. The Arthritis Society states there are around 66 million individuals in the United States that deal with arthritis pain. Because of these high numbers, it is also possible to find a support group who understands and can relate to your pain. Look online for local support groups or check with your community center or church.
4. Seek relief with exercise
Many individuals with chronic pain avoid exercise as they fear it may cause additional pain, but the exact opposite is true. Exercise has been shown to decrease pain and improve strength and flexibility. Exercise also releases endorphins into the body, which are “feel good” hormones that naturally relieve pain. Get clearance from your doctor and start slow by walking around the block three times a week.
5. Utilize non-medicinal methods to ease pain
Alternative methods for treating pain may provide relief, especially if conventional medicine attempts have been unsuccessful. Try incorporating heat or ice therapy, relaxation training, yoga, biofeedback, or acupuncture into your chronic pain treatment regimen.
6. Focus on sleep
The best time for the body to repair itself is while you sleep. Resting also helps promote relaxation and stress relief, which may naturally reduce pain. Turn the TV and other electronics off two hours before heading to bed to ensure a better quality sleep. You should wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take the steps needed to nip pain in the bud.