Living with Chronic Pain
How to Help People Manage Chronic Pain
Many believe have concerns that exercising can worsen symptoms and cause more pain, but it’s not true! Gradually, start gentle exercises such as walking, swimming, or water aerobics to help manage your chronic pain symptoms. Exercising can increase flexibility, reduce pain levels, improve physical function, weight control, improve cardiovascular fitness, fight fatigue, and improve mood. Attend an exercise class or set aside 15 minutes every day to get started with a new exercise goal.
Eat a well-balanced diet
A well-balanced healthy diet consists of omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, beans, plant based protein, and anti-inflammatory spices. Anti-inflammatory foods may help reduce inflammation. Consider sharing these positive healthy tips with a friend who may be suffering from chronic pain. Even better, consider creating shared goals on healthy eating to help your friend or loved one restore their health.
Be active and get rest
Listen to your loved one when they need to slow down and get some rest. At times, you might need to remind them to relax. Prolonged overuse of the affected area can exacerbate symptoms so they may need to pace themselves to avoid undesired flare-ups.
Extend a helping hand
If you know someone struggling with daily activities and depression as a result of their chronic pain, consider doing small things to help. You can help twist open bottles, write letters, type, dry hair, or help buy self-help devices. You should go over and help with house duties, drop off a meal, buy groceries, or even offer a ride to be the best companion possible to the individual in need of support.
Emphasize the importance of relaxation
Recommending the practice of relaxation techniques allows them to gain control of their stress. There are relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, music, and many other options that may work better for your friend or loved one. Massage can relieve tense muscles and reduce stress as well.
Find support to avoid isolation
Provide support and learn about their pain by reading literature, watching videos, or speaking to a professional. Talking to others with a similar condition so you can better relate and provide help is very helpful. Advise your friend to contact a mental health professional, counselor, family member, friend, or to join social groups. Chronic pain is not something to be ashamed of. It is important for your friend or loved one to not feel isolated or alone.
Your loved ones should distract themselves so they are not focusing on their pain. Get them started on new hobbies such as gardening, sewing, knitting, painting, reading, helping with kids, dancing, or anything that makes them happy. Pain should not prevent them from enjoying activities or socializing.