Minimize Daily Discomfort: 4 Strategies For Living With Chronic Pain
If you’re living with chronic pain, it is important to know that you’re not alone. According to the Institute of Medicine, 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. While pain is difficult to cure depending upon the cause, there are things you can do to manage and minimize your pain.
It can be difficult to exercise when you’re in pain. If you can manage it, however, getting some exercise will release endorphins in your brain. These hormones are the body’s own natural pain relievers and they are quite effective. Exercise also strengthens your muscles to help reduce the likelihood of further injury and future pain. When exercising to reduce pain, stick to low impact options such as walking, swimming or yoga. Be sure to pace yourself, too. Overdoing it one day can require several days of recovery during which you won’t be able to exercise.
A healthy diet is important for managing chronic pain. Your body needs the right balance of nutrients to heal itself and function at its best. It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water while limiting coffee, tea and soda. What you don’t consume is as important as what you do when battling pain. Avoid alcohol, as it can disrupt your sleep and may interfere with pain medications you are taking. Smoking, too, reduces your body’s natural ability to fight pain.
Stress wreaks havoc on the body, often by causing muscle tension and spasms. Tense muscles aggravate pain throughout the body and may cause additional discomfort, such as headaches. Do what you can to minimize the stress in your life. When you do encounter unavoidable stress, try using meditation, deep breathing exercises or similar techniques to calm yourself and release tension. Your doctor or a psychiatrist can teach you stress relaxation techniques to help reduce your pain.
People are different, and so is their pain and the way they experience it. As a result, one-size-fits-all approaches to chronic pain often fail. Instead, consult a pain management specialist who can personalize a plan for combating your pain. These professionals will work with you to learn what eases your pain. Many pain specialists offer apothecary services, like those at Potter’s House Apothecary, where they mix medications specifically for you, to provide a much wider array of medication options and dosages. Pain specialists work with your doctor, so you never have to worry that one treatment or medication will interfere with another.
When dealing with chronic pain, it is crucial that you manage the pain rather than letting it manage you. Try to stay positive, keep moving, eat well and keep trying until you find a management plan that works for you. Help is available and with it you can greatly increase the number of good days you have and enjoy your favorite activities again.