Chronic pain, pain that exceeds 12 weeks, can occur in any part of your body. Living with chronic pain impacts your physical, mental and emotional well-being. These seven suggestions, coupled with proper medical management, have been proven to help manage chronic pain.
1. Coping skills
Chronic pain is a real condition that affects people at work, at home and even while sleeping. Developing the ability to live the best life possible, while working through the pain, will lead to a healthier body and mind.
Exercise, done correctly and under the direction of a professional, is an excellent tool for managing chronic pain. Proper training can strengthen your joints and prevent muscles from atrophying. The lack of physical activity can cause additional physical troubles, compounding the pain you already feel.
Think outside the box when planning your exercise routine. It is not always necessary to go to a gym. If approved by your medical provider, take a brisk walk every day or transform a room in your house into your exercise area. The key is to keep moving.
3. Proper medication
Medication is an essential part of a chronic pain management program. It may be necessary to try different drugs before finding just the right one or combination.
Speak with your medical professional about any concerns you may have about side effects, addiction, or how long to take medicine. These are valid concerns, and your doctor will help you find a healthy balance between medication and good quality of life. Never stop taking a medicine without consulting a doctor first, as that could result in additional, avoidable problems.
The most common medications used to treat chronic pain are over-the-counter NSAIDs and Tylenol, topical painkillers, and opioids. Each type of medicine can have safety issues, so discuss these with your doctor.
4. Alternative medicine
Alternative medicine is a useful supplement to your chronic pain management plan. Alternative treatments commonly used for chronic pain include:
· Massage therapy
Insurance often covers the cost of alternative medicine. Consult with your medical professional to determine what is best for you. As with all types of medical treatment, some providers are better than others, so it is beneficial to obtain a recommendation or two.
Chronic pain often causes stress, which results in tense muscles. Learning how to relax your body will help relieve the tension and, in some cases, may even eliminate the need for medication.
Yoga, tai chi, and qi gong are effective techniques for pain management and relaxation. Tai chi and qi gong feature more dynamic movements, while yoga is a more static approach. All three practices serve a dual purpose: they boost relaxation and provide a level of exercise. Other useful approaches for increasing relaxation are meditation and guided imagery.
6. Accept help
As we said before, chronic pain is a real thing that you should not have to manage yourself. Besides seeking professional advice, accept assistance from friends and family on days when you just are not feeling well.
Search for chronic pain support groups in your area. Many people suffer from chronic pain, and interacting with people who understand what you are going through is an essential part of your pain management program.
Traditional and alternative medical professionals are essential in managing your chronic pain. However, you can be your own best advocate by researching chronic pain, its causes, appropriate treatments, and effective medications. Share thoughts or concerns with care providers and become an active participant in your health care.
These suggestions do not provide a cure for your chronic pain, but they will play a robust role in bettering your physical, mental, and emotional health.