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How to Manage Chronic Pain

The Complete Herbal Guide / Everyday Solutions  / How to Manage Chronic Pain
chronic pain

How to Manage Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as pain that constantly lasts, for 12 weeks or more. Whereas acute pain often has a definite cause and can be dealt with instantly, chronic pain is much more difficult to cure because a diagnosis can be hard to pin down. It can mean that sufferers have to live with their pain for many months, perhaps even years, before it can be reduced or eliminated, if this can happen at all.

When this is the case, that pain will need managing if the sufferer is to lead any kind of normal life. Here are some ways that you can treat chronic pain to allow the person who is suffering from it the best chance of living if not comfortably then at least reasonably.

Meditation And Relaxation

meditation

Learning how to meditate and how to incorporate deep breathing techniques into everyday life can help with chronic pain. This is because it allows the body to relax, and in some cases, doing this can reduce the pain. A tense body with tight muscles will often feel pain more acutely, so when you are relaxed, the pain can feel less.

There are many different ways to meditate, so it is important to find the one that suits you best, and often the only way to do this is through trial and error. There are some common techniques, however, that it would benefit everyone, not only those suffering from pain but those who want to relax more in general as well to learn. One of these is deep breathing; find a quiet location where you can sit or lie in a comfortable position and imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe in, keeping that spot in mind so that it expands. Then breathe out again slowly and carefully. You can also clear your mind of thoughts and chant a mantra, either out loud or in your head.

Reduce Stress

meditation

Meditation will help to ease the worries and stresses that you feel, but if you can stay away from those stresses and stressors in the first place, then that is even better. Being stressed and anxious can increase your body’s sensitivity to pain, making everything feel much worse. If you can control what is stressing you, you may find some relief from the chronic pain.

There are numerous ways to go about this. One is to listen to music that soothes you and lifts your mood. Not only will the music make you feel better but it will stop you from concentrating on the pain, and when you’re not thinking about it, you will find that it hurts less. Why not make a special playlist for when you are feeling in pain? This routine combined with the music you love will aid in managing the pain.

Mental imagery relaxation, or guided imagery as it is also called, can also help. It is a form of escapism that can make you feel utterly at peace and take you away from the real world where you are in pain.

Exercise

Exercise Regularly

Not everyone who suffers from chronic pain will be able to exercise, but if you can, you absolutely should because doing so will make you feel a lot better. When you exercise, your body releases brain chemicals known as endorphins. These chemicals improve your mood and make you happier, and they also help to block pain signals.

Exercise also makes your muscles stronger, and that means you are less likely to have an injury and cause yourself more pain. On top of this, exercise can help to keep you at a healthy weight, control your blood sugar levels, reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and help to stave off depression. Therefore, exercising is a good idea whether you suffer from chronic pain or not.

Talk About It

If you can find a support group full of people who are going through the same thing you are, whether that group is a physical one that you travel to each week or regularly, or whether it’s online, that can help immensely when it comes to managing your pain. You will feel less alone, knowing that other people are going through exactly what you are, and you can ask them questions and get health tips from them about how they cope. You can also give tips yourself which will make you feel good for helping others.

It might also be a good idea to speak to a mental health professional, especially if you are experiencing the signs of depression as well as chronic pain. In fact, depression is one of the many side effects that chronic pain can bring, and dealing with this by looking into TMS therapy or other methods of reducing depression first can help. Remember that when you ask for help, it is not a sign of weakness. If it is going to make you better and give you a better quality of life, then it is essential.

Stop Smoking

quit smoking

Smoking is a bad idea for many reasons; it can cause cancer, heart disease, make you more prone to strokes and high blood pressure and causes you lung and breathing problems too. It can also worsen chronic pain because it affects your circulation. Without the right amount of blood and oxygen traveling through your body, your pain receptors can be heightened, and you will feel much worse.

Get A Massage

massage

Massage is another useful way of managing chronic pain. Getting a massage from a professional will loosen your muscles and reduce tension throughout your body which, as we have noted above, can help make your pain feel much less. As a bonus, massage can also reduce the pain itself, particularly in problem areas such as the neck, back, hips and legs. It is a short-term solution, but for those suffering from chronic pain short term, it is a lot better than nothing.

Eat Well

healthy food

A well balanced, healthy diet is beneficial in a number of ways regarding your health, including managing chronic pain. When your body is healthier, it is better able to deal with the pain it is going through, and you will feel it less. Try to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and whole grain bread and cereals if possible.

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Maggie Hammond

maggiehammond57@gmail.com

Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organizations.