Chronic pain is any type of pain that lasts longer than 3-6 months. It is a serious problem that affects about 50 million Americans today. Reliance on opioids to solve this problem has led to the worst drug crisis in history with the number of opioid-related deaths more than quadrupling between the years between 1999 and 2017.
For people living with chronic pain, finding effective coping strategies are key to living a productive and meaningful life.
Here are a few tips to help you effectively manage chronic pain:
Meditation: Deep breathing exercises, yoga, or other similar meditation techniques can help calm the mind, relax the muscles, and soothe chronic pain.
Stress Reduction: Stressful situations can cause negative emotions that may lower your pain threshold exacerbating chronic pain symptoms. Try different stress-busting methods such as guided imagery, listening to soothing music or relaxation tapes to help reduce stress levels.
Exercise: Regular exercise will help strengthen the muscles, reduce stress on the joint, and cause the release endorphins (feel-good hormones produced by your brain) which elevate your mood and help you maintain a positive outlook on life.
Heat Therapy: Application of heat improves blood circulation and brings about relaxation of stiff muscles and joints which alleviates pain.
Cold Therapy: Icing a painful area may cause numbing of nerve endings which blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
Cut Back on Alcohol: People suffering with chronic pain have difficulty getting a good night’s rest. Drinking too much alcohol can worsen sleep problems which in turn may exacerbate your ability to cope with pain.
Massage Therapy: Deep tissue massage is a great way to treat back and neck pain and relieve stress.
Distract Yourself: Find an activity that you enjoy or a hobby that takes your mind off the pain. Not dwelling too much on the pain will prevent it from negatively impacting your life.
Eat Healthy: A well-balanced diet will help you get rid of excess weight, which can make a significant improvement in chronic joint pain symptoms. It also provides the nutrients needed for healing and regeneration of injured tissue.
Take Medications only Under Medical Supervision: As previously mentioned, over-the-counter medications or prescription medications are not the ideal treatment when dealing with chronic pain. However, if they are prescribed for your condition, stick to the recommended dosage and schedule as instructed by your doctor.
Effectively managing your chronic pain can be difficult, consult your doctor to discuss your options.
At North Central Surgical Center, our mission is to treat each and every one of our patients, and their families, as if they were our own family member. Each patient, each family, each and every time.