Living with chronic pain can take a severe toll, both physically and mentally, not only on those experiencing it, but on their friends and family as well. To raise awareness about what people suffering from chronic pain are going through and what can be done to alleviate their condition, the month of September has been declared “Pain Awareness Month” since the year 2001.
Here are 7 tips to help you manage chronic pain:
- Acceptance: For certain types of diseases or conditions, there may not be an immediate solution to take away the pain. In such instances, accepting the pain and learning all you can about what is causing it may be the first step in making positive changes that will improve your condition and outlook on life.
- Meditation: Any form of meditation that reduces anxiety and stress will be helpful in controlling your pain. For example, just being aware of your breathing is a simple, but effective meditation technique that allows your body to relax and may help reduce your pain.
- Exercise: Check with your doctor about an exercise routine that could be suitable for your condition and start slowly. In addition to improving your strength and stamina, exercising causes your brain to release endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.
- Eat Healthy: If you are suffering with chronic pain, eating a well-balanced diet will give your body the necessary nutrients to help fight off disease and heal damaged tissue.
- Avoid Smoking and Drinking: Smoking has a negative effect on the body’s ability to heal itself. Regarding drinking, getting enough sleep can be difficult when you are in constant pain and excessive alcohol intake just worsens your sleeping difficulty.
- Tracking Your Pain: Keep a journal and track your pain levels as well as your activities and the effect they have on your pain. This will give your doctor and yourself further insight into your condition. As the saying goes “Anything that is measured and watched, improves.”
- Join a Support Group: The isolation and fear you experience when dealing with chronic pain can be overwhelming at times. Meeting others who also have chronic pain will make you feel less alone. You may also benefit from the wisdom of their experience.
Living with chronic pain is a learning experience. As you try out these tips or coping skills, you may find that the pain is no longer the center of your life and you have moved on in pursuit of the things that bring you joy and happiness.