Living with chronic pain can have a devastating impact on your quality of life, as well as your relationships, work and social life. Whatever the cause of your pain, there are ways to reduce its intensity and minimize the negative impact it has on your life.
Get a Full Diagnosis
Before using self-help and complementary treatments for your pain, it’s important to get a full diagnosis from your doctor or specialist. Depending on the cause of your pain, you may need tests to identify underlying disease. You may also need medication, physical therapy, surgery or other treatment that can only be provided by a medical professional.
Support can come in many different forms. Some people find comfort from their family and friends, while others prefer to seek outside help from support groups and organizations that help people with specific health problems. Depending on your disease or condition, there may be health professionals, organizations, support groups or online communities where you can learn about your condition and find support.
Learn to Relax
Physical tension makes pain worse and can even cause additional problems, such as muscle strain, joint pain and muscle spasms. Learning to relax your body and let go of tension can make a huge difference to your pain levels, helping to reduce the intensity and frequency of your pain. Regular relaxation also improves your general well-being and promotes good mental health.
Mindfulness is the practice of paying deliberate attention to the present moment. Research has found that it can help many people to manage their pain and other symptoms. One way that mindfulness can help is by enabling you to fully experience your pain. Although it may seem counterintuitive, allowing yourself to feel the full intensity of your pain can be a freeing experience and often makes the sensations easier to manage. It’s usually best to learn mindfulness with the aid of a teacher or as part of a group.
Take Care of Your Health
Taking care of your general health is extremely important when you’re living with a chronic health condition, as constant pain can be exhausting and takes its toll on both your physical and mental health. Eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise is a crucial part of managing your energy levels. If pain or mobility problems make it difficult to walk or exercise properly, you can try chair exercises, physiotherapy or simple movement exercises, such as repeatedly raising your legs and arms.
Experiment with Complementary Therapies
There is a wide range of complementary therapies available to help treat and manage pain conditions. However, the results can vary greatly from one person to another, as everyone reacts differently to complementary treatments. Some people find great relief from acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), homeopathy, herbalism and other holistic therapies, while others find nutritional supplements, CBD oil, massage therapy or electrical stimulation machines more useful. The key is to experiment with a range of treatments to find the best options to suit your situation.
Living with chronic pain is never easy, but there are ways to reduce its impact on your life. Getting a full diagnosis, finding support, learning to relax, practicing mindfulness, taking care of your health and experimenting with complementary therapies will all help you to manage chronic pain.