Pain affects more than just your body; it can even hinder you from engaging in activities you enjoy and generate anxiety and sadness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic pain affects over 20.9% of US citizens. However, your lifestyle and food choices have a big impact on pain management and your overall health. So with that said, here are some tips to help you deal with chronic pain more effectively.
- Exercise on a regular basis
It is natural to believe that your pain prohibits you from being active, but you could be surprised. Physical activity can be useful, provided it is not too strenuous, prolonged, or excessive. Exercise that strengthens your body muscles can help prevent pain, so feel free to consider this. It can also aid you in losing weight, lowering your risk of heart disease, promoting posture correction, and regulating your blood sugar levels, which is necessary if you have diabetes. It has the added benefit of increasing endorphin levels- these are substances in your brain that help you feel better by blocking pain signals. Do not be afraid to put yourself through some physical challenges. If you have a specific health problem, such as diabetic neuropathy, you must use extreme caution. Consult your doctor about the best workout routine for you.
- Learn deep breathing or meditation to help you relax
This may be obvious, but deep breathing and meditation are relaxation techniques that can help relieve pain. When muscles receive gentle reminders to relax, tension and stiffness drain away. There are many different meditation techniques, but the calming effect of repetition is at the heart of most of them. By focusing on the breath, letting go of fleeting thoughts, and repeating a word or phrase, known as a mantra, the body can relax. Although you can learn to meditate on your own, taking a class can be helpful.
To practice deep breathing, you can find a quiet and comfortable spot, close your eyes to avoid distracting thoughts, and visualize a spot right beneath your navel. As you inhale, allow your belly to expand and feel it fill up slowly with air. Then, exhale the air as if you were deflating a balloon. This technique can help you feel more relaxed and alleviate any discomfort you may be experiencing.
- Join a support group
When you meet other people who are suffering from chronic pain, you feel less alone because you get to be around those who understand what you are going through. You also benefit from their knowledge and understanding of pain management. Consider speaking with a mental health doctor as well. Anyone who suffers from persistent pain can develop depression. Counseling can help you learn to manage better and prevent negative ideas that exacerbate discomfort, allowing you to maintain a healthy mindset. Asking for help demonstrates strength, not weakness.
- Keep track of your pain level and activities
Your doctor needs to know how you have been feeling in between appointments in order to treat your pain properly. Keeping a daily “pain sore” record or notebook will assist you in tracking your condition. At the end of each day, rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10. Make a note of what you accomplished that day as well. Bring this log book to every doctor’s appointment to help your doctor understand how you are dealing with chronic pain and your degree of physical functioning.