Without practical ways to fight chronic pain, many ill and injured people would be leading terribly miserable lives. From longterm sports injuries to medical diagnoses such as Fibromyalgia or Lyme disease, there are many reasons for pain that never seem to end. So if you’re in constant agony and in need of immediate relief, these 7 ways to fight chronic pain will have you living a healthier and happier life.
1. See the Right Doctor
Just because you’ve been seeing your current pain management specialist or orthopedic doctor for years doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is providing you with the right ways to fight chronic pain. Perhaps you should consider seeking out alternative medicine, physical therapy or consultation with a different doctor. Ask friends and relatives that you trust for suggestions and research online for local options. While finding a new doctor may not provide you with a miracle cure, a new doctor might mean new options to explore for pain relief.
2. Stay Reasonably Active
While it’s important not to over-exert yourself when your mind is sending your body those terrible pain signals, perpetually loafing on the couch won’t help. Doing low-impact exercises such as as stretching, beginner’s yoga or walks around the neighborhood will keep your joints from stiffening and your muscles from turning into mush. Consult your doctor for specific recommendations based on your physical ability and make your best effort to adhere to the regimen.
3. Don’t Abandon Your Hobbies
While you’re experiencing chronic bouts of pain, it’s easy to let your ailments get the best of you. But wearing your pajamas and parking yourself in front of the television isn’t living at all. At best, it’s merely surviving. If you can muster the strength and willpower to push past your pain long enough to enjoy some time with a beloved hobby, both your body and your mind will thank you for it. Whether its having a cup of hot tea with a good book at the local cafe, scrapbooking family memories or going to the movies with friends, take some time for the things you enjoy doing. Keeping up with a favorite hobby or pastime will force your mind to focus on a productive and pleasurable experience, not the pain.
4. Voice Your Concerns
If your chronic pain is affecting life outside of your own body, you may want to consider talking to someone about the problems you’re experiencing. If you feel that the pain is poorly affecting your social life, your work life or the time spent with your family members, talking about your problems could help. This is especially true for those suffering with the "invisible illnesses" of Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus and other chronic wide-spread pain disorders. People may not see or understand the pain you’re dealing with, but perhaps if you can vent a little, they’ll better understand how the pain affects your life. Perhaps coworkers, neighbors, friends and family members will be more accommodating to your needs. And knowing that there are people out there who are willing to help can really ease some of the anxieties surrounding the problem.
5. Think Positive
While discussing concerns with chronic pain can be beneficial when it comes to asking for help when needed, talking about the issue too much can also become problematic. Dwelling on the pain, the need for medication or physical therapy is mentally taxing and it can negatively affect your quality of life. Instead of focusing on constant concerns about your medical history, perhaps you can try remembering one simple motto: It could always be worse. Be thankful for the time when you feel slightly better. And at times when the pain is at its worst, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re strong enough to get through it.
6. Assess Your Diet
Regardless of your weight, dietary details are important to consider when struggling with chronic pain. Sugary, greasy or processed foods can upset your digestive system. But they can also disturb your sleep cycle, slow your metabolism and deprive your joints and muscles of the nutrient-rich foods they need to function properly. Try keeping a food journal to find which foods seem to slow you down and which foods have you feeling refreshed. But any doctor will tell you that calcium, protein, fresh fruits and vegetables should be part of your diet, especially if your body needs the nutrition to repair damage and treat pain.
7. Strive for a Stress-Free Existence
While the words "living" and "stress-free" don’t seem to belong in the same sentence, for those combating chronic pain, the connection between the two words is palpable. It’s a medically supported fact that stress negatively affects both mental and physical health. But for those suffering with chronic pain conditions and long-term injuries, stress only exacerbates the existing problem. And while completely eliminating stress is an impossibility, knowing how to properly handle the onset of anxiety is half the battle. Silent meditation, candle-lit bubble baths, deep breathing exercises — these are just a few general suggestions on how to regain some peace and quiet into your life. Stress is inevitable. But having a temporary reprieve from the rest of the world could give your brain the break it needs.
Living with chronic pain is no easy task. I myself have been suffering with Fibromyalgia for three years now. Sometimes it’s difficult to get out of bed in the morning because of the pain — let alone getting to work, exercising or reserving energy for my hobbies. But I try to remember that I only have one life. I have to try my best to make it count, despite the chronic pain. And these are the 7 ways I go about doing that. What ways do you fight chronic pain in your life?