Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting over three months, hurting more, and disrupting your daily activities. It can be physically and psychologically draining. It can also cause persistent discomfort, leading to anger and annoyance with yourself and your family.
Chronic pain has many causes, including physical and emotional stress, injuries, and illnesses. However, chronic pain is different for everyone, and there are ways to worsen it. These include anxiety, anger, depression, fear, isolation, under-exercising, and over-exercising.
Some medical treatments can help manage chronic pain. They include over-the-counter prescriptions, light therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, and surgery in severe cases. However, these options alone can’t solve the puzzle of chronic pain. The following ways can also go a long way toward helping you cope with chronic pain:
Physical activity has many benefits, including boosting mental health, building stronger bones and muscles, losing weight, and reducing disease risks. Moreover, regular exercise lowers the risk of chronic pain and helps manage existing pain. Exercise reduces chronic pain by reducing fatigue, building strength and flexibility, and reducing inflammation. Physical activity also promotes analgesic releases, such as serotonin and natural pain relievers, putting off pain signals. Finally, engaging in physical activities distracts you from pain by helping you focus on positive aspects of life.
However, when being active, choose exercises that won’t strain your body, as over-exercising can worsen your pain. Some good options are walking, biking, swimming, yoga, dancing, stretching, and Pilates. If you have difficulty choosing exercises that suit you, consider seeing a physiotherapist for help. The therapist will recommend stretching and pain-relieving exercises to help you move better and perform daily activities efficiently.
Stress and chronic pain are correlated. Persistent pain increases your stress levels, and increased stress can worsen your chronic pain. Therefore, healthily managing your stress makes you more likely to cope with chronic pain. Some healthy ways to manage stress are exercising, getting enough quality sleep, healthy eating, deep breathing, making time for hobbies, and listening to music. These habits will go a long way in managing your stress and pain.
Join A Support Group
Living with chronic pain is difficult, and a person who has never experienced it can’t understand the struggle. That’s why chronic pain support groups are essential. Joining a support group helps you meet people dealing with chronic pain. The groups are limitless, as they’re available in local communities and on online platforms.
There are many benefits of online support groups. For instance, you get a sense of belonging as you interact and connect with people with similar conditions. This connection can reduce stress caused by pain, thus improving your well-being. Also, through support groups, you learn how to relieve and manage pain from others who have walked the same path. Finally, support groups help you get a better perspective on your situation. Many people with chronic pain are often overwhelmed with negative thoughts, leading to drug use and mental health issues. Fortunately, you meet people with worse conditions by joining support groups, making you appreciate your situation.
Drug therapy entails using medications to deal with chronic pain. There is a wide range of drugs, and each works differently. Some of the medicines include;
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants such as amitriptyline can help cope with chronic pain. The effects of the drug are noticeable after two to three weeks. However, it has side effects, such as dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, and headaches.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These are medications that relieve pain and inflammation. They can be in the form of tablets, gels, capsules, or creams. However, they can cause cardiovascular and stomach issues in some individuals. Therefore, please consult your doctor before taking them.
- Cannabis: Medical cannabis and cannabidiol are common pain treatments. However, they’re said to ease neuropathic pain but don’t relieve pain caused by headaches, fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Opioids: These treat moderate to severe pain. However, using them for shorter periods would be best as they’re addictive.
The medications listed above aren’t suitable for everyone, and each may have varying side effects. Therefore, please consult a health professional before using them for chronic pain
Reach Out To A Professional
If you’ve tried various tactics to deal with chronic pain but are still overwhelmed that you can’t perform daily tasks, it’s wise to consult a healthcare professional. Chronic pain can significantly impact your physical and mental health, making it difficult to deal with alone. Fortunately, a pain specialist can work with you to develop a treatment plan that helps manage your pain more effectively. They can also offer support and help you develop coping strategies for pain.
There you go! Those are some of the best ways to cope with chronic pain. Most of these practices help relieve chronic pain and improve your coping strategies. However, before incorporating these approaches, it’s best to see your doctor to ensure they’re safe and don’t worsen your pain.