How to Cope with Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain is the most prevalent cause of disability, especially for elderly individuals. In many cases, chronic pain is not only associated with physical agony, but it is also often affiliated with emotional and psychological pain. Pain that is constant and severe can have a debilitating effect on a person’s quality of life, as well as impact their ability to work and socialize with family and friends. 

Dealing with chronic pain is never easy, especially not without the proper support. However, not everyone has access to the support they need to cope with their condition successfully. This being said, there are many resources you can turn to if you ever feel overwhelmed by the pain that you are experiencing.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is defined as any condition that causes severe discomfort and stiffness for longer than three months. Chronic pain can occur at any time, to anyone, without warning or relief. The severity of the discomfort may fluctuate, but it is always present in some form.

Not only does pain hinder your ability to go about daily activities, but it can also significantly affect your physical health. For instance, you might develop digestive issues, cardiovascular ailments and insomnia, as well as experience cognitive decline. Chronic pain can also cause  depression and anxiety—both of which could severely disrupt an individual’s life. 

All this being said. There are many proven  ways to cope with chronic pain. They are as follows:

Find a Support Group

One of the best ways to cope with chronic pain is to find a support group. It might be challenging to find one of these groups if you’re not sure where to look, but plenty of communities and organizations exist just for people who have chronic illnesses.

Online forums and chat rooms often do wonders when it comes to offering comfort and assistance for those who feel overwhelmed by the severe pain that they experience every day. But don’t limit yourself to online options— make sure to consult your doctors and therapists about other places you can go to find a community of people who understands what you’re going through.

Try Yoga and Meditation

Yoga has been proven helpful in relieving chronic pain and other illnesses, and reducing stress and anxiety levels. Yoga requires you to focus on breathing and controlling your body’s movements. While it might not replace medication or surgery as a treatment for pain, yoga could still allow you to relax and reduce your negative thoughts.

Meditation is another practice that helps people manage their chronic pain. This activity accomplishes this through training individuals to control their minds and thoughts. As such, it enables individuals to focus their attention away from the discomfort, to center themselves, and find relief from  the pain that they are experiencing. 

Stay Active and Keep Working

It might seem impossible to keep up with work or your regular activities when you’re feeling discomfort every day, but staying active will help reduce stress and improve your capacity to deal with chronic pain. Join or create an exercise group if you can to stay active, or commit to attending at least one event every weekend to get yourself moving again.

Eat Right

Your diet has a significant impact on your overall health, especially when it comes to chronic pain management. The food you eat will determine how healthy you are, which affects the level and consistency of the pain you feel, as well as whether or not you can remain active throughout the day.

Establish a Daily Routine

When you have chronic pain, it’s easy to lose track of time and not know what you should be doing at any given moment. This is why creating a daily schedule might prove helpful when trying to remain active and engaged in activities that could help take your mind off the discomfort you experience on a regular basis. 

Ask for Help When You Need It

You never want to feel like you’re burdening people with your condition, but there will be times when it becomes hard to manage everything on your own. If you struggle with pain or become extremely tired throughout the day, ask for assistance from friends and family to ensure you get enough rest and sleep to properly manage your chronic pain.

Don’t Let Chronic Pain Stop You

While chronic pain can stop you from living your life the way you want to for brief periods, it doesn’t have to be something that controls every aspect of your daily activities. Take some time away from work to recuperate and research if you need to, and never let your condition keep you down when there are so many things you still want to do with your life! 

Reduce Your Stress

Pain and stress go hand in hand, which is why it’s so important to learn how to manage your pain when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Stress worsens chronic pain because it causes the body’s muscles to tense up, speeds up breathing and heart rate, and makes it difficult for blood to be pumped through the veins. There are plenty of methods you can try to reduce your stress, such as meditation, yoga, massage therapy, deep breathing exercises. So, give them a go to determine what will work best in alleviating your chronic pain!

Educate Yourself about Your Condition

There are many ways that chronic pain can affect your day, be it physically, mentally, or emotionally. The list can go on and on. It is crucial to understand how to manage chronic pain and how it affects your daily life.  Take time to read up on the type of pain you are experiencing. By doing so, you will discover methods of pain management that work best for your unique case, such that you can go about your day more easily. 

Cut Back on Smoking and Drinking Alcohol

If you’re a smoker or drinker, cutting back on your habits will help to reduce your pain and to increase the success you experience from your pain management efforts. Smoking has been proven to worsen chronic pain by restricting blood flow to the brain. Also, alcohol can be extremely dangerous if it is consumed alongside pain medication.  

If you find yourself suffering from chronic pain for an extended time with no relief in sight, it is important to visit your doctor. He or she can provide you with a diagnosis and prescribe you a treatment plan which might encompass medication and some sort of therapy.

Symptoms of Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS)

Approximately ¼ individuals living with chronic pain will develop chronic pain syndrome (CPS). For these individuals, they do not only experience pain, but also depression and anxiety, both of which can detrimentally interfere with their daily lives. It can make even the simplest of daily activities seem like an impossible task. Some common symptoms of Chronic Pain Syndrome include:

Back and Neck Pains

Chronic lower back pain can interfere with almost any type of activity. This type of pain makes you feel as if your spine is being crushed, and it often gets so bad that treatment becomes necessary.

Meanwhile, chronic neck pain can cause headaches, tingling in the arms, and hot flashes in the facial area. The pain can worsen or become more intense depending on how you are positioned.  For instance, sitting upright for long periods is often associated with an increase in the level of the pain which is experienced.

Pelvic Pain

Many women who have experienced acute menstrual cramps will tell you just how painful it can be. It can be so severe that daily activities like walking or sitting down can become extremely arduous. Chronic pelvic pain can have many different causes, and can affect the reproductive organs in countless ways. For instance, it can cause inflammation within the uterus and interrupt one’s menstrual cycle.

Uncontrollable and Continuous Headaches

Unbearable headaches that do not go away even after medication has been taken can be a symptom of Chronic Pain Syndrome. These kinds of headaches may cause you to lose focus and concentration.

Facial Aches

Pain associated with the facial area can affect the jaw, teeth, gums, eyes, temple, cheeks, ears, or scalp. As well, some individuals who experience facial pain report feeling a burning sensation on one side of their face.

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is often worse at night when lying in certain positions, such as with your arm hanging down. When your shoulder joint is inflamed, it can also make it difficult for you to lift your arm over your  head or do any type of exercise that requires shoulder movement.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is a common symptom of chronic illness and it is also one that needs to be managed carefully. If you cannot control your sleeping patterns or get enough sleep to function correctly, it can lead to fatigue and mental confusion.

Intense Soreness

Chronically sore muscles can be a sign of Chronic Pain Syndrome. Soreness associated with CPS usually involves other symptoms, such as inflammation, stiffness, and restricted movement.

Feeling Numb or Tingling

When you have Chronic Pain Syndrome, you might often feel as though your legs are “falling asleep” or that you can’t walk because of numbness you are experiencing in your feet. Along with the numbness, you might also experience tingling in the hands and feet (especially in extreme cases) and pain in your buttocks and legs.

If you’re suffering from the above symptoms, seek treatment for your chronic pain immediately. Talk to your doctor about what you’re going through and make sure to follow through with your treatment plan. 

Types Of Treatment For Chronic Pain Syndrome

The medical community has come very far in recent years. Nowadays, there are many different treatment options available to treat Chronic Pain Syndrome.. These include:

Acupuncture/Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure are two of the most common non-medication-based treatments for severe chronic pain. Medical professionals have prescribed these practices for centuries to relieve  the severity of pain that many of their patients experience. 

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is often included as part of an overall chronic pain management plan that includes medication and acupuncture. Still, it can also be very effective on its own if you’re suffering from lower back or neck pain which is caused by injury or strain.

Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic treatment aims to align the skeletal structure after falls or accidents. It’s something like a massage, but with added benefits , such as reduced stress and increased blood flow where it’s needed. While it can be an excellent treatment for some, chiropractic adjustments aren’t always the best type of treatment for chronic pain.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychological treatment which works by changing how one thinks about him or herself and his or her illness. Ultimately this will enable the individual to feel more in control over how his or her brain controls the pain signals being sent to their body when they suffer from severe pain.

Light Therapy

Light therapy is a type of treatment which is growing in popularity among medical professionals. It is often prescribed to alleviate pain caused by conditions such as fibromyalgia, since sunlight is often very effective at reducing inflammation and stiffness in muscles and joints.

Reflexology

Reflexology is a type of alternative treatment which is similar to acupuncture. However, it focuses on specific points on the soles of the feet which are believed to correspond with other areas in one’s body. Hence applying pressure on a specific area of the sole can decrease the amount of pain and inflammation which might be present elsewhere in one’s body.

Heat/Cold Therapy

Applying either a hot or cold compress to a painful area of the body for just a few minutes can help relieve symptoms such as muscle spasms and inflammation, both of which are often responsible for causing chronic pain in many patients.

Alternative Treatments

Countless patients with Chronic Pain Syndrome have had great success with natural remedies when conventional treatments have failed them. However, it is crucial to  speak to your doctor first before trying anything out yourself.

Conclusion

Chronic Pain Syndrome is a serious condition which requires the correct type(s) of treatment to mitigate long-term health issues such as arthritis or high blood pressure. If you think you might suffer from CPS, don’t hesitate to seek help from a medical professional. 

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