Any pain that is lasting more than 12 weeks is called chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit a person’s movement, which can reduce the flexibility, strength, and stamina. It affects the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of life. Chronic pain can create a troubling cycle to various routine activities and lead to a pervasive lack of wellness that can be debilitating.
Of course, living a normal and pleasant life with chronic pain is challenging, but it is not the end of hope. Learning how to deal with your pain in healthy ways can position you to cope more effectively with the stressful situations. And you would be able to enjoy life with positive attitude and optimism.
You may also read about Signs And Symptoms Of Chronic Pain here.
Here are five simplest ways to cope with chronic pain.
5 Ways To Cope With Chronic Pain
1. Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle
According to Mayo Clinic, your lifestyle is one of the most important factors that can help or hurt your efforts to deal with chronic pain. What you eat, how much you sleep, exercise, and stress control; all of these contribute to an important role in pain control.
Of course, adopting a healthy lifestyle should be a way of living a happy and successful life, but if you are suffering from any kind of chronic pain, then it’s mandatory to take this step more seriously. A healthy lifestyle not only helps in dealing with chronic pain, but also plays a vital role in the prevention of other metabolic and lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. And for that purpose, it is must to:
Eat A Healthy, Balanced, And Nutritious Diet
Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has so many health benefits. It keeps our immune system strong and helps in prevention of further complications. A strong immune system plays a vital role in coping with the chronic pain. Research shows that diet should be an integral part of a pain management program. Experts say that a diet makeover with a focus on anti-inflammatory foods can have a dramatic effect.
Regular exercise also helps in boosting the level of good hormones. It keeps our musculoskeletal system strong, improves mood, and increases the body’s natural ability to cope with the chronic pain. Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine can vastly improve your quality of life.
Research1 shows that those who experience chronic pain may have impaired neuroplasticity (it is a term that describes the brain’s ability to change with experience and use). Fortunately, increasing neuroplasticity may help with chronic pain treatment. Regular exercise can help by improving flow and oxygen to the brain, which is crucial for improving neuroplasticity. But before starting any exercise routine, it is a must to take a professional advice to avoid any exercise-related injuries and complications.
Try To Improve Sleep Quality
Poor sleep quality may increase the experience of pain and cause a state of irritability and depression. A good-night sleep helps in dealing with the psychological impact of chronic pain. So, it is recommended to improve your sleep quality by doing simplest things, such as set a schedule for sleeping and wake-up time, adjust the room temperature properly, try some relaxation technique before sleeping to induce a peaceful sleep, etc…
2. Take A Better Control Of Your Stress Level
There is enough scientific evidence that confirms the correlation between chronic pain and stress level.2 Negative emotions such as anxiety and depression intensify the chronic pain. By taking the better control of stress, you may get some relief from chronic pain. There are several techniques that help your body to relax. Such as:
- Yoga and meditation
- Deep-breathing exercise
- Progressive muscle relaxations
- Soothing and calming music
- Mental imagery relaxation
It is recommended to take a professional advice before starting a specific technique. It is also mandatory to learn the correct method for getting the maximum benefit.
3. Become Active And Engaged
According to American Psychological Association, distracting yourself from your pain – by engaging in activities you enjoy – will help you highlight the positive aspects of life.3 By doing this, you might not be able to avoid pain but you can take better control of your life.
4. Cut Back On Alcohol And Quit Smoking
Chronic pain often causes a disturbance in sleeping cycle.4 Increased consumption of alcohol can worsen the sleep problem. So, if you are living with a chronic pain, drinking less or no alcohol can improve your quality of life.
Apart from other health hazards, smoking can worsen the painful circulation and increase the risk of heart disease and cancer. Quitting smoke can help you in improving the quality of life.
Learn Other Pain Management Strategies
Of course, they do not get rid of pain, but they help you to learn how to better deal with it. For example, through Biofeedback – it is possible to consciously control various body functions.5 With the help of this technique, you may be able to reduce a headache by becoming more aware of and then changing your bodily response to pain. It may sound like a science fiction, but there is a good evidence showing that it works.
Cognitive behavior therapy is another important strategy that offers wonderful benefits to people dealing with chronic pain.6 This therapy helps in re-framing thoughts and behavior, so you can better manage your life despite pain and move forward in the productive and healthy way.
5. Ask For Help
Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not the weakness. So, if you are struggling with the chronic pain and feeling helpless:
Join A Support Group
Going through the constant struggle of your pain could be frustrating, especially, if you are doing it alone. It may cause a sense of loneliness and isolation. Reaching out to the people through the Internet or your local community for the support group is the best way to reduce your burden. These support groups can understand your problem and reduce your burden by helping you understand your everyday struggle and emotions.
Consult A Professional
Chronic pain may cause depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness. Sometimes, the psychological aspect of chronic pain worsens the existing pain condition. Counseling with a mental professional can help you handle the psychological repercussion of the condition. And you can learn to cope with chronic pain more effectively and positively.
So these are some coping tips that can make your path a little easier.
|↑1||Chronic pain research delves into the brain. The University of Adelaide.|
|↑2||Managing chronic pain. American Psychological Association.|
|↑3||Coping with chronic pain. American Psychological Association.|
|↑4||Smith, Michael T., and Jennifer A. Haythornthwaite. “How do sleep disturbance and chronic pain inter-relate? Insights from the longitudinal and cognitive-behavioral clinical trials literature.” Sleep medicine reviews 8, no. 2 (2004): 119-132..|
|↑5||Merki, Hans S., and Rolf-Rainer C. Dries. “Apparatus for the biofeedback control of body functions.” U.S. Patent 5,002,055, issued March 26, 1991.|
|↑6||Keefe, Francis J., Julie Dunsmore, and Rachel Burnett. “Behavioral and cognitive-behavioral approaches to chronic pain: Recent advances and future directions.” Journal of consulting and clinical psychology 60, no. 4 (1992): 528.|