If you deal with chronic pain, you know that it’s not just a physical burden – the suffering can be mental as well. For this reason, managing your chronic pain is something you must do with both your body and mind.
An effective strategy for managing chronic pain combines both physical and mental tasks. Your doctor can best offer you advice for dealing with your pain, but there are a few basic strategies just about anyone can use to deal with painful symptoms.
Keep moving – If you have your doctor’s go-ahead, make sure you stay active in spite of the pain. Regular exercise helps reduce pain by increasing endorphins and strengthening your muscles. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about exercises that will keep you fit while minimizing discomfort.
Find a distraction – When you’re doing something you enjoy, you don’t have as much mental energy to focus on your pain. Pick up an old hobby or find a new one as a way to keep you active and your mind engaged.
Practice meditation – Many people express skepticism at the idea of using the mind to reduce physical symptoms. But meditation can not only take your mind off the pain you’re feeling, it can also help you relax your muscles and reduce stress, possibly reducing your symptoms.
Address stress – Speaking of stress, too much of it can make chronic pain worse. When you experience anxiety, your muscles tense up, you sleep poorly, and you may not eat as well – all behaviors that can lead to more pain. If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, talk to your doctor, who can offer lifestyle changes, medications, or a referral to a mental health specialist to address your needs.
Focus on sleep – A good night’s sleep can do a lot to help your body recover and repair damage. For those who suffer from chronic pain, a restless night can exacerbate symptoms noticeably. Prioritize sleep by sticking to a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine, and talking to your doctor about any difficulties you have.
Eat well – Not all foods are created equal for those who suffer from chronic pain. Some foods can exacerbate inflammation, which may increase pain, while others reduce inflammation. Focus on leafy greens, omega-3 fatty acids (primarily from fish), and soy products. As much as possible, avoid sugars, saturated fats, and alcohol.
While you may always experience chronic pain, you can still take steps to reduce your suffering and look toward the future. When thinking of your life ahead, remember that Paying for Senior Care can help when it comes to the tough questions about long term care. You may not need it now – but planning for the possibility can reduce your stress and save you money down the road. Ask the Long Term Care expert your questions today!