Nearly 86 million people in the United States suffer from some type of chronic pain each year. What is chronic pain? It is pain that continues even with medical therapy. It may last months or years after an illness or injury. Some people experience chronic pain despite the fact neither injury or illness is an issue.
One thing that those living with chronic pain have to deal with is added emotional and physical stress. They may find that they experience depression, anxiety, and anger. Lowered immunity and increased risk for other health conditions are also possible.
Some things you may be able to do to help you live with chronic pain include the following:
– Learn mind-body therapy techniques that help you relax through deep breathing, guided imagery, and positive self-talk.
– Join a chronic pain support group. You may also want to look for an American Pain Society meeting. Your doctor or local hospital would be a good place to begin seeking for these meetings.
– Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. You may already experience disruption in your sleep with the pain; drinking alcohol could make this issue worse.
– Smoking is another habit you will want to quit. Not only does cigarette smoking impair healing, it can also increase risk factors associated with other diseases.
– If you are overweight, losing weight can help tremendously. Reports state that even an extra ten pounds can feel like an extra 60 pounds with each step you take.
– To help with weight loss, some people adjust their diet. Did you realize eating a healthy diet could also help you live with chronic pain? Eat a diet that is low in fat, low-sodium and full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Adding certain foods, such as peaches, cauliflower, oranges, ginger, and turmeric, may help reduce pain. Some studies also recommend cutting back on processed foods, gluten, and milk.
– Some people suffering from chronic pain believe that exercise will cause more pain. Actually, the opposite is true. While you exercise, your body produces endorphins. These chemicals, produced in the brain, help block pain signals as well as improve your mood. Your doctor will be able to recommend the best exercise program for the pain you experience.
– Know how to track your pain level and which activities cause it to increase. Not only will this help you see the connection between activities and pain, it will also help your doctor. Some people keep a pain log while others keep a journal. A number of places online offer free pain diaries.
– Massage therapy can help reduce pain by affecting the amount of tension you experience. Massage can help with chronic pain no matter where it hurts the most.
If you are one of the millions of people living with chronic pain, it is important to acknowledge your pain and then take control of it with your doctor’s help. Work closely with your doctor to learn as much as you can; using some of these tips for living with chronic pain may also help.