Living with pain is obviously going to detract from your overall quality of life, and finding ways that help you to cope with pain can make a significant difference. By finding new methods of either reducing the amount of pain that you’re in, or even finding new ways of distracting yourself from it, you can find that things you wouldn’t have thought possible can be easily achieved.
So many Americans live with chronic pain (an estimated 100 million adults), so there is no excuse to try and ‘go it alone’. There is help out there for those that need it and options available no matter your lifestyle. So what methods can you try in order to improve your quality of life?
Even though your pain may be physical, there is no understating the importance of the mind when it comes to living with chronic suffering. Overthinking, stress and depression can all make pain feel even worse than it already is, and so it’s important to find a way to deal with those issues as much as it is to deal with the pain itself. Meditation has been shown to help those in pain to live with it, but more importantly can also help to reduce the amount of pain that you are feeling.
See a specialist
How do you even know the best way to deal with your chronic pain if you don’t seek specialist medical advice? Your first step should always be a medical professional, and if you can find a physical therapist, then you’re on the right track. Specialists such as TurningPoint Medical Group also offer massage, which can be hugely beneficial in pain reduction and stress relief. Physiotherapy can be beneficial for many people, not just chronic-pain sufferers, and the potential benefits can be extremely helpful. From joint mobility to improved coordination, a good physiotherapist should be your first stop in your quest for better living.
It has become a cliche that endorphins are nature’s painkillers, but that doesn’t make it any less true. As with meditation, exercise can not only provide natural painkilling opiates, but can also recuse painful symptoms at the same time. By increasing muscle mass and cardiovascular strength, exercise may help to reduce the overall intensity of your chronic pain. Exercise is a common solution to pain. When we are in pain, the natural solution is to move as little as possible so as not to make things worse, but this may well just be the worst thing you can do. Speak to a professional and find out if exercise is a good option for you. It’s of paramount importance that you don’t make things worse by not seeking professional advice.
Pain related sleep-loss is a huge issue, and it is vital that you make sleep a priority. Disrupted sleep can make existing pain issues feel even worse, and if you are suffering from any form of insomnia, then it is imperative that you see a specialist as soon as possible. Sleeping is restorative not just to your body but to your mind as well, and it is crucial that you look after both. From a very medical standpoint, not getting enough sleep can impair the parts of your brain that regulate pain, and if you are able to grab those all-important snoozes, then you're really going to notice a difference (both mentally and physically).
Whether it is headaches, back pain or even teeth-grinding, the effects of stress on the body are numerous. When combined with a pre-existing chronic pain, the anxiety can actually make the pain worse, and psychological stress can reduce the brain’s ability to cope with pain that might be quite manageable without it. By eliminating stress as much as possible, it becomes a simpler task to concentrate more on the physical issues that are causing the pain.
Your friends and family may be great for getting things off your chest, but unless they have the same issues as yourself, then they aren’t going to know exactly what you are going through. That’s where support groups come in, whether it is a group that you travel to meet on a regular basis or simply a group that you find online. No matter how supportive those closest to you are, it is too easy to feel isolated when discussing your pain if the people you are talking to haven’t been in the same position as you. It's not just supported, it is validation as well, and the awareness that you are not the only person going through this.
It’s not about how many painkillers you can eat! The foods that you eat can be of significant help when dealing with pain, and it is simply a matter of finding the ones that you like. Certain foods are able to affect the inflammatory cycle, and depending on what you need, food can either shut it down or promote it. From fish and broccoli for arthritis sufferers to fresh apples for people with Fibromyalgia, a good diet can be fundamental in managing your pain relief. Obviously, alongside the foods that are good for your pain management, there are foods that can make your pain feel worse, so it is critical that you do some research in order to clarify exactly what is best to eat and what is best to avoid.
While these suggestions may seem obvious, often we feel so isolated in our suffering that it can feel more natural to simply ‘get on with it’ and try to accommodate your life around the pain. This obviously causes long-term issues as well as leaving you in a situation where you are willfully avoiding help. Remember, talk to people and get advice. Nobody likes to see other people suffer, and the more help you look for, then the more you’ll find. Who knows, you might be able to reduce your pain to the point where you can enjoy the smaller things in life again.