Living with chronic pain can be the bane of our existence. No one should have to suffer through physical pain and discomfort, but for many patients, it’s something that’s beyond their control. Thankfully, we can take steps to ensure that our chronic pain never reaches unmanageable levels. If you have a condition that causes you to live with chronic pain, here are some essential pointers to help you manage it.
Practice deep breathing and meditation
Setting aside time during your day to meditate and do some deep breathing exercises can go a long way in relieving tension and tightness in your body. Deep breathing can also help your body relax. Here is a basic breathing exercise you can try every morning:
- Sit in a comfortable position
- Gently put one hand on your stomach
- Inhale through your nose slowly and let your belly fill with air
- Slowly exhale through your nose
- Repeat at least three times
Understand the link between the physical, mental, and emotional
Integrative and holistic medicine is a kind of healthcare that utilizes all scientifically proven and appropriate therapeutic approaches and considers our entire being, not just our physical health. It is the belief that our physical, emotional, and mental health are linked, and to truly be healthy, we need to address all three. If you want relief from your chronic pain, consider consulting with a health coach equipped to address all three aspects of your being. They can help design an individualized care plan to help you find progress and improvement in your health journey.
Release natural endorphins through exercise
With the advice and permission of your primary care provider, incorporate exercise into your daily routine as well. Endorphins are brain chemicals responsible not just for blocking pain signals in our body but also for improving our disposition. Physical activity is a natural way to relieve pain; it prevents re-injury, and it also helps strengthen our muscles. But before you commit to a workout routine, make sure you have your doctor’s advice first, especially if you have specific health conditions.
Cut back on vices
It may be tempting to find comfort from harmful habits like drinking, smoking, and binge eating unhealthy food, but they can only help you feel better at the moment—and choosing them will ultimately cost you in the end. These harmful self-soothing techniques will come back to collect one day, and they will only increase your chronic pain in the long run.
Monitor your pain levels
Keeping track of your pain levels may seem counterintuitive, especially since we want to forget our pain and not be preoccupied with it, but keeping track of your pain levels will help you monitor your progress. Familiarize yourself with the pain scale and partner with your doctor so that you’re on the same page. You can also use the notebook to keep track of the activities you did throughout the day; it will help you identify which soothing techniques worked and what didn’t. Keep a notebook that’s solely for monitoring your pain levels and activities, and bring it with you to your next checkup.
Here are more tips you can practice to manage your pain:
- Consider joining a support group. Knowing people who are going through the same thing will help encourage and strengthen you during difficult days.
- Get massages if you can, especially if your doctor recommends it.
- Choose healthier food options. Keeping a healthy and nutritious diet can be one of the biggest things that can benefit you in the long term.
- Don’t skip your medication and treatments. Keep a pillbox with days of the week on them so that you’re always reminded to take your medication. Keep a visual calendar of your doctors’ appointments as well.
- Pace yourself. Stress can be one of the biggest contributors to physical pain like migraines, so make sure that you get enough rest from work.
- Find healthy and productive ways to distract yourself from your discomfort. Some examples include taking on fun hobbies, like gardening, baking, and painting.
- Reach out to trusted family and friends if you need to vent some frustration and anger. Know that you are safe with the right people.
Living with chronic pain may be difficult, but there are plenty of things you can do to advocate for yourself. Know that you deserve to heal and recover and that you are not alone on your way to remission. Good luck!