Chronic pain is no joke. It is a persistent pain that keeps going for weeks, months, and for some people years. Oftentimes it starts out with an injury, and then during the healing process in can continue to persist. But some people suffer from this issue without any initial cause.
According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, more than 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from some form of chronic pain. That’s more than 20 percent of the world’s population! With that knowledge in mind, we want to share some ways to help cope with chronic pain for any of you who might be struggling with this firsthand.
Relaxing the body can help to lessen pain. Learn some deep breathing and meditation exercises to help your body enter into a state of relaxation. This will relieve tension and tightness in the muscles, alleviating pain and allowing you to relax.
If you aren’t sure where to start with meditation, try starting with some short 5-10 minute guided meditations on Youtube. Or if you want to try an app that eases you into meditation, Calm is a great one to start with. You might also find it useful keeping a meditation journal – here’s a good guide on how to get started.
Negative feelings can increase the body’s sensitivity to pain. So, it is important to reduce depression, stress, anxiety, and anger as much as possible. By reducing these feelings and gaining control over them, you might find that the pain lessens.
Some of the relaxation techniques mentioned previously can help to reduce stress and lift your mood. Other things like listening to calming music, getting a massage, or taking a warm bath are also great ways to reduce stress.
Boost Natural Endorphins
Endorphins are the body’s pain killers, so find ways that you can naturally boost those to give yourself a little relief from the pain.
Here’s a short list of ways that you can boost your endorphins:
- Eat chocolate
- Eat your favorite food (sparingly if it’s not particularly healthy)
- Do a fun exercise (yoga, aerobics class, zumba, etc.)
- Laugh out loud – watch a comedian or visit with a comical friend
- Aromatherapy (specifically lavender scents)
- Try acupuncture
Give a couple of these a try to relieve some pain and feel better, even momentarily, as you enjoy some of these activities.
Join a Support Group
Sometimes it is helpful to know that we aren’t the only ones struggling. Joining a support group can help give you a sense of community where people understand what you are going through. You might even be able to learn some new techniques for managing your pain from others who have had similar experiences.
The American Chronic Pain Association has a tool that can help you find a support group near you.
Eat a Healthy Diet
The stress that comes from having chronic pain can lead to unhealthy habits. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can help negate some of those effects as it aids in digestion, reducing the risk of heart disease, keeping weight under control, and improving blood sugar levels.
Eating healthy is important no matter what problems you might be struggling with. But remember that it’s okay to treat yourself with something sweet once in a while.
Treatments for chronic pain can be expensive and aren’t always an option for everyone. But it is an option that you should be aware of. With technological advances in medicine, chronic pain is becoming easier to manage. With techniques like stem cell injections and platelet-rich plasma injections, medical practices can offer almost permanent relief from chronic pain. You can learn more about these from walkerspineandsport.com.