According to a National Institutes of Health report, an estimated 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. If you’re one of them, you know that chronic pain can be debilitating and make it difficult to complete everyday tasks. You may also be too familiar with the stares and comments from well-meaning friends and family members who don’t understand what you’re going through. While there’s no definite cure for chronic pain, there are ways to manage it and live a full life. Here are six tips for dealing with chronic pain.
1. Pace Yourself
Given that one in four persons suffers from painful joints, it’s no surprise that this type of chronic pain is one of the most common. The key to managing joint pain is understanding your limits and pacing yourself throughout the day. Overdoing even simple activities can increase pain and swelling, so it’s important to take frequent breaks and put your feet up whenever possible.
In addition to pacing yourself, you should also try to maintain a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight puts additional strain on your joints, which can worsen the pain. If you’re not sure how to lose weight in a way that won’t aggravate your condition, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
2. Try and Stay Active
If you have chronic pain, it’s also important to exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins, which have natural painkilling and mood-boosting properties. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and yoga are especially beneficial for people with chronic pain.
Of course, you shouldn’t push yourself too hard when exercising. Start with short, moderate workouts and gradually increase the intensity as your pain allows. If you experience a flare-up of symptoms, take a break until the pain subsides.
3. Learn Meditation and Relaxation Techniques
Mindfulness meditation and other relaxation techniques can help you cope with chronic pain. When you meditate, you focus your attention on the present moment and let go of intrusive thoughts. This can help you better manage pain by reducing stress and anxiety.
There are many different ways to meditate, so experiment until you find a method that works for you. Some people prefer to sit or lie down in a quiet place and focus on their breath, while others prefer to walk mindfully or listen to guided meditations. In addition to meditation, deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation can also help manage chronic pain.
If you’re not sure how to get started, there are plenty of resources available online and in libraries. Some apps offer guided meditations for beginners.
4. Try Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is another treatment option for chronic pain. A physical therapist can teach you exercises and stretches to help reduce pain and improve your range of motion. Physical therapy can also help you retrain your body so that you move in ways that don’t aggravate your condition. In addition, physical therapy can also help reduce your cost of treatment by up to 72%.
If you’re interested in trying physical therapy, talk to your doctor or pain specialist. They can refer you to a physical therapist in your area.
5. Get a Massage
Did you know that about 63% of people who got a massage in 2021 did so for health and wellness reasons? Massage can be an effective treatment for chronic pain. It helps to relax muscles, improve range of motion, and reduce inflammation.
If you’re considering a massage, make sure to book an appointment with a licensed massage therapist. You may also want to ask about insurance coverage, as some insurers will cover the cost of massage therapy for chronic pain.
6. Eat a Healthy Diet
What you eat can also affect chronic pain. Eating a healthy diet helps reduce inflammation, which can, in turn, help to reduce pain. In addition, eating a healthy diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important for managing joint pain.
Some foods that may help reduce inflammation include omega-three fatty acids, turmeric, ginger, and green tea. If you’re not sure what to eat, talk to a registered dietitian or your doctor. They can help you create a healthy eating plan that meets your needs.
several other treatments can also help with chronic pain, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, and hypnosis. Talk to your doctor about which treatment options and lifestyle changes may be right for you. Remember, the goal is to find something that helps you manage your pain so that you can live a full and active life.