Managing Chronic Pain: 5 Self-Help Tips

manage chronic pain tips

Everyone experiences occasional aches and pains in different parts of their body. Whether you cut your finger or pulled a muscle while working out, pain is your body’s way of telling you that you are physically hurting.

Generally, there are two types of pain, acute and chronic. Acute pain refers to the aches that may come from inflammation, injury, illness, or recent surgery which lasts for a few days until the underlying cause is treated or resolved.

On the other hand, chronic pain is long-standing pain which persists for months, or even years, beyond the usual recovery period or occurs alongside a chronic health condition. What makes this type of pain annoying is that it can have real effects on your day-to-day life and your mental health.

The good news is that chronic pain can be managed by employing a few techniques and making some lifestyle changes that will provide you with relief. Here is a rundown of the most effective ones.

Try physical therapy

In most cases, experts often recommend patients suffering from chronic pain a short course of physical therapy. These therapy sessions mainly involve stretching and pain-relief exercises which help people move better, alleviate pain and make their daily tasks easier to complete.

With the advancements in medicine, many also prefer combining chronic pain therapy with virtual reality, especially if they are unable to go to a hospital due to persistent pain. This therapy combines conventional exercises with VR therapy using high-end technology which places patients in an immersive environment that helps distract them from the pain they are feeling.

Exercise regularly

Staying physically active can also help you manage chronic pain symptoms as well as strengthen your muscles and improve your mood. In fact, when you exercise, your body releases endorphins which are commonly referred to as the “feel good” chemicals in the brain that help boost your mood while also blocking pain signals. 

It is advised that you choose an exercise that you enjoy doing and that won’t put too much strain on you. Some great options include walking, swimming, dancing, or riding a bike. This will further provide you with other health benefits including maintaining a healthy weight and reducing risks of cardiovascular diseases.

Practice meditation

Negative emotions such as stress, depression, and anxiety can increase the perception of pain. An effective technique you can try to reduce stress levels is meditation. This will help your body relax and ease the tension in your muscles which will consequently alleviate pain symptoms.

When you meditate, you should focus on your breathing, ignore negative thoughts and repeat a word or a phrase that will help your body and mind relax. Do this a few times a week and reap all benefits meditation offers for managing chronic pain.

Get a good night’s sleep

Lack of sleep can also worsen pain as it will make you feel more tired, stressed, and agitated the following day. So, in order to reduce your chronic pain symptoms, it is paramount that you get the rest you need every night.

If you are having trouble falling asleep, then you should try some techniques to help improve your sleep quality when dealing with chronic pain. These include deep breathing, mindfulness techniques, or guided imagery to help you relax and take your mind off the pain.

Also, make sure your bed and mattress are comfortable, too.

Distract yourself with an enjoyable activity

If your main focus is on the pain, it makes it worse rather than better. As a result, it is recommended that you find something you like doing so you can keep busy and not think about the pain you are feeling.

For example, coloring is an enjoyable activity that has both physical and mental benefits. There are plenty of adult coloring books that include various designs which are actually meditative and can help alleviate stress symptoms and the perception of pain. 

Other pain-friendly activities you can try include knitting, cross-stitching, cooking, and gardening.

Final thoughts

Although chronic pain cannot be avoided, you can still take control of your life to help manage the symptoms. In fact, there are plenty of techniques you can try out to reduce chronic pain while improving your mood and overall wellbeing at the same time. The key is to find something that suits your needs and provides you with the best relief for your pain.

Whether it is engaging in simple physical activities at home, meditating before bed, or simply gardening, choose the most effective technique from our list and live your life as much pain-free as possible.  

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