Chronic pain can be utterly debilitating, but since life goes on it's vital to come up with ways to manage the pain while getting on with things. If the pain can’t be cured, adjusting to it and using methods (which vary by individual) to reduce it may contribute to a higher quality of life. Here are six ways to help some live better with chronic pain.
Stress has been proven to make chronic pain conditions worse. To reduce pain, we must reduce stress levels. There are many ways to get the job done, depending on a person’s life circumstances and needs. Some people have much more stressful lives than others.
Some people choose to change jobs or move to a different location, for example. Other people may need to reduce time with toxic friends or family, or they may need to hire household help. Each person living with chronic pain must decide for themselves what options will help keep their stress levels lower, but lowering the stress is paramount to pain management.
Meditating clears the mind and has been proven repeatedly to have a multitude of benefits for daily practitioners. For those who say they cannot meditate no matter how hard they try, practicing deep breathing techniques is almost as good and may help to reduce stress levels. Mindfulness, too, can help to lower the discomfort caused by chronic pain and may make it easier to manage things overall.
Anyone who suffers from chronic pain may want to explore deep breathing exercises and look at the different kinds of meditation available. There are many different types of meditative practices, and finding the one that works best may involve some trial and error.
Drinking alcohol, even in moderation, may make things more difficult for someone with chronic pain. That’s because alcohol makes it more difficult for the body’s natural processes to take place and it drives up inflammation. Anything that causes more stress on the body, either physically or mentally, may make chronic pain conditions worse and more uncomfortable.
By reducing or eliminating alcohol, the body might more easily heal and protect itself. Some people with chronic pain conditions stop drinking entirely, and others choose to cut down on their overall consumption of alcohol.
There are support groups for nearly everything, including for people who have chronic pain conditions. Whether there’s a group close by or available virtually, having the option to interact with others who share struggles may be very valuable.
Talking to people with the same types of issues or problems helps people feel heard and understood. That may lower stress levels, and it may also reduce the discomfort people feel when telling others about their condition.
Tracking pain levels is an important part of living better with chronic pain because it provides valuable information to share with healthcare professionals and to help guide daily decisions. Anyone living with chronic pain may track their levels over days, weeks, or months, depending on their needs and the specific plan they have with their doctor.
Not everyone who has chronic pain will want to track their levels all the time, but there’s real value in doing so — especially if you also track the things that may be increasing or decreasing pain. Whether you're working with a medical professional or about to start looking for one, keeping a good record of the pain may make it easier for to get help and support.
A healthy diet is one of the easiest ways to live better with chronic pain. Unhealthy foods may cause inflammation and other health problems in the body. That may lead to more pain.
Rather than choose to eat only what’s quick or convenient, people with chronic pain may want to consider meal prepping, meal delivery, or other options that might help them choose healthier options that don’t require a lot of physical effort. People have had success with eliminating processed foods, increasing their plant consumption, and eliminating common triggers like dairy and alcohol. But no matter what, people with chronic pain may want to consider what's going into their mouths as a first-line defense.
For those with chronic pain, there's more to pain control than popping pills. By choosing healthier lifestyle options and working closely with a doctor, it may be possible to reduce pain beyond what meds can accomplish and that sense of personal mastery can be intoxicating. Just remember that consistency really is key when it comes to adopting changes.
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