How to manage chronic pain

Each of us has experienced some kind of pain at least once in life.

Unfortunately, not all pains leave us after several hours or days. According to the data, approximately 100 million American adults suffer from chronic pain, which doesn’t go away within 12 weeks.

Long-lasting pain may be constant or may come and go. Depending on underlying condition, pain may vary in intensity and localization. Sometimes it can even travel from one part of your body to another one.

It seems like pain is only a physical sensation, but in fact, it can also affect your psychological and emotional well-being.

In the past, it was recommended to treat chronic pain with long-term bed rest and reduction of physical activity. Today we know that it’s one of the worst things, you can do for this kind of pain.

There is a wide variety of conditions, which can cause chronic painful sensations anywhere in the body. The most common of them include cancer, lower back pain, sciatica, arthritis, nerve damage, fibromyalgia and pain after traumatic injury.

Good news is that we have ability to cope with chronic pain, using these methods:

#1. Exercise – during physical activity your brain gets endorphins, which can improve your mood and relieve pain. Regular exercises can also strengthen your muscles, and make your joints more mobile. Choose activity that won’t overload your body. The best options are swimming, dancing, walking and jogging.

#2. Try relaxation techniques – stress can really aggravate your pain. Meditation, yoga and massage are the best ways to cope with negative emotions and reduce muscle tension.

#3. Stop smoking – you’ve probably heard it hundreds of times. But that’s true: smoking can worsen blood circulation and lead to numerous painful conditions.

#4. Don’t quit your job – studies show that keeping working can distract you from annoying sensations. Speak with your chief about parts of your work, which are difficult to perform for you. If your condition requires to stay off your job, try to return to it as soon as possible.

#5. Acupuncture – traditional Chinese medicine can help you alleviate chronic pain, focusing on certain points on your body and blocking pain signals in this way.

#6. Join support groups – speaking with people, who have the same problems, as you have, may give you a lot of benefits. First, you won’t feel alone, and second, you can share your experience with others and discover some new helpful tips to manage your chronic pain.

#7. Learn biofeedback – in this technique, you can watch certain processes in your body, like pulse, temperature, digestion and muscle tension. Expert will teach you to control physical changes, using your mind. This is thought to manage emotional disturbances and physical pain.

#8. Use painkillers – over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, can relieve painful sensations and reduce swelling. But be aware that long-term consumption of these drugs may contribute to serious side effects, like peptic ulcer and internal bleeding.

#9. Trigger point injections – health care specialist may propose you doing local anesthetic injections into the tender points in the muscles. This therapy is sometimes helpful for patients with fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome and chronic pelvic pain.

#10. Topical medications – OTC creams are often used to ease pain in the joints and muscles.

#11. Prescription drugs – sometimes it appears impossible to control pain with non-prescription medicines and alternative therapies. In this case medical professional can prescribe opioids, antidepressant or anticonvulsants. But be aware that they can cause numerous unpleasant effects, including nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, diarrhea or constipation.

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