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6 Tips for Managing Chronic Pain

Suffering from chronic pain can significantly impact your life. Since the pain occurs for a long time, it may hinder you from working or hanging out with friends. Also, it can cause emotional stress. Although every condition is different, your doctor may prescribe painkillers as part of your pain management plan.  

Many prescription pain medications like fentanyl and oxycodone are opioid-based, which can be addictive. So, you need to be cautious and make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. If you find yourself wanting to take more than the recommended dose, you need to let your physician know immediately. They may refer you to a nearby treatment facility to help you wean off usage of the drug safely. You also have the option to contact a Fort Myers drug rehab center in case you want to seek treatment near Florida’s coastal area.

Taking painkillers is not the only way to handle chronic pain; you have other options to choose from. Here are some tips on how you can manage it safely. 

Gain Acceptance

It may not be easy to accept your condition, but addressing your emotions can help manage chronic pain successfully. To help you gain acceptance, pain psychologist Ted Jones suggests using cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to reprogram how you think about your medical condition. For example, you can focus on what you can do about the situation instead of concentrating on why you suffer from chronic pain. By doing so, you feel empowered to take charge of your life rather than being a victim of circumstance. You may also want to practice some gratitude exercises like listing down things you are thankful for every day. This allows you to be grateful for what you have at the moment.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation massage
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Stress has physical effects on your body. For example, it can cause headaches, as well as muscle tightness and soreness. This is why part of chronic pain management is reducing stress. To relax your mind and body, you can try relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation, yoga, or tai chi. Mindful meditation concentrates on stillness and awareness, while yoga and tai chi involve gentle movement. All these practices emphasize doing deep, modulated breathing that helps to calm your body. Some of these activities can be done alone, or with a group, so you can select one that works best for you.

Pace Yourself

Suffering from chronic pain means you can have bad days and good days. When you feel better, you don’t need to take full advantage of it by overtasking yourself. Although it may be tempting to make up for lost time and do activities you miss, this may cause more pain in the following days. Instead, break down larger tasks into smaller ones and take your time with them. You can also plan out your daily tasks and balance activities that fulfill both your responsibilities and your need for leisure.

Stay Physically Active

Keeping a physically active routine will not just keep you healthy; it will also help manage chronic pain. Regular light exercises can remedy joint stiffness, strengthen muscles, and release endorphins—your body’s natural painkillers. In addition, being active can improve your mood, control your weight, and distract you from pain.

Before doing any physical activity, make sure to consult your doctor about what exercises are suitable for your condition. For example, you may want to try walking, swimming, strength training, yoga, or Pilates.

Set Aside Time for Your Loved Ones

Spending time with your friends and family can help alleviate your mood and distract you from the pain. Enjoying your time together and getting updates on their lives can take your mind off your condition. Most importantly, you can deepen your relationship with your loved ones, which strengthens your support system.   

Set Goals

Set goals
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Setting goals is an effective way to treat pain. On days when your pain flares up, you may feel limited to doing only a few activities like spending time with your loved ones and going to work. But by setting goals, you can look forward to doing something new, especially on days when you feel minimal pain. For example, you may want to try out a couple of new activities each week as part of your goals. You can attend dance classes, get swimming lessons, or pursue new interests that have a low impact on your body.

Chronic pain shouldn’t stop you from living a fruitful life, especially if there are different ways to manage it. Other than taking pain medications, there are various techniques to help reduce pain. Before trying out anything, it’s best to consult your doctor and physical therapist to ensure they are safe for your condition. 

Featured Photo by Farah from Burst