5 Easy Tips to Manage Chronic Pain

Wooden Figure with Chronic Pain

As many as eight out of every ten American adults suffer from chronic pain. If your loved one is one of these, here are six ways that can help manage the chronic pain.

What is Chronic Pain?

Acute pain is the normal sensation you feel when you have hurt yourself or when you are ill. Most injuries and illnesses heal within weeks. Chronic pain is any pain that lasts more than 12 weeks. The most common causes of chronic pain are back pain, joint pain, nerve pain and headaches. Research suggests that anywhere from 30 to 50% of people with chronic pain also struggle with depression or anxiety. This often creates a cycle: chronic pain leads to depression and depression leads to chronic pain.

Five Tips to Manage Chronic Pain

Reduce stress

Stress can intensify chronic pain. If you are experiencing negative feelings like depression, anxiety, stress, and anger, you may find that your body’s sensitivity to pain is increased. By controlling your stress levels, you may find some relief from chronic pain. You can learn to relax with massage, calming music, guided imagery. Guided imagery involves creating calming, peaceful images in your mind.

Begin to Exercise

Exercise is a double win because it works on a physical level and on your moods. Exercise strengthens muscles, helping prevent re-injury and further pain. Plus, exercise can help keep your weight down, reduce heart disease risk, and control blood sugar levels. When you exercise, your body put out endorphins. These chemicals help improve your mood and also block pain signals. Walking, swimming, using an exercise bike, dancing, yoga or pilates are all good exercise options.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing can help your body relax and this can ease your pain. Find a quiet location, a comfortable body position, and block out distracting thoughts. Then, imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, then let it out. By focusing on the breath and ignoring other thoughts the tension and tightness in your muscles can lessen.

Go to Work

When you focus on pain, it makes it worse rather than better. By going to work, you will be kept busy and thinking about things besides your pain.  Research shows that people become less active and more depressed when they don’t work. Being at work will distract you from the pain. You could go back to work gradually. For instance, you might start with one day a week and gradually increase the time you spend at work.

Join a Support Group

By meet others who are living with chronic pain and understand what you’re going through, you feel less alone. You also benefit from their wisdom in coping with the pain.