All Pain, No Gain? 6 Top Tips To Prevent Chronic Pain From Taking Over Your Life
We’ve all experienced the odd twinge now and then. It might be a back spasm, a touch of cramp in your calf or a stiff neck after you’ve slept in a funny position. These ailments are fleeting, forgettable and don’t impact on your day to day life. Some people aren’t so fortunate. Their pain is chronic. Every day they wake up to the same debilitating aches, pains and sensations that they have to manage in the most effective way possible. If this sounds like you, read on to discover how you can prevent chronic pain from taking over your life.
Chronic pain can often be a bit of an enigma. You may have gone to the surgery doubled over in agony, only for the doctor to be none the wiser as to what is wrong with you. You may have had x-rays, scans and ultrasounds to discover nothing. It can be easy to feel ashamed and scared that no one will believe you. Even if the pain you are experiencing is psychosomatic, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t real or impossible for you to manage. The doctor may mean well by giving you painkillers and telling you to take it easy, but the chronic nature of your pain requires much more than pills. You need to develop a range of strategies that will help you see the wood for the trees and learn to enjoy life and all it has to offer despite your pain.
It can be all too easy to wake up in the morning after a sleepless night of pain, roll over and go back to bed. Don’t. Use all the willpower that you can conjure up, have a revitalising shower, get dressed and go for a walk. By remaining active, you aren’t allowing the pain that you are experiencing to win. You almost have to think of your days as mini battles between you and your ailments. Some days your pain might declare a victory but keep these moments few and far between. Keep in touch with family and friends, enjoy some gentle exercise and try to keep your mind from dwelling on your discomfort.
Keep Monitoring Your Mental Health
Whether your pain was the fault of someone else and required you to seek the advice of personal injury claim solicitors or whether you mysteriously developed the pain over a few years, the never-ending nature of your ailment can cause you to experience hugely negative feelings. Your emotional state may be fragile due to the rollercoaster ride trying to find an effective course of pain management. Some days you may feel like your pain is improving only to be brought crashing down to Earth again with a bump when you awake a few days later in agony. Some days will be tough. It’s accepting this and focusing on the good days that will prevent you slipping into depression. The negative emotions you may experience will go on to have an even more detrimental effect on your pain.
It’s vital that you have a support network around you of fellow pain sufferers as well as your family and friends. These are the people who will understand you fully. They can offer advice or merely a shoulder to cry on when you are feeling low. Always remember, even in your darkest times, that your pain will improve.
Don’t Give Up
It can be tough when you attend the surgery only to sense a dismissive attitude from a medical professional. Sometimes if a doctor cannot see a conclusive reason for your pain from a test, they will immediately think that it’s all in your head. Not all doctors are like this, but if yours is, it’s time to seek a second opinion. Many doctors will go out of their way, not to find a cure for you, but to help you manage your chronic pain more effectively. Imagine waking up every day with the dullest of aches rather than searing shooting pains. It can be done – you just need the right person to fight your corner.
Although natural medicine and homoeopathy have had a bad press in recent years, with quacks being exposed in the media, it pays to consider alternative medicine. Although you may think that reiki, acupuncture and herbal medicine belongs in the realm of hippy communes, there have been scientific studies into their efficacy. A 2007 medical study proved that acupuncture improved the function and reduced pain levels in patients with lower back pain. If you’re at a loss as to where to go next or are eager to seek new routes to explore for your pain management, you have nothing to lose with trying something a little outside the box.
When you are in the throes of excruciating agony, it can be difficult to think about anything else other than seeking a little pain relief. However, every day you should put aside a few minutes to keep a record of your pain. In addition to this, you should jot down how many hours sleep you had the previous night, what your diet has consisted of that day and how much exercise (if any) you have taken. By doing this, you may find that patterns emerge showing you some potential triggers for your pain. Does a certain food make your ache worse? Is your pain relieved a little when you go for a light jog? Take responsibility for your pain management and do everything in your power to understand how your body reacts to external factors.
Even though you may be in pain, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself once in a while. Head out to a spa, have a massage, enjoy a makeover and keep up with your hobbies. If you have always loved painting, join an art class. If you have always wanted to learn Japanese, enrol in a language course. It’s vital that you push forward in life and keep looking towards the future. By taking part in activities that you love, you’ll be promoting the release of endorphins, your body’s natural pain relievers.
The management of chronic pain is unique to each individual that is afflicted by it. For those who don’t suffer from it, it can be difficult to fully understand the trials and tribulations that some people must endure every day of their lives. Remember it is still up to you to find the motivation to get up in the morning and enjoy life’s little nuggets of joy.