If you struggle with chronic pain, you know how big of a problem it can be. This condition is defined as pain that lasts longer than three months, is present most of the time, and interferes with daily activities.
Chronic pain causes many hurdles, including injuries, illnesses, and prolonged physical, emotional, or social stress. Even during moments when the brain decides when you are in pain, this does not mean the pain is imaginary. For instance, pain is not always caused by a broken or worn-out body part.
Chronic pain can also be caused by the brain reading signals sent from the body and sending signals back to your body. The more signals the brain receives, the more the brain labels the signals as pain, and the more often, the longer the difficulties with pain can last.
Unsurprisingly, everyone experiences pain differently, and many factors can worsen it. These can include stress, depression, anger, anxiety or fear, unhelpful thoughts, isolation, underdoing, and overdoing can create more pain receptors in the human body. Therefore, putting yourself in charge helps you manage chronic pain better.
That’s where chronic pain management comes in.
Through a family medicine physician, chronic pain management helps patients like you regain their regular bodily functions and quality of life. Only you and your providers can create a pain plan that puts you in control, so remember these tried-and-true strategies—when used consistently and together—to help you manage chronic pain:
- Address conditions that greatly contribute to your discomfort. Studies have shown treating mental issues such as anxiety and depression may reduce pain and improve quality of life. Speak with your family medicine physician if you notice difficulties with anxiety or depression.
- Do these relaxation techniques. These include deep breathing, passive or progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness, or a combination. Smartphone and device applications that focus on relaxation and mindfulness can help.
- Get good sleep. Poor sleep often can worsen the pain. Proper sleep, naps, relaxation techniques, and a calming nighttime routine can improve this aspect.
- Go at it at your regular pace. Doing too much or too little can prolong or worsen the pain, depending on your body’s threshold. Planning with balancing daily tasks, recreation, and other responsibilities can help with routine. Take breaks before the pain level is too high, decreasing frustration with a pain flare.
- Keep physically active. An activity routine, preferably recommended by your family medicine physician, can strengthen muscles, improve mood and distract from the pain.
- Keep a positive outlook by doing activities you enjoy. Managing pain often means creating positive opportunities. Taking part in enjoyable activities has decreased the effects of pain signals in the body.
- Maintain good posture through stretching, gentle yoga, or tai chi daily for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Maintain personal relationships by spending time with friends and family, in person or via video chat. These moments decrease focus on the pain.
These self-management tools and appropriate use of over-the-counter medications provide a full treatment plan for persistent pain. If you struggle with any of these, speak with your family medicine physician regarding a comprehensive treatment plan to retake control of your life.
Be Free from Chronic Pain Today
Contact Family Medicine and Wellness to discover alternative methods to pain management. Headed by Dr. Al-Minsky, our family medicine physicians prize effective communication and shared decision-making to reach optimal patient recovery. Learn more about our services, then book an appointment through our website!