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Tips to Manage Chronic Pain- An Inside Scoop

June 1, 2022

Tips to Manage Chronic Pain- An Inside Scoop

Living with chronic pain is no small feat. We know living with chronic pain provides many difficulties and frustrations. Chronic pain can interfere with your social life, work life, and even your regular, everyday activities. We at the Pain Management Center of Houston want to help ease your burden of living with chronic pain in any way we can. Try out some of these tips to help manage your chronic pain.  

Deep breathing and meditation

Some people who suffer from chronic pain find relief with deep breathing and meditation techniques.  Description of it. Deep breathing and meditation may be beneficial for a few reasons. It can help relax you. It can also be used as a positive distraction. During pain flare ups, if you are able to focus on deep breathing or use meditation to clear your mind, you may be able to bring your mind to not focus so much on the pain. Deep breathing and meditation can also reduce some of the symptoms of anxiety and stress that you may be having due to your chronic pain such as shallow rapid breathing, dizziness, and pain. Though deep breathing and meditation will not take away your chronic pain, they may help your mind focus on other things and help you come to a more relaxed state.     

Stretch 

Stretching can help relieve pain for people as well. By stretching the muscles in your body, you may be less stiff, have an increased range of motion, and be better able to move around. Stretching can loosen up your muscles and tendons and help them work more functionally. Improving your mobility and flexibility in many areas of the body can help with pain in other areas as all of the muscles and tendons are connected in the body in one way or another.

Good posture 

Bad posture can have a negative impact on even those who do not struggle with chronic pain. If your posture is not correct, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons in the body may be strained and stressed. By practicing good posture and being mindful of it, you can put your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons in the best alignment possible which may help alleviate some of your chronic pain. 

Stay active  

Finding a way to stay active and prioritize movement can be very helpful for chronic pain. While your chronic pain may limit exactly what kind of exercise you can do and/or how long you can do it, the endorphins that go to the brain when exercising can help provide relief from chronic pain. Endorphins can improve your mood while also blocking some of your pain signals. Another added benefit is exercise can strengthen your muscles which can help improve your overall physical fitness and reduce the likelihood of injury. Walking and swimming are two low-impact options that may be good for people with chronic health conditions. For a specific recommendation on the best type of exercise for you and your chronic pain, contact us.        

Prioritize Sleep 

Getting quality sleep is difficult for many people living with chronic pain. Even so, it is important to try and prioritize your sleep as getting quality sleep may help decrease your chronic pain. If getting quality sleep is already difficult due to your chronic pain, connect with us or consider seeing a sleep specialist to see what you can do to get better sleep.  

Eliminate factors that decrease sleep quality  

While sleep is already difficult for many people who struggle with chronic pain, there are some things you can do to sleep better at night. Eliminate other factors that may hinder your sleep such as alcohol and screentime. Alcohol consumption may cause poor sleep quality and duration, so drinking less or no alcohol may help you get more restful sleep, even if your chronic pain makes restful sleep difficult. You may also consider less screen time before bed to ensure more restful sleep.   

Eat healthy 

Fuel your body with food. Certain foods have better nutrients and antioxidants than others do that will help your body fight off the inflammation that may decrease your chronic pain. According to research, a lot of chronic pain is caused by inflammation and your diet and the food you consume can help increase or decrease the inflammation in your body.  Because of this, being conscious of what type of foods you are putting in your body can be very helpful. Foods rich in antioxidants like greens, berries, and dark chocolate may reduce inflammation.

Massage 

Some people find chronic pain relief with a massage treatment. Getting massages may reduce chronic pain as it can reduce pain, tension, stress, and aid in relaxation. Massages aim to increase healing and disrupt the pain messages nerves send to the brain. Additionally, endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine are released during massages. Much like during exercise, these feel-good chemicals can help your body feel good.  

Pace yourself

It is important to pace yourself. As much as you may want to live your life exactly as you did before your diagnosis, that is no longer the reality of your situation. Do not overdo it and look for the signs your body is giving you that you need extra rest. This may mean saying no to friends or family and, instead, opting for a more relaxed day. Learning to pace yourself can be another great coping mechanism that can help decrease pain flare-ups as it prioritizes giving your body the rest it needs. 

Connect 

Connect with others. Be vulnerable with your support system and communicate with them about how they can help you. Even something as simple as being able to tell your partner when you need a break or giving them certain household activities that increase your pain can be very helpful. Connect with others with chronic pain, too. While learning of a shared or similar experience will not make your own pain go away, there is strength and even some peace in knowing you are not alone. Find chronic pain support groups and learn of others’ experiences with their pain and tips they have found that help them manage it.

While completely eliminating your chronic pain is not something we can promise, it is our goal to help you best manage and alleviate your chronic pain in order to improve your overall quality of life.  If you have questions about any of these tips or would like to schedule an appointment for an in-office visit, contact us at the Pain Management Center of Houston today.