Pain is a reflection that something in your body isn’t right, and once the problem is healed the pain goes away. Chronic pain is different in that the pain lingers for weeks or months after healing has taken place. It can damage not only your physical health, but also your mental health. It can take your quality of life away if you let it. At Texas Pain Network, we offer a whole host of ways to manage chronic pain, and promote healing. However, there are things that you can do in conjunction with our services to not let chronic pain win in your life.
1. Meditation/Deep Breathing
Pain in any form, chronic or not, can be eased if more oxygen is delivered to the muscles. Pain can be eased with deep breathing techniques. Deep breathing stimulates blood flow that sends a message to your body telling it to relax, releasing the tension your muscles are holding. Meditation is a highly effective, well-known, and renowned method of relieving stress and consequently, reducing your chronic pain. If you want to try deep breathing techniques, here’s one from Spinehealth.com to get you started:
- “Try putting yourself in a relaxed, reclining position in a dark room. Either shut your eyes or focus on a point.”
- “Then begin to slow down your breathing. Breathe deeply, using your chest. If you find your mind wandering or you are distracted, then think of a word, such as the word “Relax,” and think it in time with your breathing…the syllable “re” as you breathe in and “lax” as you breathe out.”
- “Continue with about 2 to 3 minutes of controlled breathing.”
2. Stress Control
Because pain is tied to muscle tension, finding ways to reduce your stress level will greatly help in managing your chronic pain. While it doesn’t provide total pain relief, taking control of your stress makes it easier to relax, and thus makes it harder for your chronic pain to flare up. Pain comes from tension in muscles. Stress increases the amount of tension you are holding in your muscles, and therefore makes your chronic pain worse. Some techniques to reduce stress and promote relaxation are:
- Listening to music that relaxes you.
- Reading an enjoyable book.
- Getting a massage.
- Meditation and breathing techniques.
Investing in regular relaxation and making sure your stress is under control is a great way to make living with chronic pain bearable.
3. Exercise/Physical Therapy
Exercise, believe it or not, is a great way to manage chronic pain. It’s easy to think that exercising would make your chronic pain worse, but this is untrue. Exercise stimulates endorphins to flow in your body. Endorphins are brain chemicals that help improve your mood, as well as block pain signals. Exercise also strengthens your muscles, which helps prevent injury (or reinjury) and increases blood flow to the muscles, which stimulates healing.
4. Pacing Yourself
Part of managing your chronic pain is being aware of your body and its state. It may be somewhat frustrating, but you can significantly reduce the severity of your pain by pacing your activity level. On a good day when you’re feeling good, it’s not beneficial to overuse your muscles, and do too much. It’s tempting when you’re feeling good to engage in activities you missed due to chronic pain, but this could make it worse in the days to follow. Pacing your activity level on good days will help your chronic pain level out, and become more manageable for yourself.
Just because you are working on managing your chronic pain doesn’t mean you still can’t do the things you love to do. In fact, continuing your favorite activities (without overdoing it) can serve as a beneficial distraction from your chronic pain. Your mind is a very powerful thing, and thinking about something other than your pain is a great way to manage it.
6. Positive Thinking
Your chronic pain will always seem worse when you focus on the negatives. When you are focused on the improvements you are making in your pain management, and the fact that you are working towards increasing your quality of life, it becomes easier to manage your pain. You will feel a difference in your pain level when you start focusing on the positives because it will put your pain into perspective. Instead of thinking of your pain as an unbearable frustration, think about how well you are doing to manage it.
At Texas Pain Network, our trained medical staff is dedicated to helping you manage your chronic pain. Our goal for you is pain relief. Contact us to learn more about our wide array of services geared toward pain relief and pain management. Get your quality of life back today!