Identifying and Managing Chronic Pain
Nearly 100 million Americans experience chronic pain, more than those who have diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. Pain is your body’s alarm system. Pain tells you something is wrong and needs attention. Living with chronic pain can be debilitating and adversely affect everyday life. Understanding more about your underlying causes of pain can help improve treatments and alleviate suffering.
The goal of chronic pain management is to help you have the best function and quality of life possible. Together, you and your providers can develop a plan that places you in control. Putting yourself in charge helps you manage chronic pain better.
Here are techniques that, when used consistently and together, may help manage chronic pain.
- Stretch, practice good posture and move gently. Try full body stretches or gentle yoga for about 10 to 15 minutes daily.
- Stay active. An activity routine, as recommended by your health care provider, can strengthen muscles, improve mood, and distract from pain.
- Reduce stress and practice relaxation techniques. This can include the use of relaxed breathing, muscle relaxation, or mindfulness. Smartphone applications that focus on relaxation and mindfulness can be useful for this.
- Pace yourself. Doing too much or too little can increase pain. Daily planning with a balance of daily tasks, recreation, and other responsibilities can help with structure and routine. Taking breaks before the pain level is too high can decrease the frustration that may happen with a pain flare.
- Maintain a positive outlook by scheduling enjoyable activities. Managing pain often means creating opportunities to be positive. Taking part in enjoyable activities has been shown to decrease the effects of pain signals in the body.
- Stay connected with others. Spending time with friends and family, in-person or via video chat, can decrease focus on pain.
- Get the sleep you need. Poor sleep often can worsen pain. Good sleep hygiene, relaxation techniques, and a calming nighttime routine can improve sleep.
These tools along with the team from the Magruder Pain Management Clinic can help ease your pain and allow you to live in as much comfort as possible. Ask your physician for a referral today or call us at 419-732-3972 for an appointment.