Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash
Have you heard of the “Don’t Push Pain” movement? It is a group of patients who are not able to get the medication they need to cope with their chronic pain and are tired of suffering in silence. They rallied on the steps of the Capitol building in mid-September 2018. There are multiple aspects of the opioid epidemic. There are those who, like the example mentioned above, do not feel they are getting the medication they need. Another group of people are the individuals who became addicted to medication designed to help their chronic pain, suffered terribly, and eventually got help through opiate rehab.
No matter your opinion on the opioid epidemic, the truth is that many individuals out there are suffering with chronic pain. While medication has proven to be helpful for some individuals, other therapies or at-home treatments have also proven to be helpful. Here are some techniques you can use to cope with chronic pain.
One of the first things that a person can do when they are experiencing chronic pain is to keep a journal. They want to write down how much pain they experience each day. They can use a 1 to 10 scale in order to judge how much pain they feel. It is a good idea to write down other things in the journal that relate to their pain and their overall health. They could include things like how much exercise they get, the foods they eat, how much stress they experience, and other information. First, this journal may help a person to get a clearer view of why they experience pain. Second, it is helpful when visiting a doctor. The doctor will be able to see in writing how much pain you experience each day as well as learn about your overall lifestyle.
Try to get more exercise. While engaging in physical activity can be challenging for individuals who suffer with chronic pain, it is not helpful to be inactive. The idea is to find some type of physical activity that you can engage in comfortably. It may be as simple as going for a slow-paced walk every evening. Or it could be visiting a local pool a couple of times a week and getting low impact exercise. There are multiple reasons why getting regular exercise can help you to cope with chronic pain. First, chronic pain can often lead to a person gaining weight. This puts extra physical pressure on their body and can lead to emotional distress. Getting regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Second, exercise is good for your muscles and joints, which are often affected by chronic pain. Third, exercise encourages your brain to release endorphins. Endorphins are natural painkillers. This is especially helpful for individuals who are fighting against opiate addiction.
Try to find ways to reduce stress in your life. When a person experiences high levels of stress, this can actually make their body more sensitive to pain. The first step that you should take is to eliminate things in your life that cause you stress. Perhaps it is time to quit your job and find something else. Perhaps it is good idea to cut off a relationship with someone who only brings negativity to your life. The next step is to create an environment where you can better deal with the stress that you can’t eliminate. Use soothing music, calming colors, or even aromatherapy to create a welcoming environment in your home or office.
Many have found that deep breathing exercises can help them manage their chronic pain. This is especially true if the reason why they have chronic pain has to do with their muscles. Deep breathing exercises will relax your muscles and allow your muscles to release the pain that you are experiencing.
It is important to work closely with your doctor when managing chronic pain. Your doctor will help you to determine if medication is the right option for you. They can also tell you about other therapies that can be used to treat your specific type of chronic pain. Many have found that acupuncture and alternative treatments have helped them eliminate their pain or at least minimize it.
It is estimated that one in five individuals in the United States has chronic pain. The techniques that are mentioned above have been able to help many of these individuals minimize their pain and get it under control.