Tips for managing chronic pain
Chronic pain can sneak up on you and become part of your daily routine no matter who you are. It can spread from one part of your body to another making it difficult to live a full life, or just focus on your daily tasks.
Chronic pain comes in many forms including headaches, sinus pain, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and pinched nerves. These are just a few of many issues you that could affect you. Sometimes you may experience pain that affects a certain part of your body, like the neck, pelvis, or back, without a condition to assign it to. Sometimes you may not even be aware that you have had the condition for a long time. Six months or more could go by before you realize how long you have been in pain.
Whether it is mild pain or excruciating, periodic or continuous, chronic pain can have more than just a physical toll on your body. It can be mentally debilitating as well.
The emotional toll of chronic pain can make your pain feel worse and increase your chance of experiencing anxiety, stress, depression, and fatigue. In addition, chronic pain can also have a negative effect on your immune system, lowering your body’s natural defenses.
If you are suffering from chronic pain, here a few tips to help you make it through the day:
Stay hydrated- According to a study from the Mayo Clinic, being dehydrated can aggravate conditions like chronic pain. Make sure you drink plenty of water.
Watch what you eat- It is important to have a healthy and balanced diet because certain foods can actually cause more harm to your body by increasing your pain. There are several foods to avoid that may cause inflammation and make your pain worse. Foods like chocolate, dairy, and citrus could exacerbate your pain. article
Breathing - People in chronic pain often have a fast shallow breathing pattern. Try this breathing technique to help you relax: *Close your eyes and breathe slowly through the back of your throat and straight into your lungs. Exhale slowly counting to 6 or 7. The idea is to take twice as long to exhale as you did to inhale. This type of breathing will help to keep you calm. Do this for three minutes at a time.
Listen to your body- Listen to your body!
While there are some steps you can take at home (we would like it go away without seeking help), it is also important to recognize the longer you wait, the longer it may take to help you feel better. There are options you may want to try before considering prescription medications (that can have many side effects) or surgery.
At our clinic, we have seen many people who have tried “everything” to relieve their chronic pain, some who were on the verge of giving up. You may not be aware of new treatment techniques that are not found in every clinic that can help with chronic pain— we have seen the results. By using a variety of these new holistic techniques along with traditional physical therapy, your life can change dramatically, and become a life you can enjoy.
*Breathing technique taken from Ruth Stanley, OSB, PharmD, MA, FASHP
Holistic Services, Central Minnesota Heart Center