Chronic pain is an unwanted companion that interferes with everyday life and puts bodily and mental health at risk. Whether it is brought on by illnesses or injuries, living with chronic pain may be stressful.
Regardless of the reason, chronic pain may affect almost every aspect of your life. In addition to physical discomfort, it can make it difficult for you to engage in everyday activities and work as you once did and affect your relationships, resulting in loneliness, frustration, and anxiety.
Individuals with chronic pain are exposed to higher levels of cortisol than others. Elevated cortisol levels can severely affect the human body, leading to health conditions like heart problems, diabetes, and cancer.
The endless pain and its possibility of limited independence can leave people searching for efficient coping mechanisms to enhance their quality of life.
In this piece, you will find a variety of suggestions to deal with chronic pain on your path to a more tolerable and rewarding existence. Although chronic pain might be daunting, it can be managed through learning new strategies to find relief.
1- Consider Herbal Medicine Options
Studies show that cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol are useful for chronic pain management in individuals with chronic pelvic pain, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, and multiple sclerosis spasticity. Chronic non-malignant pain is the most commonly reported reason for cannabis usage in medicine in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands.
Your healthcare provider may suggest cannabis (marijuana) to help you deal with chronic pain; however, you will need the document for that, called a medical marijuana (MMJ) card, which allows you to purchase marijuana from state-approved dispensaries. The good thing is you do not need to step out of your home and can get your MMJ card online to get your hands on cannabis in different forms, including sprays, pills, oral solutions, oils, and topical creams for pain management.
2- Minimize Stress In Your Life
Stress and pain are intertwined – interacting and influencing one another. No one of us would prefer to struggle with any of these two throughout our lives!
Negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, anger, and depression can boost the sensitivity of your body to pain, making a vicious cycle.
Learning to manage your stress levels can help alleviate your pain. Incorporate some relaxation methods into a routine to promote relaxation.
Consider meditation techniques such as mindfulness and yoga. Some people can reduce pain through meditation. How? According to research, meditation activates neural networks that reduce pain sensitivity and increase the production of the brain’s painkilling opioids. Try deep breathing exercises. They help familiarize the brain with a pleasant response, lessening pain. Breathing exercises relieve the highly anxious state of your brain, calming the nervous system and lowering heart rate, blood pressure, and pain perception.
If you are stressed out about how your pain has affected your life, your health may deteriorate. One of the finest strategies to cope with the pain is to keep yourself busy with things you enjoy the most. Whether painting, reading a book, watching movies, shopping, or talking to a loved one, do what makes you relax.
3- Maintain A Nutritious Diet
A vital part of managing chronic pain is maintaining your diet. The quality of what you consume impacts many aspects of your health, including how you experience pain. A nutritious, well-balanced diet can help strengthen your immune system, lower inflammation, and improve overall well-being.
Including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, such as fruits and vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids-rich, can be extremely helpful for managing chronic pain. Foods high in B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin D are also beneficial for pain relief, specifically chronic and neuropathic pain.
Moreover, stay hydrated because dehydration can make your pain worse. Be sure to consume the recommended quantity of liquids (3.7L for men and 2.7L for women), which may include water and fresh fruit juices.
4- Incorporate Regular Physical Activity Into Your Routine
Immobility or bed rest for more than two days can have detrimental effects.
When someone is in pain, their immediate response can be to rest and avoid doing anything. Exercise, however, can be a significant pain management strategy. It offers a variety of advantages for people experiencing chronic pain.
- Physical activity helps your body produce endorphins, which are the chemicals that prevent the brain from receiving pain signals.
- It increases the flexibility of your joints. Therefore, joints with a full range of motion have the lowest likelihood of developing aches and pains.
- Regular exercise reduces stress hormones, which improves the quality of life.
Whether it is as simple as walking or running for 20 minutes, ensure incorporating physical activity into your routine to help alleviate your pain. However, if you want to start any particular type of exercise, consult your doctor about the suitable ones for your chronic pain.
5- Consider Joining A Support Group
Support groups are incredibly helpful for people trying to manage chronic pain.
Dealing with constant pain can be isolating and stressful, and support groups provide a sense of connection and empathy that is hard to find elsewhere. These communities offer an opportunity for discussing experience, coping mechanisms, and emotional support.
You will get to interact with individuals who are dealing with similar difficulties. Through this journey, you will gain new perspectives on managing chronic pain and find that you are not alone in this struggle.
6- Track your activities and pain level every day
Tracking your regular activities and pain levels allows you to identify triggers and changes, allowing a better understanding of how particular situations or activities affect your pain.
When you know which activities increase or alleviate your pain, you can make your lifestyle adjustments accordingly and discuss with your healthcare provider to get a modified pain-management plan and medication if required.
7- Quit smoking and alcohol
Smoking does not show symptoms immediately; however, it may worsen your pain over time. Smokers are almost three times more likely to experience lower back pain. It may also worsen joint pain and abdominal pain. In fact, it aggravates your overall pain sensitivity.
Pain leads to difficulty sleeping, and consuming alcohol can make your sleep issues worse.
If you are suffering from chronic pain, limiting or quitting alcohol and smoking can reduce your pain. We understand that it is impossible to quit abruptly and recommend gradually limiting your intake. If you consume five glasses/cigarettes per day, decrease it to four glasses/cigarettes, then from four to two, and so on.
Living with chronic pain is surely difficult, but with the right tips and support, you can regain control over your life and enhance your overall health. We’ve explored several practical strategies, from adopting healthier lifestyle options to building a support network. With these tips and by remembering that you are not alone in your struggle, you can find your way to improved pain management, resilience, and the most fulfilling life possible. Your life may include chronic pain, but it does not have to be the only aspect of it.