Tips for Managing Chronic Pain and Illness: Coping Strategies and Treatment Options, How to Stay Positive and Motivated

Over 20% of adults in America experience chronic pain. Chronic pain can be debilitating and affect every aspect of a person's life. There aren't always treatment options to fix the underlying issue, so many people simply need to manage their pain.

Keep reading for tips to help you manage chronic pain.

Reduce Stress

You've probably heard this before, but reducing stress will help you manage your chronic pain. Anxiety, depression, stress, and even anger can increase your body's sensitivity to pain. By managing your stress and emotions you can experience some relief.

Finding the best way to relieve stress will depend on your personality and needs. Many people find soothing music a good way to destress and relax. There are even apps and soundtracks specifically made to help you relax by helping to lower your heart rate.

Mental imagery relaxation is also a great way to help you calm down and feel more at peace. This technique involves creating calming images in your mind while progressively relaxing your muscles.

One of the most common relaxation techniques is deep breathing and meditation. These techniques help your body relax while allowing tension to seep out of your muscles.

Deep breathing makes you focus intensely on how you breathe, leaving no room for stress and worries to plague your thoughts. Deep breathing exercises are often paired with meditation to help you destress.

Everyone meditates differently, but repetition is the core of meditation. Focusing on your breathing and clearing your mind of your worries, while focusing on a specific action or thought will help your body relax. While you can meditate by yourself, joining a few meditation classes might be useful until you've gotten the hang of it.

Stay Active and Engaged

When you're constantly in pain it's easy to pull away from the things happening in your life and hole up somewhere. While it might feel helpful to lie down when you're in pain, you can't let your life pass you by. While flare-ups and extreme bouts of pain need to be handled with care, in general, you need to try and stay active.

Going out with friends and going on adventures will not only liven up your day-to-day life, but by staying engaged you'll be distracted from your pain. Spending time with people you like and doing activities you enjoy will highlight the good aspects of your life. Isolating yourself won't do you any good, so rather focus on staying positive and enjoying life.

Starting a hobby or sport can be a great way to get you out of the house and connect with people again. You don't need to pick physically draining activities, simply find something that brings you joy even when you're in pain.

Diet and Alcohol

The food you eats determines how well your body can fight inflammation. A lot of chronic pain is caused or worsened by inflammation, your diet can either reduce the inflammation in your body or contribute to increased systemic inflammation.

Your diet supports your immune system, so you need to fuel it the right way. Your immune system reacts to an unhealthy diet in a similar way as it would to a bacterial infection.

When it comes to alcohol, you should do your best to avoid it completely. While alcohol might momentarily dull the pain, alcohol consumption may make a pain condition worse. Add that to the fact that alcohol and pain medication shouldn't be mixed and you'll find you're better off without that glass of wine.

Track Your Pain and Activities

Keeping a pain diary can be incredibly helpful, not only to you but to your doctor as well. In this dairy, you need to log your daily "pain score" as well as any activities you did. You can also track your diet in this journal.

After a few weeks, you can take a look at the dairy and see if there are any correlations between your pain and the activities you did. You might find some foods cause your pain levels to change, or certain activities might affect how you rate your pain.

This diary can give your doctor insight into how it is to live with your condition. This can help them formulate a treatment strategy that works for you.

Consult a Professional

While many people deal with chronic pain and illnesses on a daily basis, it isn't supposed to be like that. There are various tests medical professionals can do to try and determine where your pain is coming from.

If you've gone for tests and there aren't treatment options, you should speak to your doctor to find ways to manage the pain. This includes talking to mental health professionals to help you handle the physical and psychological repercussions of your condition.

Pain management is also something you need to discuss with your doctor. While many people don't want to use chronic medication if they can help it, if you're dealing with chronic pain it is something you need to consider. You might need to try a few options to find the best fit for managing your pain with medication.

Manage Your Chronic Pain

Managing chronic pain isn't always a straightforward process. You need to try various treatment options as well as coping strategies until you find a combination that works for you. Staying positive and motivated through this process can be difficult, but if you use these tips and tricks you can start to manage your pain.

Contact us today to get started managing your pain. At Southwest Pediatric and Family Care, we believe in providing excellent evidence-based healthcare and listening empathetically to our patients’ needs.

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