Every human who has ever lived has experienced pain in some form or fashion. However, in most cases, pain comes and goes. You twist an ankle and it’s sore for a few days, but then it gets better. You have a headache for a couple of hours and then it goes away. You give birth to a precious baby and you eventually return to normalcy.
The body is designed for healing. Pain is an indication that something is wrong – that some part of the body is under attack. Once that issue is dealt with, the pain goes away and you start to feel normal again. Unfortunately, the underlying cause isn’t always known, or can’t be dealt with in a sufficient manner. In these cases, pain becomes chronic and can last for months or years at a time.
You don’t know what it’s like to live in chronic pain until you experience it firsthand. Not only is there physical pain, but there are emotional side effects of helplessness and despair. You would give anything just to feel better, but nothing seems to help.
At this point, you have decisions to make. Are you going to turn to unhealthy habits and substances to mask the pain? Or are you going to focus on making healthy choices that benefit your mind and body?
6 Safe Ways to Manage Pain
Pain management is a tough topic to tackle, but there’s a lot of good information out there for those willing to learn. While every situation is unique, here are some safe ways you can attempt to manage your chronic pain.
1. Use Medication Sparingly
There is a time and place for pain medication, but you have to be extremely cautious. Doctors have different recommendations on when and how prescription drugs can be taken, but the advice is almost always subjective.
“The truth is, one person could take Oxycodone or another prescription pain medication for two weeks and remain addiction-free, while another might take the same medication for a week and develop an opioid dependency,” Kerry Nenn writes for Rehabs.com. “Everyone’s addiction switches are different.”
2. Exercise as Much as Possible
Exercise plays a critical role in pain management. When you exercise, powerful pain-fighting endorphins are released into your bloodstream and instantly make you feel better. Regular physical activity also strengthens your muscles, improves range of motion, and enhances overall health. Speak with your health team to figure out the safest activities for your condition.
3. Eat Right
A healthy diet is obviously important when it comes to maintaining good overall health, but did you know that the foods you consume could actually have a direct impact on your pain level?
Different foods have the incredible ability to increase or decrease inflammation in the body. By consuming a diet that’s high in the right nutrients, you can help your body feel better.
4. Practice Deep Breathing
Did you know that deep breathing and meditation can be used to ease certain types of chronic pain? Don’t believe it? Give it a try.
“Find a quiet location, a comfortable body position, and block out distracting thoughts,” WebMD suggests. “Then, imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, then let it out, like deflating a balloon.”
5. Get a massage
Massage can help reduce stress and relieve tension — and is being used by people living with all sorts of chronic pain, including back and neck pain.
6. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can make chronic pain worse. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water. Avoid caffeinated drinks, like coffee and tea, as well as alcohol since these beverages will actually make you more dehydrated.
Finding Hope in the Midst of Helplessness
Chronic pain can make you feel helpless, but don’t let your life spiral out of control. With today’s medical innovations and growing body of research, there’s hope that you’ll eventually feel better. Choosing to cling to this hope, rather than wallow in despair, will provide you with a much-needed boost.