Across the United States, millions of individuals struggle with chronic pain. Pain can arise from poor posture, workplace accidents, vehicle crashes, and sports-related injuries, according to Dr. Narinder Grewal, a pain management expert & physician.
Over time, pain symptoms can rob people of their mobility and function, creating hardships that may be difficult to overcome. The practice of pain management medicine is a solution for many people in the U.S. and beyond. From simple spinal injections and pain medications to drug-delivery pumps, neurostimulator devices, and corrective surgeries, the range of treatment options allows patients to regain lost mobility, giving them the ability to lead healthier, happier lives free of debilitating pain.
There are many other options available to those struggling with chronic pain. In this guide, we’ll present some of the leading tips on living with chronic pain, helping people to achieve favorable outcomes in conjunction with professional medical care.
Tip 1: Meditation and Relaxation
In several published studies, the role of mental health therapies has shown great promise in helping people with chronic pain reduce or even eliminate their symptoms. Meditation and relaxation techniques, including deep breathing exercises, can be done anywhere, and are some of many techniques collected under the term “mental health therapies. They work to create a relaxed environment for muscles, releasing the tension that may cause or aggravate existing pain sources. These therapies may be used by themselves or in conjunction with other treatment options.
Tip 2: Stress Reduction
It has been known for decades that stress is detrimental to health. For chronic pain sufferers, stress can aggravate the pain, leading to lost mobility, depression, and reliance on powerful medications. Stress-elimination training, including counseling and stress-fighting activities, has been shown to help patients deal with their pain in a safer manner than prescription medicines.
Tip 3: Exercise
Related to stress reduction is the role of exercise in beating chronic pain. While patients with severe pain conditions may not be able to hit the gym and work out, even low-impact activities like walking can release pain-fighting endorphins that block pain signals in the brain. Exercise has many other benefits, too, including weight management and controlling blood sugar levels. Dropping those extra pounds may even improve patient outcomes, especially for those with lower back and spinal pain.
Tip 4: Quit Smoking and Drinking
Alcohol use, even in moderation, can interfere with natural sleep cycles. In several studies, poor sleep habits were shown to worsen the symptoms of chronic pain. Getting great natural sleep is key in healing, and alcohol can create problems in attaining that critical sleep. Smoking, of course, is bad for people on many levels. The chemicals in cigarettes can cause circulation problems, aggravating pain symptoms. By eliminating alcohol and tobacco use, patients may experience a substantial improvement in pain levels and duration.
Tip 5: Massage
Under the hands of a certified massage therapist, patients with chronic pain report an improvement in symptoms. Massage releases tension in the muscles of the joints and back, lessening some of the torsional forces that cause pain. Massage also helps to release pain-blocking endorphins. Gentle massage is the key to recovery in most people.
Tip 6: Yoga and/or Stretching
Just like exercise, practicing yoga or stretching can release endorphins, blocking pain signals. These therapies can also improve mobility, which is sometimes lost as a result of long-term pain conditions. Stretching and yoga should be done under the care of a certified professional and only after speaking to your physician about the benefits of these therapies instead of or in addition to traditional pain management treatments.
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