Chronic pain often accompanies disability. Whether it’s from the result of aging on your body, or from injuries or illnesses of the past, those of us who suffer from chronic pain find ourselves stuck in a cycle of misery.
Chronic pain can reduce your quality of life to such an extent that you may find yourself sinking into depression and despair, fearing the cycle is endless. But there are many ways to reduce your pain and regain control of your life.
Perhaps the most important step you can take to manage pain is to reduce your stress. That may sound easier to do than it really is, but it’s worth the effort. Stress intensifies the body’s sensitivity to pain. Most of us know that worrying makes our pain worse. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help just to say “don’t worry, be happy!” Instead, try using standard stress-reduction techniques like massage, meditation, and relaxation exercises. If you haven’t tried these “tried and true” forms of stress reduction, they really can work. There are some other things you can try too.
Music or art therapy may not feel comfortable to you at first, but for some people, they can really help. At times, subconscious thoughts have an impact on the level of pain we feel. Music or art therapy can help identify some of those thoughts and develop strategies for coping with them, and that can help reduce your pain.
Distraction is a proven method of dealing with pain. When you find something that holds your attention, your pain fades into the background. The funny thing about pain is that when it is relentless and we can’t ignore it, that’s when we find we can’t cope with it. If we can get a break from it now and then, we can handle it better.
If you feel you are at least somewhat in control over your pain, you can tolerate it better so be involved in your treatment options. Look at different ways of coping and be open to trying new things. If they help, fine, keep using them. If they don’t, then move on and look at other things. Reclaiming your life is your responsibility. Taking charge of your pain rather than letting it control you, is the first step in overcoming chronic pain.