Whether it’s from an injury, an illness or an unidentified cause, chronic pain is something many of us live with, and it can be truly debilitating. But the pain doesn’t have to control your life. Wherever it is in your body, here are four ways to manage and relieve chronic pain.
Many people who suffer with chronic pain try to avoid movement and exercise. This is understandable, but it’s also counterproductive. Staying active is an important part of keeping our bodies and minds healthy. Keeping yourself moving will prevent you from becoming too stiff and keep your muscles and bones strong, so it will stop the pain from becoming worse and can even relieve it. To whatever extent you’re able, start exercising. Choose low-impact exercises that won’t make your pain worse, like walking, swimming, stretching or using an exercise bike. Even if all you can manage on a particular day is a short walk, that’s better than nothing. Exercise for short periods frequently rather than doing big sessions on good days, to keep yourself more consistently active and avoid straining yourself.
Physiotherapy isn’t just for serious injuries, it can be extremely helpful for most people dealing with chronic pain in any part of their body. Seeing a physical therapist might involve stretching and pain-relief exercises, as well as advice about exercise and activity to do at home and how to adjust your work or home environment to accommodate for your pain. This will relieve pain, make daily tasks easier, and help you learn to move better so that you can prevent pain and further injuries.
Manage stress levels
Living with persistent pain is stressful, but stress, anxiety and depression can make you more sensitive to pain. This tends to become a vicious cycle. To break it, try to manage your stress levels using stress management methods. Some ways to relax and relieve anxiety include listening to calming music, meditating, performing breathing exercises, taking a hot bath, or reading a good book. Just give yourself time to shut off and breathe, taking care of both your mental and physical health in the process.
Get a massage
Massages can relieve all sorts of pain. If you can afford it and it’s accessible to you, go to a professional massage therapist to get a treatment tailored to your needs and your pain. A professional massage can relieve pain by interrupting the pain signals your body sends to your brain, repairing damaged muscle fibers, decreasing muscle tension, promoting relaxation, and increasing range of motion. This can be done alongside physiotherapy to tackle your pain in different ways at once. You can also ask loved ones like a partner or a family member to massage you at home. It might not be as effective as the massage you’d get from an expert, but it will still feel good and is likely to have a positive effect on your pain, especially if your loved one does some research on massage methods beforehand.
Living with chronic pain is hard, but not impossible. Doing these four things will make it easier.