Chronic pain interferes with your daily life, often making it difficult to do the most basic tasks. Keeping your pain under control can ease your discomfort and make your activities more enjoyable. Chronic pain management can vary depending on the underlying causes and your specific situation. The following tips can help you manage your chronic pain, but it's important to work closely with your health care providers to make sure the solutions work for your situation.
Chronic pain typically comes from underlying medical conditions. Keeping those medical issues well-managed with help from your health care provider can help ease your pain or lower the pain levels you experience. Be honest with your doctor about the symptoms you're experiencing, including the intensity of the pain and how often it occurs. Your doctor might have different medication or treatment options available for the underlying cause, which could improve your pain issues.
They might also give you options for addressing the pain specifically. This could include pain medication, but it might also include things like physical therapy or massage. If you're considering alternative pain management techniques, discuss them with your doctor first to ensure they're safe based on your medical background.
When you're in pain, you might want to curl up in bed and avoid doing anything. However, physical activity can help reduce the chronic pain you feel. Find ways to exercise that work with your physical abilities and preferences. This might include easy exercises you can do in your senior living apartment, a walk around the beautifully landscaped grounds of Bethesda Gardens or participating in the available exercise programs. Your doctor can also suggest exercises that might address your specific pain issues.
Your diet can affect how your body feels. Some foods cause an inflammation response, which can make your pain worse. Likewise, some foods might help reduce inflammation in your body, potentially helping you feel better. Some dietary changes that could help include:
Talk with your doctor or a dietitian for a customized dietary plan that meets your specific needs. Improving your diet overall can often help you reduce pain and improve other medical conditions.
Another habit that can help is improving your sleep routines. Getting good sleep can be difficult if you're always in pain, but rest can help ease pain. Look at your sleep habits to see if you're getting enough rest. If you constantly feel tired, improving your sleeping situation could help. Some ways to improve sleep include:
You can also discuss sleep issues with your doctor to look for additional solutions. Your doctor might prescribe a sleep aid to help you get the rest you need.
For many people, feeling overwhelmed by stress can amplify pain. At the same time, being in pain and having health concerns naturally causes stress. Being intentional in dealing with your stress could help keep your chronic pain in check. The key is finding things that help you stress less. For some people, that might mean making time for creative activities or other things they enjoy. Journaling or talking about the stressful things in your life can help you release some of the anxiety. Spending time with people you love or your pets can also help with stress.
Not all chronic pain can be solved with medical or alternative remedies. Learning coping skills can help you get through the pain. Seeing a therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy can give you specific tools to use. Some people try different strategies at home, such as guided meditation or deep breathing techniques. Even prayer can be an effective way to handle chronic pain that also helps deepen your relationship with God. Experimenting with these coping strategies helps you identify the things that make it easier for you to work through your chronic pain.
Chronic pain might come and go, or you might experience more pain at certain times. For instance, you might have more pain at the end of the day or after you do a lot of physical activity. Plan your day around those patterns to minimize how much your pain interrupts your activities. It can also be helpful to spread out your activities and keep your schedule lighter to avoid overdoing it and increasing your pain level. If you notice your pain getting worse when you're doing an activity, consider taking a break to keep the pain from escalating.
Dealing with chronic pain alone can feel isolating and make it difficult to handle. Reach out to your family and friends to get support in your chronic pain journey. You might also find comfort in a support group for other seniors who suffer from chronic pain. This can help you feel less alone, and you might learn about new ways to manage your pain.