Chronic pain is never easy to live with — in order to function with chronic pain, you need to have an incredible and commendable amount of strength and resolve. Even with the ability to live with chronic pain, managing it can sometimes be a challenge, especially over a long period of time. Whether you have a chronic pain condition, you’re waiting on treatment for an injury or you’re still in the process of getting a diagnosis, here are some of the many different techniques you can use to manage chronic pain.
Many people knock the idea of meditation before they try it for themselves, but meditation actually can help manage chronic pain. Even if you can only sit and meditate for a few minutes, taking a bit of time to relax and breathe can have a calming effect on the whole system. Meditation may simply be a great way to calm the mind, and even that can be a great practice.
2. Distract Yourself
Even though many people might not like the idea of distraction immediately, it can actually be exactly what you need sometimes. Especially with a sensation like physical pain, getting your mind off of the sensations of your body can be exactly what you need to get through particularly tough days. Try watching a movie or calling a friend!
3. Eat Clean
Pain can make you want to turn to junk food quickly, and it’s easy to understand why. While there’s always room for a bit of comfort food in moderation, eating a clean diet of nourishing foods with vitamins and minerals can help you feel better in your body — even if it isn’t directly related to the pain, it might improve your overall experience.
4. Try Gentle Movement
There will be people who want to tell you that hardcore, intense exercise can solve everything — and while CrossFit and hot yoga may work for some, they definitely won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, especially within the chronic pain conversation. However, practicing a bit of gentle movement can actually be very soothing to the system. Activities like water exercise can be soothing to the system and easy on the joints and muscles, and nature walks and light stretching can be extremely soothing both on the mind and body.
5. Try Therapy
Taking care of your mental health can be an important part of caring for your overall health. Chronic pain can cause all kinds of mental health implications, from anxiety to depression or simply complex feelings on your experience, and it can be helpful to have someone to talk to. Plus, when you heal the mind, your physical healing can become a more primary focus.
If you’re looking for applied physical remedies, acupuncture can be a great avenue to try if you haven’t before. Acupuncture tends to toe the line between holistic and western medicine, and while some western medicine doctors don’t endorse acupuncture as a treatment for chronic pain, there is significant evidence to suggest that acupuncture can improve symptoms of pain in a variety of conditions.
7. Get Enough Sleep Each Night
There are plenty of active practices that can help you manage your chronic pain, but there is one very important restful practice that has shown a consistent impact on health overall — sleep, of course! In order to have enough energy to heal and even get through the day, it’s important to get enough sleep each night — usually around eight hours, though you may need more rest depending on your specific body and health situation.
8. Address Other Health Conditions
The body is a system of functions that work with one another — and that means that everything is connected. Whether you know the root of your chronic pain or you’re still in the process of understanding it completely, addressing other health conditions that you’re dealing with can improve your overall experience in your body. Even if you don’t have health conditions that directly contribute to your chronic pain, having fewer physical health obstacles to scale can give you more space to focus on healing and managing your chronic pain.
9. Try Yoga
You may have a previous impression already in your head of what it means to practice yoga, but there is so much more to yoga than flexibility on Instagram. Yoga is all about centering yourself and finding moments of calm relaxation, both mentally and physically. Really, it’s all about finding a yoga class that works for you.
Managing Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be a difficult hurdle to overcome, but managing it on a daily basis is about finding the methods that work for you. Everyone will have their own preferences and needs, and you may find that there are a few techniques that help you. From a bit of healthy distraction to changing your diet and sleep patterns, you can find the balance you need to carry you through.