Living with Chronic Pain
Pain significantly impacts our lives
"Something you will know if you live with chronic pain is that it doesn't just affect you physically. It begins to take it's toll on you mentally as well. It affects your mental wellness."
This blog post is meant to provide tips on living with chronic pain- including a list of things you can try to incorporate into your life as well as videos and other resources.
Even if you don't experience chronic pain, applying even just one thing can have an immense impact on your mental wellness and your life. ❤️
Start a meditation practice:
Meditation is a great way to help your body and mind relax. There are many ways to meditate, so building a practice that best fits your needs will be the most helpful. Meditating every day for 20 minutes is ideal, but even just 5-8 minutes can make a difference.
Here is just one helpful video to help walk you through your first meditation practice:
Join a support group:
Being around people who understand and have been through similar experiences can be an empowering relief. Gaining insight into what others are doing to cope, and being there for others can help you realize you are not alone.
Seeing a mental health professional can also help alleviate some of the stress and negative thoughts that can come with living with chronic pain and even make your pain worse.
Release endorphins with exercise:
Strengthening your bones and muscles and releasing endorphins can have a natural pain-relieving and mood-boosting effect and can also help you avoid injury. Depending on the source of your pain, your doctor can recommend beneficial exercises that are safest for you.
Track your pain level and your activities daily:
Getting a better idea of your activities and your daily pain level can help you and your doctor help treat your pain more effectively. Being aware of what activities can trigger the most pain can help you plan your days accordingly.
The Chronic Pain Association provides many resources for managing life with chronic pain including a pain log and Daily Activity Checklist:
Find something you're passionate about and love doing:
Having something you love to do can help distract you from the pain and provide motivation. Finding something that gives you purpose can help you get through the days when motivation isn't quite enough.
Here are a few things you can try, if you're having trouble thinking of something: knitting hats for the homeless and others in need, blogging or writing, getting involved in your local community, volunteering, putting together clothing and food drives, mentorship programs, joining a group that gets together to do various activities in your area, etc.
Learn to reduce/manage stress:
Because things like stress, anger, anxiety, and depression can increase your body's sensitivity to pain, it is important to learn ways to manage your stress. Mindfulness, meditation, cutting back on alcohol and smoking, getting enough sleep, making time for hobbies, and having someone to talk to can all help.
You may find things like Cognitive Behavior Therapy to be helpful. The goal of Cognitive Behavior Therapy is to change patterns of behavior or thinking in order to change the way we're feeling. This can be useful when dealing with negative thoughts, particularly centered around your pain.
There are many resources online for CBT. Here is just one workbook specific to pain management:
- Getting enough sleep:
When experiencing chronic pain, getting enough sleep can be that much more difficult. Meditation, acupuncture, and relaxation techniques can help you fall asleep and get back to sleep on restless nights.
Making sure you cut back on caffeine earlier in the day allows the effects of the caffeine to wear off in enough time for your brain to trigger the chemicals it needs for a good nights' sleep.
Creating a bedtime ritual can also help you feel more tired and ready for bed when it's time to sleep. This can include washing your face, reading for a few minutes, or taking a warm bath.
Visit the Herbal Mana blog for more natural pain relief resources.
“Progress in Biomedical Science Has Advanced Our Understanding of Chronic Pain.” Watch Chronic Pain In Action | Official Website, www.chronicpaindrivers.com/chronic-pain-data.
“11 Tips for Living With Chronic Pain.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/11-tips-for-living-with-chronic-pain#1.