Steps to Managing Chronic Pain

Most of us will unfortunately experience some degree of pain in our lives. If I had one wish, it would be that nobody would suffer from the agony of chronic pain. Indeed, many of us will in our lifetime, and still many of us will feel lost and alone in a world that doesn’t understand this unexplainable pain.

Although there are many types of chronic pain, it is often true with any kind of chronic pain, that a multidisciplinary approach is necessary. A combination of patient education, medications, rehabilitation, and psychosocial counseling is generally the best approach.

Here are three basic tips for managing chronic pain. Each step is equally important in managing the pain, through every aspect of our lives.

The First process is to respect the pain. Because chronic pain requires many office visits, it is important to find a physician who understands you, your pain, and your condition. Patients often find themselves without adequate care, or having their complaints dismissed by their doctors. The patient and the doctor must be willing to educate themselves as much as possible. Little is known about what causes chronic pain, because it often occurs in the absence of ongoing illness or disease.

The Second stage is to recognize the psychosocial aspects of pain. Chronic pain has the ability to control your life. Every sufferer should be constantly taking steps to prevent this. Studies show that two thirds of patients with chronic pain have coexisting symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many patients get discouraged after countless doctor visits, and a myriad of diagnostic tests, and become a victim of their pain. They fall into what is called the sick role. The sick role can have positive benefits such as extra attention, sick leave, and sympathy from others. The negative effects are usually quite debilitating though, including isolation and feelings of worthlessness.

Fortunately there are some things that you can do to manage chronic pain and avoid the sick role.

Stay Active It is important for everybody to stay active. Physical therapy focusing on reconditioning, stretching, and pain reduction modalities (e.g. ice, heat, ultrasound, etc.) can have a drastic effect on mood and a feeling of accomplishment towards pain management.

Focus on Others Being active in the community, staying in touch with friends and family, and volunteer activities can help to keep your mind turned towards others and off of your pain.

Accept your Pain Don’t deny or exaggerate your pain. If you need help, don’t feel ashamed to ask for it. If you avoid doing things you can do, make an effort to do those things.

Stay Healthy Getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, and emitting alcohol, tobacco, and drug use from your life can have amazing affects on your pain.

The Final step to treating chronic pain involves different methods of attack. It is important that you know the treatment options available to you. Be clear when speaking to your doctor, and discuss your choices. Let them know if you are willing to try alternative forms of therapy or treatment, such as massage, chiropractic, acupressure, acupuncture, etc. Another important thing you will discuss is your options of medication. There are many medications available such as neuropathic, psychiatric, and pain medications.

It is always important to remember that you are not alone. There is a world full of people suffering from chronic pain, and there other people and doctors that understand what you are going through. It is crucial that you continue to take steps toward a total recovery and in finding long term pain management techniques that work for you.

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