One in five Americans currently suffers from chronic pain. Unfortunately, about 19.6 million of those people experience debilitating discomfort that wreaks havoc on their daily lives. For those anxious to know if chronic aches and pains will eventually be their cross to bear, certain groups are more at risk for developing chronic pain, including elderly folks, women, impoverished populations, and Americans living in rural areas.
Quite understandably, constant aches can severely impact your quality of life. It’s common for chronic pain to tank your sense of motivation, cause sleeping issues, and even strain your relationships. The disease can take a significant toll on your mind, drain your self-esteem, and increase your stress levels, resulting in anxiety, anger, and depression—just to name a few psychological impacts. Desperate to heal the pain responsible for sleepless nights and debilitating depressive episodes? Step into the driver’s seat and regain control of your mental health with these few simple steps.
Learn how to cope with chronic back pain
Back pain, in particular, can complicate your quality of life. In addition to diminishing your confidence, it may cause mood swings and self-imposed isolation. The latter distances you from loved ones, negatively affecting your friendships and familial connections.
The good news is that you can employ various methods to treat your back pain. For example, you may try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs to mitigate any unnecessary strain. Utilizing this position will also keep your spine in a neutral setting and drastically improve your slumber. Other techniques, such as correcting your posture, visiting a physical therapist, and obtaining a prescription for pain medication from your doctor, can work wonders too.
Eliminate other stressors
Since chronic pain is a monstrous source of stress all on its own, you should try to rid your life of any—if not all—extra stress. Heightened stress levels can spell disaster for chronic pain sufferers, given that they intensify your symptoms if not handled correctly.
Once you take stock of your notable (and recurring) stressors, devise a strategy to remove them from your daily routine. If you’re struggling to do so, consider seeing a therapist or licensed counselor. A mental health professional will be able to aid in your quest to minimize stress. Several psychotherapy styles have had success in treating chronic pain, including techniques like biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Being diagnosed with any illness can be terrifying and daunting. It’s easy to become paralyzed by the unknown, especially when you’re in a constant state of pain. Combat this panic by springing into action and researching your condition thoroughly.
Educating yourself will arm you with the knowledge necessary to assume responsibility for your treatment plan effectively. You can also initiate a conversation about emotional health with your physician or specialist if they don’t bring it up first. In addition to developing positive outlooks, patients who take charge of their care are more likely to experience relief.
Try mind-body activities
Mindfulness can teach you to unwind and tune into your mental and physical power. Practices include—but are not limited to—meditation, yoga, and tai chi.
The idea is that mind-body activities allow you to move past the dread of imminent pain. After defeating this fear-based mentality, you’re free to live in the present and focus on feeling your best.
Make sure to exercise
Physical exercise upgrades your overall health and lowers pain levels by releasing endorphins. These mood-enhancing chemicals boost your mindset and act as natural pain relievers.
Luckily, you don’t need to overexert yourself to reap the benefits. Even light activities like walking have been linked with better health and decreased pain. If you’re not sure where to begin, speak with your doctor or physical therapist. It’s always smarter to start slowly before working your way up to a more intense regimen.
Find a support group
Enduring the discomfort of chronic pain can leave you alienated and alone, unable to cope. It’s essential to counter these emotions by connecting with people who find themselves in a similar situation. One of the best ways to build your community is to seek a support group for patients dealing with your specific sickness or ailment.
There are various options to choose from based on your availability, lifestyle, and primary goals. Some groups frequently meet online, while others occasionally meet in person. Regardless of where you land, a support group will encourage you to share your story with others and exchange pertinent information.
Before you go
Untreated chronic pain can leave patients plummeting into a sinkhole of depression and anxiety. However, what seems your inevitable doom may be the byproduct of a defeatist attitude. That said, advocate for your mental well-being by taking the steps mentioned above.
Want to know more?
For people suffering from different kinds of chronic pain, it may seem like a dark, deep rabbit hole. That said, it may be interesting to note that many people are increasingly taking to CBD oil for pain management.