What is chronic pain
Before we can explore chronic pain management we first need an understanding of what chronic pain is.
However, it is not the easiest condition to explain.
The only thing that makes chronic pain stand out is how long it lasts.
Definitions vary, but chronic pain will typically last 12 weeks or more. If pain persists more than 6 months it is almost certainly chronic.
The issue is, that the underlying causes of the pain can be very varied.
Chronic Pain Management – The underlying causes
Life would be so much simpler if there was a single cause. But the truth is there are a variety of factors that can contribute to chronic pain.
Not only that, but the symptoms can vary from mild to severe. And the condition can come in waves or gnaw away at you in the background almost constantly.
Two of the most common triggers for chronic pain include past injuries or past health conditions.
Injuries or past surgeries may have led to possible nerve damage. Whereas previous health conditions such as stress or migraines can have the effect of causing a downward spiral.
In fact, anything that disrupts your normal daily pattern can have an adverse impact on your health. Especially conditions that mean you get poor or inadequate sleep or cause you to eat too much or drink excessively.
And there is a general consensus that your emotional state can contribute to your symptoms. People with mild or severe depression often suffer from chronic pain. And it goes without saying, that this, in turn, can lead to a downward spiral.
On some occasions, the condition is related to very specific causes. In particular, arthritis and fibromyalgia are at the root of the problem.
Tips for dealing with chronic pain
The first thing to keep in mind is that you will need to be patient. There isn’t always an outright cure for chronic pain, so management of the condition is the key to a much better quality of life.
The good news is, that there are very specific things you can do that will help alleviate the pain.
First of all, try to cut back on or eliminate the bad stuff. Not surprisingly, smoking and excess alcohol (the usual culprits) will not help your cause. They can also have a negative impact on sleep and energy levels. So try and clean up your lifestyle where you can.
The next thing to do is to reduce and manage, as far as possible, your stress levels. We all have challenges in our daily lives, that is almost unavoidable. But managing stress has a lot to do with adopting positive and beneficial coping strategies.
Gentle aerobic exercise, walking in nature or mindfulness are all good ways to reduce and cope with stress. Try and start incorporating at least one of these into your daily schedule.
And finally, consider using hands-on therapies to help ease the pain. Massage, in particular, can help relieve muscle tension, release endorphins and greatly reduce stress.
Chronic pain management requires some thought and effort on your behalf, but the results are always worth the investment.