Having chronic pain is something you can’t truly understand until it starts affecting you. While you might have been generally sympathetic of course to those who suffered with chronic pain, until you begin to feel it yourself you can’t comprehend how much it can affect your life – how much it can prevent you from enjoying the things you normally do, how hard it can be to get to sleep or to concentrate, and have it can even affect your mood and relationships.
If you find yourself in this situation for the first time it can seem hopeless, but the good news is that there are ways that you can ease the discomfort and make the pain feel less all-consuming. Here we will look at some ways to reduce and control constant pain.
Using analgesics is of course one of the main ways that we go about combating chronic pain. Chances are that the doctor will have prescribed you pain killers to combat your discomfort or will have just recommended some usual ones like paracetamol and ibuprofen. Of course you need to use these sensibly and within reason – and it’s a bad idea to risk becoming dependent of course, or to risk their becoming less effective. Better is to try to use them more sparingly so that their effect seems greater, and another tip is to try and anticipate pain and use them when it is starting to get worse rather than to try and stop serious pain that has already set in.
It can be highly frustrating when people say that pain is in the mind, but if you feel that way then it may just be that you are misinterpreting what is meant by this. While pain is a real and physical thing, it is felt by the brain and corresponds to firings in certain areas. Meanwhile it has been demonstrated that by altering our perception of pain, we can alter our experience. This then is where the various different types of meditation come in which can help you to consciously reduce your perception of the pain or the at least try to relax into it if you are currently very tense and perhaps inadvertently making it worse.
Stretching can also alleviate pain in many cases, and is of course particularly effective for certain kinds of chronic pain such as back ache or knee pain. By stretching you can reduce the unwanted pressure on your joint or a trapped nerve, while at the same time this can take your mind off the pain and sometimes even help to solve the problem by realigning your joints/spine. Things like Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates then can all be very effective, as can doing the stretches and exercises set out by your physiotherapist.
General exercise is also good for various kinds of pain. Not only can you build supporting muscle etc., but you can also this way encourage the production of endorphins which act as natural pain killers. There are many conditions that are hugely improved by simply continuing to move at all times.
Likewise using massage can again help to not only distract from the pain by putting pressure in other areas, but also work free trapped nerves, realign bones and joints and general help to reduce problems through manipulation.
A tens machine is a device that sends small electric shocks into your nerves surrounding the painful area. This causes them to fire and create a kind of tingling sensation. This can then help to almost ‘drown out’ the signal from your nerves that are in pain in the area like white noise.
As mentioned a large part of pain is our perception of it, which is why it can be reduced by focussing on other things. You can create these distractions either by physically pressing on or manipulating other areas, or even just by making sure you stay busy going out and seeing friends etc.
The author of this guest post, Mr.John Bevan, recommends joining yoga classes in order to improve health and wellbeing. Click on the link to learn more about the different ways to improve cardiovascular function and other health issues.