Dealing with chronic pain poses a struggle for anyone. It can make everyday tasks difficult and lower your emotional health.
Many people start coping with their pain by using prescription pain management medications. However, this may not be an option for those who have struggled with addiction.
In order to stay sober, former and current addicts need to get creative with their chronic pain management techniques by focusing on improving their overall health.
Do you want to know how to do this? Keep reading to discover 10 tips for dealing with chronic pain without sacrificing your sobriety.
Dealing with chronic pain can cause a decrease in emotional health. However, it's important to try and reduce your stress levels when living with chronic pain.
Stress, along with anxiety, depression, and anger, can actually make your body more sensitive to pain.
Listening to music, deep breathing, and participating in your hobbies are all things you can do to help reduce stress and help yourself feel better.
Meditation can help you manage chronic pain in two ways.
First, it helps you relax, and it improves your mental health. Lessening your stress and anxiety will help decrease your sensitivity to pain.
Second, meditation helps relax all the tension and stress that has built up in your muscles. Muscle tension can cause pain and discomfort, so helping your muscles relax can help release pent-up pain in your body.
Another way to relieve pain due to muscle tension is by seeing a massage therapist.
If you carry a lot of tension and knots form in your muscles, you might need a professional to work them out. Consider setting regular massage therapy appointments if you notice that your muscles keep holding tension.
Doing simple everyday tasks can become extremely difficult when living with chronic pain. Because of this, exercising can seem impossible. However, it can be one of the best chronic pain management techniques.
First, exercise helps improve your mood and reduces stress by releasing endorphins. As we mentioned earlier, stress can make your more sensitive to pain. Therefore, exercising will help you feel better by reducing the amount of pain your body feels.
Regular exercise also helps you build up your strength and endurance. This can make it easier to get around without pain and help prevent further injury.
Lastly, exercise can help with other health issues, such as controlling your blood sugar levels and reducing your risk for heart disease.
If you're not sure what exercise you can do, ask your doctor. They can help you come up with an exercise regimen that is safe to do.
While there are many beneficial exercises you could do, swimming is a particularly good choice.
It's an extremely low-impact exercise, which is great for those struggling with chronic pain who may have difficulty doing other types of exercise.
It gives your entire body a workout, as well as strengthens your lungs and your heart. If you are in a lot of pain, especially joint pain, in your day-to-day life, then swimming can be a great way to get exercise without putting stress on your joints.
A healthy diet full of nutrients and vitamins can help aid with pain management.
But it does so much more than that. The benefits of eating healthy are numerous, including better weight control, more energy, and healing joint damage.
When coping with pain, you should maintain a balanced diet, eat more fresh food, decrease the processed food, and drink more water.
Sadly, most adults do not get the proper vitamins in their diet that they should.
Increasing the intake of certain vitamins has actually been shown to reduce pain, as well as mental health problems.
What particular vitamins you take as part of your therapy will vary from case to case, but your doctor can help decide what vitamins are important for your chronic pain management.
Acupuncture reduces pain by using needles along with heath and pressure.
While sticking needles in your skin to reduce pain might seem counterintuitive, it has been used in China for about 2,000 years. Its history is much shorter in America, but acupuncture needles were approved by the FDA in 1996 as medical tools.
So, how does it help with chronic pain? Well, acupuncture releases endorphins which help block pain. They also awaken the body's self-healing mechanism to fight pain.
There's a common misconception that chiropractors only work to alleviate back pain. However, a visit to the chiropractor can help reduce chronic pain as well.
The nervous system controls every part of your body. Chiropractors believe that pain can be caused when the spine get out of the proper alignment. By shifting the spine back to where it belongs, this can help reduce pain in several areas of the body.
Chiropractors also aim to find the underlying cause of the pain. While they can't fix everything, sometimes they are able to fix problems associated with improper alignment.
A great portion of this list focused on exercising, preparing special food, or seeing specialists to help manage your pain. So, this last tip might seem a little misplaced. However, it is important to take it easy and give yourself a break.
Living with chronic pain can be exhausting. There will be days that are especially bad. It's okay to sleep a little extra or take it easy these days. It's better to give your body the rest it needs to heal itself than to push yourself too hard.
Just make sure you are making an effort to follow the other tips to adequately manage your pain.
Dealing with chronic pain without sacrificing your sobriety can be extremely difficult. When most people turn to prescription painkillers, you'll have to stay strong and find different ways to manage the pain.
While it will be challenging, you can manage chronic pain by exercising, reducing stress, eating healthy, and seeing a chiropractor, among other things.
For more help with this, contact us today.
Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on November 9th, 2018.