Have you ever broken a bone? (If not, lucky you.) If so, think back to the last time you broke a bone. Maybe you fell off the monkey bars at recess. Perhaps you were fouled going up for a lay-up. Maybe, the last time you broke a bone wasn’t all that long ago, not a memory from your past, but something you’ve had to live with recently.
When you break a bone, it hurts a lot at first, and this pain may last for a few weeks or a few months. This type of pain is known as acute pain. You live with it for a little while, your injury heals, and you move on.
Chronic pain is a different type of pain. Chronic pain is ongoing pain that may last for longer than a few months, or it may last for years. It can occur in many parts of the body, and you may experience it almost all the time or it may occur for you at regular intervals.
A common example of chronic pain is back pain. For many people, this type of chronic pain can be crippling. Another type of chronic pain, intermittent pain, may occur at regular intervals. Migraines are a good example of this type of pain.
Arthritis may be an example of both types of chronic pain. You may feel arthritis all the time, no matter what you’re doing. Otherwise, arthritis may flare up, making it impossible for you to do ordinary, everyday tasks like type an email or do the dishes.
Chronic Pain Influences How You Feel About Yourself
They say discomfort is a motivating force of change. If you were always comfortable, you’d have no reason to do things differently. While this works out, at times, to be a pretty effective way to make positive changes in your life, it’s important to recognize that you may not be able to “fix” whatever is causing your chronic pain.
Chronic pain can be a double-edged sword. Of course, there is the pain itself, but then there is the added weight of feeling guilty for being in pain. This is something almost all chronic pain sufferers deal with, and it is an issue that can be alleviated most easily by better managing chronic pain. There is no reason anyone should feel shame for a medical condition they don’t have control over and being disabled is not a mark of personal failing. Managing chronic pain more effectively can help the patient feel more in control of their life and to generally have a greater sense of well being.
Five Ways to Cope with Chronic Pain
1. Meditate. While meditating is not for everyone, it can be an excellent step to reduce stress and anxiety, two factors that contribute to chronic pain.
2. Light exercise. Low impact exercises like walking are great ways to reinvigorate tired muscles and fill your body with endorphins. Exercise pumps “new blood” through the body, recharging your limbs.
3. Regular sleep patterns. Research shows that it’s healthy to have a set bedtime every night and a set time to wake up every morning. (There are apps on our phones that can help us manage this now!) Sleep is another way the body cleans itself.
4. Abstain from tobacco and alcohol use. This can be a really hard one for people who have been smoking for years, but it’s very important. The body is interconnected, and smoking and drinking put stress everywhere, which contributes to chronic pain.
5. Eat a healthy diet. Spinach, leafy greens- you know the deal. The right fuel goes a long way toward reducing chronic pain. Avoid overly processed and sugary foods and opt for whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Choosing plant-based foods is one of the best ways to lower inflammation and pain in the body.
For more strategies and plenty of support visit Genesis Medical Clinic.
Picture Credit: Pexels