For people with chronic pain, every day can be a struggle. Taking medication for a lifetime sounds like it is a jail sentence. But recently, researchers have been looking into the prospect of pain self management. Studies suggest that people who work on managing their pain on their own have better results than those who rely on highly addictive medications and external sources for managing their pain. Healthy pain management that does not include drugs can lead to less health care spending, a reduction of medication side effects, less pain, and less instances of mental illness such as addiction.
Pain is one of those things that effects every area of your life experience. When you are in chronic pain, it effects not only your physical being, but also your social interactions, your mental and psychological states, and your spiritual connections. Chronic pain leads many people to self medicate with high powered narcotics, alcohol or other types of potentially addictive drugs.
Because chronic pain can impact our lives in so many ways, there are a wide variety of different kinds of pain management strategies to try. You must try different options and seek out what is right for you. There is no one strategy that is going to work well for everyone, because each person is unique. And everyone’s pain is going to be unique too.
Consider these three healthy pain management techniques that do not require the use of any type of drug.
1. Tension and Stress Reduction
Stress is the biggest cause of muscle tension. Stress also increases your pain perception. The more stressed out you are, the more your muscles tense and the more pain you are going to feel. Reducing stress is something that everyone could benefit from, not just those in chronic pain. Learning to decrease your stress levels can decrease pain and improve your quality of life. Practicing some simple relaxation techniques can really be all you need in order to reduce stress. One of the easiest stress relievers is deep breathing. Another is intentional muscle tensing. Take a few minutes to tense and contract the muscles in your body individually. As you let each muscle go, take note of what it feels like when your muscles are tense and when they are not. This will make you better able to recognize when your muscles are tense so that you can consciously let go of the tension.
Ergonomics is the practice of setting up your home or office in such a way that you can reduce the pain you experience from repetitive and unhealthy movements, improving your efficiency, and learning new ways to do essential tasks so that you can be in less pain. One of the easiest ergonomic changes to make is to get yourself a chair that is built for promoting better posture if you have a sitting job. Back pain is one of the biggest complaints in American society. Ergonomically correct chairs can be expensive, but they are worth it if they improve your pain management. You could also learn to improve your posture when sitting and standing, to lift heavy things in a healthy way such as with your legs, and to make use of any available assistive devices that are at your disposal.
3. Learn to Pace Yourself
Most people with chronic pain live on the good day / bad day cycle. In order to break this cycle, you will need to learn to pace yourself and not overdo it. The first step in learning to pace yourself is to make a plan and prioritize. There are going to be things that you must do and things that you could do. Do those things that you must do first and leave the things that could be done for the end. If there are things on the could-be-done list that need to be moved to the must do list for the following day, do so. Break up the tasks so that you are not doing all of the work that involves walking around or all of the work that involves sitting all at once. Break things up so that your body is getting an equal opportunity workout. Learn to take breaks before you need them. It is said that the average office worker is the most efficient if her or she walks around every 45 minutes. You may need to take a break more often than that. You may need to take breaks that are longer than the average 10 minutes.
By practicing different types of drug-free, healthy pain management, you will figure out what is right for you and be able to stay away from the powerful narcotic pain killers that are causing so many people to face the battle with addiction.