Try These Proven Tips to Manage Your Chronic Pain
You’ve just received a diagnosis of chronic pain from your healthcare provider. The news brings with it a host of concerns, including how you will cope with the discomfort, whether it will affect your ability to earn a living, and if you will have to give up many of your favorite activities.
Neither we nor anyone else has a magic wand that will fix the problems you’re facing. However, we do have some expert tips on how to cope with the moment-by-moment challenges you will face going forward. This information can help you to manage your condition and enjoy a higher quality of life as your face the future.
Remember You’re Not Alone
More than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to the Institute of Medicine. That’s one out of every three members of the population. Of course, nobody other than you can fully understand how you feel. But knowing you’re not alone can help to ease the feelings of isolation and helplessness you might otherwise feel.
One way to leverage this advantage is to join a support group. Having a circle of caring individuals to offer encouragement and understanding can make almost any trial more bearable. Many of these groups meet online if you’re unable to find one in your area.
Challenge False Beliefs
21st century America is filled with modern marvels. Science and technology have given us the highest standard of living in history. At the same time, these wonders have created a host of false expectations, each of which can worsen the problems posed by chronic pain. Here are some misconceptions to watch out for:
- “I did something to deserve this pain.” Lots of people fall into the trap of blaming themselves for their medical problems. But, while it’s normal to seek a cause for your problems, punishing yourself will only make matters worse, according to Psychology Today.
- “Pain means my life is over.” Many, many people succeed in having rich, fulfilling lives despite chronic pain. You can do so as well.
- “I can beat this if I just grit my teeth and fight.” Pain is unlike a human adversary. You can’t punch it, kick it, or shoot it between the eyes. Willpower can help you to control the symptoms. But it can’t eliminate the challenges.
Take Refuge in Reality
Spiritual people believe in a heavenly realm, one which offers everlasting joy for those who gain entrance. We all hope such a place exist. But for now we must find solace in this far-from-perfect world with its problems and struggles. One way to find comfort is by practicing mindfulness. Here’s how:
- Set aside a part of your home as your “serenity zone.” It need not occupy a large amount of space . A small corner of a room will do just fine. Equip it with a comfortable chair and/or meditation mat, an object of personal significance such as a religious symbol, and perhaps a face or eye mask to block out unwanted light. You can play some soothing music of you like, though many prefer silence.
- Sit in a comfortable position, take a few deep, calming breaths, and focus your attention on what is going on around and inside you – not just your pain but your breath, your thoughts, the sensations in your hands and feet, etc. The idea is to live in the moment as much as possible. Practice these techniques on a regular basis until you’re able to enter a mindful state within a few minutes or seconds.
- Support your mindfulness practice by creating a tranquil, supportive home environment. You can do this by getting rid of clutter, organizing drawers and closets, and keeping your surroundings clean and tidy in general.
Studies show that mindfulness techniques give chronic pain sufferers enhanced ability to manage their symptoms, according to the National Institutes of Health. So, while meditation is no cure for your condition, it can help you to live a better life, making the benefits well worth the effort involved.
The Final Word
Chronic pain is a serious condition that can affect every area of your life. But using the tips outlined in this post will help you to minimize its effects, giving you greater joy not only today but for all the tomorrows to come.
Try These Proven Tips to Manage Your Chronic Pain by Jim Vogel
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