As a patient, you, and you alone, control how proactively you manage your pain. Actively engaging in your own care can help tremendously, not only with handling and reducing discomfort, but also with living the kind of life you desire, regardless of physical issues.
Chronic pain is any type of pain that continues over a prolonged period, not necessarily constant pain. Many adults have some type and degree of chronic pain, and it is especially prevalent in veterans and labor workers. Chronic pain is different from acute pain, which is sharp and intense yet short-term.
Remember: You may need to undergo a lot of trial and error to find the best management approach for you—and that approach may change over time. Our physicians at Willamette Pain and Spine are happy to work with you to customize a plan that suits you at this moment, and adapt that plan as necessary in future. We are ready and willing to collaborate with your primary care physician to create the best possible pain management plan for you.
A Smorgasbord of Options
Exercise is a natural, healthy way to treat many types of pain, and anyone of any ability can partake. Work with your doctor and a trainer to find the best regimen for you. Often, low impact workouts are great for chronic pain, such as swimming or gentle yoga. Losing weight is a nice side effect for some people, and overweight people may lessen their pain with more frequent workouts. It’s best to balance cardio with strength training and flexibility training for the best results.
Yoga and pilates are often recommended. Yoga, as a mind-body approach, focuses on breath, meditation and flexibility. While managing pain, you’re also optimizing your body’s functioning. If you’ve tried yoga before and didn’t care for it, remember that every style and teacher is different, so a bit more persistence may land you in a class you love. Pilates is fantastic for joint issues, and many of the moves are conducted lying down. Low back pain and Pilates are a particularly good match.
A Healthy Life
Healthy living means more than just working out. Your diet can play a big role in your pain, as can the amount of quality sleep you get. Starting your morning on the right note, which means relaxed and mindful, can set the stage for your entire day—including the degree of pain you may experience.
The following body practices can also help soothe any excessive pain you may be feeling:
- Acupuncture: Some patients swear by acupuncture, an ancient practice that involves healing through stimulation of key parts of the body. It can be combined with acupressure, but bear in mind that you’ll need a few sessions before you may start seeing (or feeling) any results.
- Meditation: Change the mind, change the body. Meditation alone, without the complementary yoga, is another good idea. It minimizes anxiety, stress and puts you in charge of chronic pain. You don’t need to meditate for hours, but a few minutes each day can work wonders.
- Massage therapy: Others rely on massage therapy for pain relief, with a generous side dish of pampering. In some instances, your insurance may even cover this approach.
- Therapeutic journaling: Finally, consider penning a pain journal. It’s extremely cathartic to get your thoughts on paper, and helpful to look back and reflect on which days were “good,” which were “bad,” and if there were extenuating circumstances on those days. You might find a pattern that gives you a short cut to a healthier, pain-managed life.
- Pain management techniques: Therapeutic Botox injections, joint interventions, and nerve blocks, as well as a wide variety of other treatments, can provide powerful pain relief. Willamette Pain and Spine provides all of this and more, for ongoing assistance with your persistent discomfort.
Ultimately, how persistent you are with managing your pain management rests in your very capable hands. The above techniques all play their part in helping you to manage your stress and discomfort.
Have questions? Our physicians and support staff are here to help. Contact us today.