When you live with chronic pain, it feels like you’re going through life as if you are underwater or looking through a different-colored lens. The reality is that the pain is very real and it threatens to control your life. Pain affects your mind, body, and spirit. Furthermore, it’s difficult to perform many daily tasks when you don’t feel well. It takes everything you have to put your pain aside long enough to perform these tasks and try to work a job or relax at home. If you aren’t able to master your mind enough to ignore some pain, every day is harder to get through. If you cannot manage how you feel about this condition, you can also become anxious or depressed. Some patients will also become addicted to substances such as alcohol, pain pills, or other drugs as they try to escape the effects of their pain. But, those coping mechanisms can cause you more pain at the end of the day. When it comes to dealing with, and recovering from chronic pain, here are 5 ways to beat chronic pain so you can live your best life:
1. Use Mindfulness Meditation
Chronic pain is not curable, but it is controllable when you engage in your preferred form of mindfulness meditation. This practice can be learned in a class under a yoga instructor or by trying guided meditations online. YouTube, for example, offers millions of meditations led by people from every walk of life and in nearly every language. When you engage in this kind of controlled breathing, you focus on your body and pay less attention to external stimuli. During meditation, you can also send specific thoughts to the parts of the body that hurt and convince them that the pain isn’t so bad.
You will also experience benefits from the yoga, by being able to stretch and relieve sore and inflamed muscles. That being said, when trying out yoga and meditation to deal with your chronic pain, don’t try classes, stretches, or positions that are meant for more experienced yogis who are not in pain. Some of the more advanced stretches will definitely make you more sore and inflamed if you don’t know how to do the stretches correctly.
2. Try Physical Therapy
Sometimes, it’s not so much about covering the pain or diverting attention away from it. It’s about using postures, sleeping positions, and positions of the body to minimize the pain when you know what’s causing it. Similar to yoga, Physical Therapy is a great way to learn stretches that will relieve sore tissue, without damaging your body. The main difference of physical Therapy will be that someone will be working with you one on one, and leading you through your exercises with a final state of well-being in mind. Another reason to consider Physical Therapy to deal with your chronic pain is that help you learn how to lessen the amount of pain as it comes. According to Excellence in motion, a provider of physical therapy in NYC, physical therapy will, “improve the quality and control of your movements, your balance, and stability so you can see long lasting relief.” This means that you can expect to have long lasting changes from dedicating yourself to your Physical Therapy. In the end, Physical therapy will give you the chance to learn how to be active again, without causing yourself more pain.
3. Alternate Between Hot and Cold Therapies
Just like masking the pain with pharmaceuticals is only a temporary solution, allowing your body to stay in a chronic state of inflammation will also increase your pain level. When you alternate between the right amount of these therapies, you can provide natural relief to the affected areas. As simple as it might seem, using a topical heating and cooling cream can make quite the difference on your body at the end of the day.
If topical creams sound too messy for you, you can also try using hot or cool wraps. There are many patches and wraps available not that you can apply and stick to your skin in order to get the same results you would get from applying a cream. The best part of the wraps is that they give the same results that can be expected from a cream, without the mess! But if the wraps still don’t sound like a good idea to try, you can always use a hot pad or water bottle. An electric hot pad will provide immediate heating relief to a sore muscle. Hot water bottles will provide relief from pain and cramps after being filled and heated in a microwave.
4. Get a Professional Massage
Targeted massage can take many forms. It is going to take place in a session lasting somewhere between thirty and sixty minutes. A therapist will ask you about your pain and your medical condition in order to determine the appropriate technique. You can also get a massage that involves deep pressure or light pressure administered in smooth circles or long strokes around the pain site(s). For instance, deep tissue massages may be beneficial to some individuals, while others may prefer and experience better results from the hot stone massage.
If these options are too costly, and you cannot afford a professional massage, you could use a machine that provides heat and energy pulses to stimulate the blood flow in the affected area. Who knew that massage chairs could provide you with so many benefits? That being said, a massage roller can provide you with similar benefits, while being a cheaper option than buying a brand new massage chair. However, you will have to move the roller in order to use it, and cannot experience results as you would in the massage chair as you will be rolling the roller on your sore muscles yourself.
5. Immerse Yourself in a Swimming Pool or Jacuzzi
Water will take the weight of gravity away from your body. When you are in the water, you are closer to the weightless state of astronauts than when you are normally sitting, lying down, or standing on the land. Your joints will experience reduced stress while you are suspended in water. If you are able to perform low-impact exercises while submerged, as is usually the case with swimming or water aerobics, you may also be able to improve the range of motion in the parts of your body that produce pain signals. If you are unsure as to how to start enjoying the weightless benefits of a pool, you can also try taking a water aerobics or water stretching class at your local recreation center.
Jacuzzis, hot springs, and hot water onsens will also provide you with immediate relief. A jacuzzi gives you the soothing experience of soaking in a hot tub and being massaged by jets. The heat will relieve your sore muscles while the jet can work out any spots that are very sore. If you live near a hot spring, or an onsen, you can enjoy a dip in a very hot bath, with steam and cool water available to allow you to alternate between hot and cold temperatures. Onsens and hot springs are basically the same things, except an onsen are made to be more of a private bath for paying bathers. The hot and cold water differences available at either attraction will allow you to experience relief similar to that from a cold-hot topical cream, without the mess. The heat from water at the hot spring or onsen will also improve circulation to sore joints and kinked muscles.
Finding yourself living with chronic pain due to long-term conditions such as car accident-related injuries, scoliosis, fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, broken bones, spinal injuries, headaches, or rheumatoid arthritis, can cause you to need immediate solutions. Everyone can offer advice, and you might be able to find some kind of relief from certain medications. However, the biggest differentiator will be your mindset. If you can stay positive and not allow yourself to feel like a victim of pain, you will have a better chance of maintaining some quality of life regardless of how your body feels at any given moment. On the other hand, if you wake up in the morning and feel that it’s going to be a bad day, the pain can impact your whole day. You can also play positive affirmations online over headphones to keep yourself feeling positive as the day progresses. You can also give yourself breaks throughout the day as you need them. After all, every day will be different, and you will have different levels of pain on different days. But living your best life will stem from the kind of mindset you employ when facing the challenges of every day. Remember to balancing your body’s needs using strategies like those described above. Your sleep patterns, exercise habits, and dietary patterns will also affect your overall health, so don’t feel bad for taking the time to take care of yourself.