Professional Advice for Simple Pain Management
Living with chronic pain can make life much harder than it needs to be. There’s a long list of conditions that cause chronic, ongoing physical pain, and pain management can get harder over time. Haven Physical Therapy is a leading provider of physical rehabilitation and therapy in the Springfield, MO area, so we know how hard pain management can be. We also know a few easy exercises and methods of pain management that can help to alleviate some of the debilitating side effects.
Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises are often associated with mental relaxation rather than pain relief, but they can still make a big difference. In many cases of chronic pain, the tension that results from dealing with that pain makes it worse. Anxiety and tension will cause muscles to tense, putting extra pressure on the areas that already hurt. Slow, steady, measured breathing has been shown to help with relaxation. An effective exercise is to take slow, deep breaths while focusing on relaxing specific parts of the body one at a time.
Exercising can be extremely hard when dealing with chronic pain. But it can also be an effective method of pain management. A lack of physical activity can sometimes make chronic pain worse, and light exercise can help by loosening muscles and increasing the output of endorphins. Endorphins — the feel-good chemical produced by your body — can act as a natural painkiller. While it may not eliminate severe pains, it can help to alleviate them and elevate your mood.
Avoid Smoking and Drinking
The effects of nicotine and alcohol might initially help ease some degree of chronic pain, but relying on them is extremely dangerous. Not only can they react catastrophically with pain medication, but the effect wears off over time. This means more of the substance is required — especially in the case of alcohol — to have an impact on pain. These habits can also lead to many of the conditions that result in chronic, intense pain in the first place. If you are dealing with pain issues, it’s best to cut out some of these habits.
Improve Your Diet
Many people who suffer from chronic pain find themselves feeling anxious or depressed and may turn to comfort eating as a result. Comfort eating rarely involves healthy food, as most unhealthy food is designed to produce a rush of endorphins to make you feel good temporarily. Unfortunately, this temporary effect is addictive. This can be especially dangerous if a patient is suffering chronic pain that makes them less active. Weight gain will likely make the situation worse.
However, sometimes patients suffering ongoing pain will have no appetite. In this case, not eating is as bad, if not worse, than overeating. Being underweight when suffering any chronic illness makes it harder to treat, and potentially dangerous. Speak to a professional about what to eat and how best to push through cravings or avoidance behaviors.
Learn to Relax and Enjoy Yourself
The most difficult — but most important — factor in dealing with chronic pain is learning to relax. Even with the right pain management, whether medical or lifestyle-focused, it’s important that a patient makes the most of life. Caregivers and family alike can play a big part in this, and it’s important that a patient’s mental and physical well being are properly cared for.
Your Haven for Pain Management and Physical Therapy
Hopefully, these simple tips can help you live your daily life a little more comfortably. If you’re looking for more intensive, professional pain management, contact Haven Physical Therapy today. We can help make life a little easier for you and your family.