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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

4 Simple Tips for Managing Chronic Pain

Pain, sadly, is a part of life. As we grow older, our parts wear out a bit, and unlike automobiles, it's a bit harder to swap out for new pieces. Even for the young, injury, illness, and bad luck can land us with chronic pains. If pain is a part of your life, learning to manage that pain can be critical to the quality of it. Use the tips that we, at Summit Medical Center, have provided below to help minimize the effects of pain on your day-to-day.

1.  Stay as active as you are able. Doctors and physical therapists agree that light activity like walking can help stave off hip and knee issues. It can also directly ease pain by helping your brain ignore signals coming to it. You'll stretch stiff muscles, ease tension, and give ligaments and joints a chance to unwind. It seems counterintuitive, as many people associate exercise with soreness, but if you don't overdo it, you'll feel a million times better. The trick is, instead of pushing through pain; increase your activity in gradual stages. The minor aches you'll feel in the beginning are good – they mean your muscles are building themselves up and growing more accustomed to the new regime.
In the long term, it's worth it. Your light work will help you achieve a healthier body, and stave off weight gain, heart problems, bone issues, and weakness due to atrophy.

2.  Consider yoga or similar breathing exercises. We're not suggesting you get into yoga, if your body isn't up to it, but the breathing traditions are very useful. Your instinct when you are in pain is to take short breaths, the shallowness of which can lead to dizziness or anxiety. Learning to breathe slowly can help you maintain self-control and master the pain. Furthermore, when your body is able to handle it, there's a long precedent for using Yoga as a pain reliever.

3.  Reach out and ask for help whenever you need it. Pain is a sensitive subject for many. Stiff upper lip attitudes, born out of pride or shame, are bad news. Whether your pain is caused by age, illness, or injury, the worst thing you can do for yourself is to do nothing. If you are finding that your pain is negatively impacting your life and your relationships with people around you – including family – reach out to them and ask for help. If for any reason you can't, there are support groups (such as the ACPA) who are there to help you.

4.  Speak with a physician or pain management specialist to develop a comprehensive plan. There are no easy, right, or simple answers to chronic pain. Every case is slightly different, and even factors such as geography or climate can change your treatment. That's why you should always speak to someone well versed in pain management, like the doctors at Summit Medical Center. Oklahoma residents won't have the same potential dangers as someone living in another part of the country. The Internet isn't full of magical solutions for you. Professional help is the single best option.
If you are dealing with chronic pain, there's no reason to grin (or grimace) and bear it. Talk to someone at Summit Medical Center about treating your chronic pain today!



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