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Article written by Dana Brown
Receiving a chronic pain diagnosis can be shocking. Even harder is the pain itself that you must endure day in and day out. And if you’re not careful, chronic pain can take control of your life. However, by learning to manage your pain on a daily basis, you can keep that from happening and lead a healthy, fulfilling life. Here are some tips and resources from Carmen McKnight for managing your chronic pain.
Embrace the Diagnosis
The first step to living a fulfilling life when you have chronic pain is to accept your diagnosis.
- Work through the initial shock and denial that comes with an unexpected diagnosis, and feel free to vent to family members and/or close friends.
- If you find yourself becoming angry that chronic pain is happening to you, use that anger to facilitate your treatment and recovery.
- It’s also common for depression to set in after an unexpected diagnosis, in which case it’s essential to foster your mental health through psychotherapy, counseling, acupuncture, or any other professional method that helps you move on.
Take Care of Your Body
Diet, exercise, and sleep will play critical roles in your pain management.
- Take gradual steps toward a healthy lifestyle. Making small changes over time, such as starting with 10 minutes of daily exercise and increasing from there, is how healthy habits are formed.
- Find a practical exercise routine that you can do on a daily basis.
- Create a nightly routine that helps you fall asleep, such as walking or doing light yoga.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night, try breathing exercises to fall back asleep.
It’s also important to find relaxing self-care activities to fit into your routine.
- Declutter and clean your home to create more of a healthy, relaxing living environment.
- Learn exercises and stretches that can relieve muscle tension and stress in your back, neck, shoulders, legs, and other areas.
- Try incorporating meditation into your routine; mindfulness, visualization, and body scanning are a few types of meditation known to help some people treat chronic pain.
- Use other natural remedies for pain, such as spices and herbs, omega-3s, icing and heating.
Although it’s certainly overwhelming, a chronic pain diagnosis is not a death sentence. Although it comes with its fair share of challenges, you can learn to manage your pain and live a great life. Try to accept your diagnosis for what it is, and make sure you are looking after your body and adding relaxing activities to your routine.