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7 Ways to Manage Chronic Pain

 

Studies have shown that chronic pain affects approximately 50 million people in the U.S. Considering that’s 1 in 5 adults, you are probably one of them, and you are looking for a proper solution to the long-lasting problem. As always, Desert Edge Physical Therapy is here to help you! 

We prepared a list of 7 ways to manage chronic pain, giving you an opportunity to read about the different approaches and techniques in detail. Afterward, you can decide to try one of them or stay with us and pick one of our various therapies and methods for handling chronic pain. Our team of experts is there to support you every step of the way, from suggesting the best option for your body to seeing it through for maximum results. To keep your body healthy and pain-free, contact us today

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain refers to the condition that lasts 12 weeks or more, causing restricted mobility, anxiety, depression, and more. Those who suffer from chronic pain have a reduced quality of life and face difficulties in performing daily chores. Chronic pain is manifested in different ways and can attack various body areas, which means there’s no single solution to fix it all. Each patient needs a unique treatment to manage specific symptoms, which is why we can find various therapies and methods for handling chronic pain. Today, we will discuss 7 ways to manage chronic pain, so stay around to learn more about it. 

7 Ways to Manage Chronic Pain

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is the safest and most commonly used option. It helps with relieving chronic pain by improving movements and body function after injuries and surgeries. The treatment often includes stretching and strengthening muscles through exercises and other pain-relieving techniques. Physical therapists also use electrotherapies such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS), and more. 

Home exercises are also known to reduce pain significantly. Prolonged resting can alleviate pain and increase the risk of another injury or sedentary-caused disease. Researches have shown that regular exercise can increase muscle strength and flexibility and make life easier, especially for those suffering from back pain. However, we recommend consulting your doctor or physical therapist before taking any action. It’s crucial to pick safe exercises for your condition and body, and professionals will know best what works for you. 

Psychological Therapy

Living with back pain every day is incredibly stressful and brings negative feelings all the time. You may feel anger, sadness, hopelessness, and despair during your fight against chronic pain. These emotional responses to your physical condition can lead to anxiety and depression, which can cause even more pain. 

From all of the stated, it doesn’t come as a surprise that doctors recommend psychological treatment for chronic pain. The therapy includes speaking with a psychologist and working on your issues by using behavioral therapy techniques. By addressing the emotional impact of chronic pain, you can learn to cope with your problems and emotions and change negative thoughts. Gradually, that will relieve pain and make life much better. 

Mind-Body Therapy

A mind-body therapy stands for various techniques and treatments meant to enhance the mind’s interaction with the body. It’s based on the belief that human feelings, mental health, and physical health all affect one another and require balance. Mind-body therapies, therefore, include relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback, and more. All these techniques can reduce the level of discomfort in the body caused by chronic pain when practiced regularly. 

Dietary Approaches

Although more research is needed on the topic, many studies have shown that a proper diet can help with chronic pain. Some diets are highly inflammatory, especially those high in fats, refined sugars, and processed foods. On the other hand, plant foods are low in fats and have anti-inflammatory agents. They work to ease the pain directly, which is why a vegetarian diet might be beneficial for people with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. A proper, balanced diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which lowers the stress on the spine and reduces back pain. 

Some people also use natural remedies for back pain and inflammation, especially fish oils and various herbs. After using herbal remedies such as white willow bark, devil’s claw, ginger, and turmeric, many of them noticed an overall improvement in their health. Of course, we need more proof to know how efficient herbal remedies are, but they seem to help a lot. Considering herbs were used as medication ever since the beginning of time, there must be something beneficial about them. 

Still, keep in mind that herbal therapies can interact with some drugs and lower their efficiency. Before you start taking any supplements, make sure to consult your doctor. 

Pharmacologic Treatments

Living with chronic back pain is difficult and often drives people to the edge of patience. While mild pain can be handled with over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, severe pain can require stronger drugs. Your doctor might prescribe stronger painkillers, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety drugs, and more. Some even opt for steroid injections for joint problems, but this is rarely performed. 

Aspirin and ibuprofen can help a lot with stiffness and aches in muscles and inflammation. When taken periodically, they are quite safe and won’t cause large side effects. Stronger drugs, however, bring higher risks of side effects. Higher doses of strong medications can cause everything from stomach irritation to heart attack and strokes. 

Therefore, strong drugs are not recommended before absolutely necessary. Doctors usually advise on alternative treatments such as physical and psychological therapies, which are much safer for the body. However, you should still follow your doctor’s orders and take the prescribed drugs. He or she knows your medical history and will advise you properly depending on your condition and needs. 

Alternative Treatments

A lot of people rely on alternative therapies for chronic back pain treatment. These include massages, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation therapies, acupuncture, and similar. Although there are not many studies to confirm the efficiency of these therapies, many patients swear by them. It seems these alternative treatments are able to relieve pain almost instantly, and when performed regularly, in the long term. 

Lifestyle Changes

In the end, we have to highlight how important it is to accept your condition and adapt to the new situation. Some patients find it challenging to accept their limitations, but that’s crucial for improvement and recovery. When one learns how to listen to the body, everything becomes easier. You shouldn’t push yourself to the limits but accept your physical condition and rest and pace yourself whenever necessary. A few of these and similar changes can significantly improve the quality of life and reduce chronic pain. 

7 Ways to Manage Chronic Pain

We listed some of the most common chronic pain management techniques above, but it’s essential to know that they don’t work for everyone. Some patients feel pain relief from acupuncture, while others find dietary changes most beneficial in their conditions. What works for others might not work for you, and the other way around. 

Therefore, we suggest consulting your doctor or physical therapist before trying any of the 7 ways to manage chronic pain. Of course, you can also contact Desert Edge Physical Therapy for free consultations and chronic pain management recommendations. We are always here for you, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

published on Tuesday, December 29th, 2020