Find a specially trained medical professional. As much as the doctor you see for other conditions may want to help, he or she might not have the understanding or experience to make a difference in your life as a victim of chronic pain. Chronic pain is not be measured in a lab or witnessed on a scan. There are many intricacies to pain that are puzzling and perplexing to physicians who are not experienced in dealing with pain issues. Find a pain management specialist who is highly-trained and experienced in the field.
Accept that some people may not “get it.” If someone has never lived with constant pain, that person has no idea what it is like. Pain is not something people can see. If you look healthy, people tend to assume you feel fine… even if they know you suffer with chronic pain. They may say things like “You must be feeling better, you look great.” These folks mean well. They want you to “feel better.” They don’t realize what it takes to appear “normal” when you are living with constant pain. They don’t know that you probably had to lay low, restrict your activities, and perhaps take medication just to be able to show up at whatever event the two of you are attending… even if it’s something as low key as a lunch out with friends.
It is difficult to understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain unless you’ve experienced it. It is impossible to really understand what it feels like to be in pain every minute of every day… with no respite and no escape. It is torturous… but it is also a fact of life for many of us.
People living with chronic pain have to find their own way to exist with it and continue living without letting their pain take control of their lives. And how they accomplish this is an individual journey that each person must take alone. What helps one person cope with pain may not be of any benefit to someone else.
If you are living with chronic pain, please know you are not alone and please do not stop trying to find ways to live well despite living with pain. Here are a few tips from folks currently coping with chronic pain. We hope you find them helpful.
Don’t stop moving. It’s normal and natural to want to just sit still when you’re in pain, but that may not be the best thing for you. In fact, it could make your pain worse. It’s vital to speak with your pain management specialist (doctor) about activities and actions you should avoid and which are recommended. Simply incorporating some gentle exercise into your life may be helpful. Many studies suggest that chemicals released in the body during exercise can influence pain signals to the brain. Any everyday activities that involve movement are forms of exercise, like walking, gardening, dusting, and gardening. Dancing is a fun way to move the body that we can do in our own way at our own speed.
Avoid repetitive motions. Tasks that involve the same action over and over can fuel and ignite pain. Typing is a good example of something many of us do that involves repetitive motions. There are plenty of others you might not consider, like painting a wall or cleaning the kitchen counter. Think about some of the tasks in your daily life that may involve the same action again and again. Try to avoid or limit them as much as possible or take frequent breaks while engaged in the activities.
Change positions often. Sitting or standing for long periods without moving can exacerbate pain. Make sure to move around every now and then. If you are sitting watching television, get up during commercials and walk around the room. If you spend long periods typing on your computer keyboard, make yourself take a break at least once every hour and do some gentle stretching.