Chronic pain is very challenging to deal with daily. There are many effects a person suffering from pain can have on the body and the mind and spirit. Today’s blog will take a look at healthy ways to manage pain that doesn’t include taking scores of drugs or alcohol to mask or relieve it.
Types of Chronic Pain
Pain can be from many pathological issues, including disease, injury, disorders, and acute or chronic conditions. Acute pain is from an injury like a broken bone that heals, and the pain leaves. On the other hand, chronic pain can stay with a person for months or years, and usually stems from psychological factors; they include emotional and mental elements that can come from trauma, specifically childhood abuse.
Whatever pain a person feels, it affects them, sometimes to the point of disability, and is why so many people take opioids to feel relief. Depression can cause pain, simply because the chemical dopamine (the feel-good chemical) is decreased, so someone is more sensitive to pain.
Managing Pain with Drugs
Whether the pain you feel is from a car accident that left you with bruised or broken ribs, a broken bone, or worse, managing pain has been a challenge for doctors. In the past, a doctor prescribed painkillers, not understanding the long-term effects it could have on the body and brain. Addiction to painkillers skyrocketed in the last 20 years due to the rise of idiopathic diseases or disorders, including fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and complex regional pain syndrome.
Because doctors would throw a drug at someone dealing with chronic pain, dependency, and addiction rose significantly. Instead of finding the underlying reason why the pain continued and getting the person psychological help, they would just up the dose or combine meds. Doctors aren’t to blame for this since chronic pain is a complex issue that’s difficult to understand and, therefore, treat. However, there are ways to manage pain that are healthy.
Here are four ways in which someone suffering from pain – whether acute or chronic – can implement in their daily life.
Healthy Ways to Manage Pain
Keep in mind that broken bones heal within 4-6 weeks, with the femur, the longest bone in the body, taking about 3-6 months to heal. Pain that continues after that needs to be investigated to see if there’s a psychological component that contributes to its persistence. For example, if the fracture was due to a traumatic experience, post-traumatic stress disorder should be considered. PTSD can last for years and involve idiopathic or psychosomatic symptoms originating from emotional stress) pain. A psychosomatic illness is aggravated by stress or triggers from traumatic events that manifest in the body as physical pain and other symptoms.
The healthy ways of dealing with these types of pain include the following:
- Regular exercise: You might have heard from doctors how exercise helps alleviate pain. It sounds backward, and who wants to engage in physical activity when they’re in pain? But, there’s science behind this. Gentle exercise releases endorphins, which are our natural painkillers. Exercise increases blood flow, which speeds the healing of the body’s tissues. Walking, swimming, and biking loosens stiff muscles as well.
- Stress management: This is crucial since there’s a strong connection between stress and pain in the brain. It can develop into a vicious cycle of stress that increases pain, which then increases the stress and so on. If life’s challenges are too difficult to manage on your own, a counselor or therapist can help.
- Integrative medicine: Techniques that include yoga, reiki, acupuncture and acupressure, tai chi, and more, tap into the mind-body connection. These integrative techniques combine movement and mindfulness, with the power of breath to calm and relax the mind and body, helping relieve pain. Meditation is great for this, as well as hypnotherapy that teaches the brain to not be on high alert constantly and to calm the stress response.
- Physical therapy: For acute pain, physical therapy is great for strengthening muscles after an injury. The physical therapist helps with pain and prevents it from coming back, and improves overall muscle functioning so the strain and risk of injury decrease in the long run.
Need Help with Chronic Pain?
Sometimes, chronic pain needs an intervention to eliminate it, and this is where Ardu Recovery Center comes into play. When you contact us, we explain the methods of treatment we employ that includes a holistic approach to chronic pain. We understand chronic pain is hard to deal with and want to help you manage it and even eliminate it from your life. Contact us today.