10 Coping Mechanisms For Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can take over every aspect of your life and stop you from doing the things that you love. Luckily, there are many ways to lessen your pain, even if temporarily. Sometimes, you just need a break from the pain.
Try these strategies to alleviate your pain:
- Keep yourself distracted. Do something that you really enjoy. Focus on what you’re doing at that moment. Focusing intently on something you enjoy lessens your stress and tends to put the pain into the background, rather than at the forefront of your mind.
- Practice deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises can help your body to relax, which also helps to ease pain. To perform deep breathing exercises, block out any distracting thoughts and pay attention to your breathing. Take deep breaths and fill your abdomen with air before letting it out slowly.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. A healthy diet offers numerous health benefits, including relief from chronic pain. Eating nutritiously aids your digestive process, improves your blood sugar levels, can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, and helps to keep your weight under control. All these factors can affect chronic pain. Eat nutrient-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables, along with lean protein sources and good fats. Avoid pre-processed foods and snacks, such as cereal, chips, and frozen dinners.
- Limit alcohol. If you’re struggling with chronic pain, you may find it difficult to sleep. Alcohol can affect your sleep patterns, so limiting alcohol can help you to sleep better.
- Reduce stress. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress, your body may be more sensitive to pain. The deep breathing exercises previously mentioned can help reduce stress. Listening to calming, soothing music can help too. So can a warm bath, reading a good book that engages your mind, or watching your favorite movie or TV show.
- Take time to exercise. If you feel chronic pain, you might avoid exercise, thinking that it will make the pain worse. However, exercise may actually help soothe your pain. This is because endorphins are released when you exercise, which may help to block pain signals.
- Join a support group. Join a local or online support group for those with chronic pain. Here, you can speak to others about your experience, which will make you feel less alone and give you extra support to help you cope. The group members also share pain-reducing techniques that have worked for them.
- Talk with your doctor or counselor. They can give you additional techniques for your particular type of pain or refer you to a pain specialist that can help even more.
- Get a massage. A massage from a professional may help to relieve stress and tension. It is a common method used by those suffering with chronic pain. A massage therapist is trained in methods that can help reduce your pain or, if your pain is due to an injury, can even help the injury heal quicker.
- Learn biofeedback. With this technique, you can learn to gain control over your involuntary bodily functions, including pain, by using numerous visual and auditory feedback. In this process, you wear sensors that let you see or hear various bodily functions, such as your pulse, digestion, body temperature, and muscle tension. These appear on various monitors as beeps or squiggly lines, which you learn to control. For issues such as chronic pain, you may also work with various brain waves that reflect the pain that you’re feeling and learn to lessen the pain.
You don’t have to suffer needlessly. If you’re struggling with chronic pain, try these strategies to see which ones work best for you to bring you some relief.