If you live with chronic pain, life might seem unbearable at times.
Unlike acute pain, which is the body's way of telling us that something is wrong, chronic pain is on-going pain that serves no useful purpose.
This kind of pain could present in many different forms. It could be on-going back pain, rheumatism or arthritis which causes hand joint pain, inner knee pain, chronic headaches, or any pain associated with chronic illness.
Being constantly in pain can affect many areas of a person's life, including work, personal relationships, and the person's psychological state. Finding ways to cope with such pain is essential to our wellbeing.
Here are a few tips on your quest to live pain-free.
* Drink lots of water - According to the Mayo Clinic, some chronic pain issues are made worse by dehydration. In order to make sure dehydration is not an issue for you, drink lots of water and steer clear of coffee, sugar-laden soda, and other beverages that don't help to hydrate you. Being properly hydrated is an important step in the journey to ease pain.
* Watch your diet - Diet can play a role in controlling chronic pain. In order to ease pain, stay away from processed foods and stick to easy-to-digest natural, whole foods. It's also a good idea to steer clear of foods that can cause inflammation, such as asparagus, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant), dairy, chocolate, eggs, red meat, wheat products, processed foods, red wine, and coffee. Pain skin and joints, especially, may be helped by reducing foods known to have an inflammatory effect.
* Take care of your physical health - Making sure you get enough sleep -- even if this involves cat-napping -- and doing some form of light exercise, are important factors in pain management.
* Try yoga and meditation - Yoga and meditation can treat both the physical pain and the stress that chronic pain causes. Stress can lead to muscle spasms, which are common with chronic pain sufferers, so practicing yoga and meditation can help your body reduce that stress and so ease pain.
* Therapeutic approaches - There is some evidence that certain types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, and guided imagery, can help chronic pain. Try to see a therapist who specializes in working with patients with pain issues.
* Hypnotherapy - Beyond the therapeutic approaches mentioned above, hypnotherapy is another helpful option for chronic pain sufferers. Again, be sure to work only with a practitioner who is certified in pain management. In your hypnotherapy sessions you will also learn how to do self-hypnosis in order to change the way your brain receives pain messages. Hypnosis can be a powerful way of managing pain.
In addition to treating your pain, therapy can help you cope with anxiety, and depression -- common issues with which chronic pain sufferers often have to deal.
Every case of chronic pain is different and so different treatments work for different people. It's important to find a pain management doctor or therapist who specializes in treating pain so that the approach can be tailored specifically to the individual. Be sure to find a specialist who is certified in pain management.
Often when starting a new treatment, especially one that involves some form of physical exertion, a person might experience an increase in levels of pain. This is because they have lost strength and flexibility due to inactivity. When exercising, especially, be sure to work within safe and reasonable boundaries.
While managing chronic pain without medication can be challenging, it can be done. Use these tips to help you live more comfortably.
IMPORTANT: This article is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment. Always consult your doctor or medical advisor if you are experiencing pain.
Peter Field is a Birmingham hypnotherapist. He is a Member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. For more information, please visit his Birmingham hypnotherapy website.