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How Can I Manage My Chronic Pain?

How Can I Manage My Chronic Pain?

Living with chronic pain means not doing things you enjoy, struggling with relationships, and, for many, it makes keeping a job difficult. Chronic pain can be the result of injury, illness, physical or emotional stress, among others. Chronic pain can even happen without an obvious, traceable cause.

At Peak Spine & Sports Medicine, we encourage our patients to take advantage of the innovative treatments we offer. However, Jill Kalariya, MD, and Milind Patel, MD, know that you may need some pain management strategies to use at home between treatments. 

Procedures and treatments 

We offer numerous in-office treatments and procedures to help you live with less pain. Along with the treatments we provide in-office, we suggest you incorporate pain management techniques into your everyday life. Often, chronic pain management requires an approach that will help you to feel your best each day and to address flare-ups as they happen. The treatments are often most effective when you take steps to feel your best between office visits.

Mind-body practices

Whether you explore meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercise, or some other form of strengthening your mind-body connection, you’re likely to find that it decreases your pain levels over time. It may also help you deal with painful episodes better. 

Physical or occupational therapy

In occupational therapy, you learn how to do tasks in a way that won’t make your pain worse. In physical therapy, you learn exercises and stretches to maintain your strength and mobility. 

For degenerative conditions like arthritis, these kinds of therapies may be especially important to help you keep moving and remain independent. 

Get moving

We understand. You’re in pain. You do not feel like exercising. 

But you should. 

When you don’t, your muscles get weaker and that can increase your pain levels. You also benefit from chemicals called endorphins that both ease pain and make you feel good. Chronic pain symptoms often noticeably improve when you move and worsen when you don’t.

Finding an activity that you enjoy helps. If you hate running, don’t set yourself up for failure by deciding to run three times a week. Look for neighborhood sports leagues, find out what your local gym offers, consider hobbies like gardening or hiking that help you stay active. 

Address your stress

Take some time regularly to consider your day-to-day stress levels. Living with chronic pain is itself stressful, but what about the other parts of your life?

Can you cut back on the number of obligations you must meet? Do you schedule time for pleasurable activities? Even though you can’t eliminate every source of stress, you don’t have to. Small steps to manage your stress can reduce your pain levels. 

Prioritize sleep

When life is busy, sleep may be the first thing to go. It may feel like late at night is the only time you have to yourself. But, when it comes to living with chronic pain, sleep is important. 

Keep your bedroom cool and dark. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Turn the lights down an hour or two before bed. Avoid using screens before bed. Good sleep hygiene sets the stage for restorative sleep. 

Keep in touch with your doctor

Though managing chronic pain is an everyday challenge, your relationship with your doctor plays a crucial role. Keep your provider up-to-date on your condition, and stick to the recommended schedule of appointments. 

Schedule an appointment with the team at Peak Spine & Sports Medicine, whether to receive advice on pain management approaches or to find out if you could benefit from in-office treatments.

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