Living with pain can be very difficult. Whether your pain is caused by an injury or a health condition, it can be very uncomfortable, restrict your life, and even impact on your mental health. If you’re living with pain, you can try some of these methods to reduce and manage pain more effectively, for a happier, healthier life.
Experts like Kevin Lucas believe in the effectiveness of using a range of physical and mental practices to help you manage pain.
Gentle activities like walking, swimming, or dancing can ease some of your pain by blocking some of the pain signals to the brain. Pain is also eased by stretching muscles, ligaments, and joints that may have become stiff and painful.
If you find exercise painful and are worried about causing more damage, start gently and gradually work towards becoming more active. Some pain at the start is normal as the joints and muscles get fitter.
When you’re in pain, it can help to concentrate on your breathing. When pain is intense, most of us automatically take shallow, rapid breaths. This can make you feel more panicked, or even dizzy. Instead, try to breathe slowly and deeply. This makes you feel more in control and should prevent muscle tension from making the pain worse.
Living with pain can make you feel tired, grumpy, or depressed. When you feel like this, the pain can feel worse, which soon becomes a vicious cycle.
Living with pain is tough, and by being stubborn you can make things worse, especially if you can’t accept your limitations and having to pace your activities.
It could be useful to speak to a counsellor, hypnotherapist, or psychologist to help you find more effective ways of dealing with the emotions that come up because of the pain you’re experiencing.
Try to turn your attention onto something else, so your pain isn’t the only thing you’re thinking about. Instead, try an activity that you find enjoyable and absorbing. Something that requires a little concentration but that can be done even with restricted mobility works well. Many people living with pain enjoy hobbies like knitting, sewing, or photography.
A lot of people who are struggling with pain will also find it hard to get to sleep at night. Pain can make it hard to fall asleep, or it can disrupt your sleep once you have managed to drop off. It’s important to stick to a normal sleep routine as much as you can in order to give yourself the best chance of getting a good night’s sleep.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, this can make your pain feel worse. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning so your body knows when it is time to rest. It can also help to avoid taking naps during the day if you can. If your sleep is becoming a serious problem, you should see your doctor.