Managing Pain: How to Do Pain Management at Home
Living with chronic pain can be extremely debilitating. While there are instances where pain serves a purpose to alert us of injury or illness, living with chronic pain is a form of suffering.
Not only does a person have to deal with the physical impacts of pain, but it can take a serious toll on one's mental and emotional health. Ultimately, this can have a dire effect on their quality of life.
Living on prescription or over-the-counter painkillers is not the answer. Here's how you can practice pain management at home with non-invasive, alternative techniques.
8 Simple Ways to Practice Pain Management At Home
Chronic pain is characterized as living with a certain level of pain that is distracting -- even to the point that you cannot perform day-to-day tasks. It doesn't have to be an all-consuming type of pain, but it's enough to make you want to reach for the Tylenol on a daily basis. Chronic pain also lingers and usually lasts for 6-8 weeks, but usually stays with a person for years.
Instead of reaching for harmful pain killers as a form of pain relief, there are alternative ways to manage chronic pain, without all the adverse side-effects:
- Deep Breathing and Meditation
This is not an actual means of eliminating pain as a painkiller would. But deep breathing techniques and meditation are a means of pre-occupying your mind with other thoughts. In the long run, these techniques can help you manage your pain better by learning how to de-stress and change your thought pattern.
Find a quiet location, get into a position that is comfortable, and focus on your breath, and breath alone. If it's helpful, think of a positive mantra or quote and repeat it over in your mind, as you breathe deeply. This process helps to detoxify the mind and change your thought pattern to focus on your breathing, which will distract you from your pain.
- Move Your Body With Restorative Exercise
One of the biggest benefits of exercise is the release of endorphins from the brain, post-workout. It's these endorphins alone that will distract from your pain and help you to feel more relaxed and positive.
Bear in mind that there are certain types of exercise that can only exacerbate pain levels. So it's important to focus on the right type of exercise that is restorative to the body, and not stressful.
If you struggle with constant muscle aches and tension, then low-weight resistance training, yoga, Pilates, cycling, and swimming are ideal for you. You may want to avoid HIIT workouts that put your body through a lot of stress and strain, which can only worsen your symptoms.
Yoga is also a great option as it incorporates breath control, meditation concepts, as well as stretching exercises which can help to relieve pain and tension.
- Reduce Your Alcohol and Cigarette Intake
It's widely known that both alcohol and smoking cigarettes can contribute to levels of chronic pain due to increased inflammation. The more alcohol you drink and cigarettes you smoke, the more your pain levels could flare-up as your body fights to rid itself of toxins and inflammation.
To add to this, increased alcohol intake can contribute to sleeping problems, which can also exacerbate your pain levels. Limit yourself to one alcoholic drink a day if needs be!
- Keep Track of Daily Activities and Pain Levels
Not quite sure why your pain levels tend to increase one day and reduce the next? It may be wise to track your daily activity levels and take note of what you're doing on the days where your pain feels intolerable.
Keep a journal and log your daily pain levels on a scale of 1-10. This will also help your doctor or physical therapist understand how you're coping with your chronic pain and how physically functional or mobile you really are. You can also keep track of the activities to avoid in order to keep your pain levels at a manageable level.
- Keep a Close Watch On Your Diet
There are certain types of food, just like alcohol and cigarettes that can contribute to your pain levels due to increased inflammation in your body. This includes foods that are high in fat, unrefined sugar, and unrefined carbohydrates. In other words, you may want to avoid greasy, very sugary fast-foods if you struggle with chronic pain.
Try to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet by eating lean meats, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as whole grains, and healthy fats. While there is nothing wrong with the odd take out meal or sweet treat, a balanced diet is key to managing chronic pain.
- Cold and Heat Therapies
If there was ever a tried-and-trusted method of alleviating pain, it's with either hot or cold therapies. This type of pain relief is easy to achieve at home, too.
Invest in a heat bag or heat pack which you can simply warm up and place on areas of pain throughout the day. The same goes for a cold pack which is great for reducing inflammation. These types of therapies, combined with regular physical therapy or chiropractic treatment can help keep your chronic pain in control.
- Music Therapy
Music therapy is, essentially, a form of distraction to help you manage chronic pain. If you find yourself having a very tough day, classical music is known to provide a soothing sense of pain relief in the form of relaxation.
But if classical music just doesn't do it for you, try any genre you prefer! Find a quiet, comfortable space, plug in your earphones, and zone out to music therapy.
- Therapeutic Partner Massage
If your partner is willing to help you in the management of your pain, you may want to enlist their help with a session of therapeutic massage. Invest in good-quality massage oil that contains aloe for its cooling, soothing effects.
Ask your partner to massage areas of particular pain and tension at least once or twice a week to help you find some form of relief from your pain. This is also a great form of stress relief, which can also help in the management of chronic pain.
Keep Your Health, Fitness, and Wellness In Check
Pain management at home doesn't have to be complicated. There are ways and means of keeping your chronic pain in check without reaching for medication that you could ultimately become dependent on.
If you're looking to keep the rest of your overall health in check while managing chronic pain, be sure to explore the rest of this site. We offer a plethora of articles, including how to use CBD for pain, how to improve spinal health, and more!