updated - October 16, 2021 Saturday EDT
Between bumps, cuts, fractures, scrapes, and sprains, injuries are an unavoidable part of life. In most instances, band-aids, pain relievers, and taking it easy for a day or two can be enough to get you back to yourself again, but when pain is chronic and just doesn't seem to go away, it can be a problem that requires medical attention.
While many cases of chronic pain can be easily treated with over-the-counter medications or changes of daily habits, some may call for a more aggressive response.
The following are five tips for managing chronic pain:
Talk with your doctor
Whether it's aching feet, sore back, or arthritic hands, the first step is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will determine if the problem is easily treatable or requires the attention of a specialist. For instance, a sore back may only need to be treated with hot and cold therapy at home. However, in the case of a more serious issue you could require more severe treatment such as surgery from the best spine surgeons to correct. Finding out how to treat the pain begins with consulting your doctor about what's wrong and listening to what they have to say.
Stay physically active
While there's no replacing a licensed medical professional's authoritative insights and expertise, we can imagine what a doctor might say to someone whose chronic pain can be managed at home. The first thing they'd recommend is to become more physically active. It might sound counterintuitive, but exercise is a common treatment for chronic pain. Combining cardio, strength training, and meditative exercises can profoundly impact health and wellness, including the alleviation and potential elimination of chronic pain and discomfort.
Take care of mental health
A head full of stress and a heart full of anxiety makes it hard to stay focused. For many, the result is dwelling on everything wrong, including any physical pain they're experiencing. With this in mind, chronic pain sufferers must take steps to improve their mental health. The aforementioned meditative exercises, as well as yoga and proper breathing techniques, can prove essential in the pursuit of pain management. Over time, these measures may act to eradicate chronic pain and discomfort.
Get plenty of sleep
Everyone knows we need sleep to live, but do you know why sleep is so essential to our health and wellbeing? It boils down to the human body using sleep as an opportunity to heal itself and recover both mentally and physically from the demands of the previous day. Lack of sleep means your body isn't getting the time it needs to complete its recovery process. By getting to bed on time and sleeping for seven to nine hours per night, you set yourself up for less pain and discomfort during the day.
Avoid prescription painkillers
Taking aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or some other over-the-counter pain relief drug is a common way to manage chronic pain and discomfort. However, consult your doctor before using one or more of these drugs for daily pain management. Overdosing could lead to major organ failure. Likewise, practice considerable caution when using prescription opioids. These drugs contain the same ingredients found in heroin, a highly addictive drug with lethal potential when abused.
While taking prescription painkillers might be necessary to treat extreme instances of chronic pain, they should be used sparingly and as a last resort. Under no circumstances should you ever take prescription opioids that aren't prescribed to you by your doctor. Doing so is not only dangerous, it's highly illegal.
Pain happens. But when pain doesn't go away or seems to keep getting worse over time, there's probably something seriously wrong that requires medical intervention as soon as possible. Fortunately, the way to become pain-free is often a matter of taking the proper steps and making the right decisions. While it might seem hard to adjust to a life of pain management, the alternative is worse. Nobody should ever endure relentless pain on a daily basis.
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