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How to cope with chronic pain

If you’re one of the many people who suffers from some form of chronic pain, then you’ll know it can be a burden that’s hard to bear some days.

And no doubt you will have had someone tell you that the pain is all in your head. In some instances, it may be true, but whether or not the pain is in your head, the psychological factors that cause pain, such as stress or depression, can make your pain seem very real. And just because you may be manifesting the pain, doesn’t make it seem any less real.

Regardless of the source of your pain stems, here are five tips from psychologist Ellen Hendriksen to help you cope with your chronic pain.

1. It’s not your fault, but you can take care of it
Pain has a way of making you feel down on life, but instead of worrying why it’s happening to you, the best way to manage it is to take control. Brooding over why you are feeling pain only increases tension, and that tension leads to more pain.

2. Get motivated
Whilst rest may be a wise treatment for acute pain, such as a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle, the trick to managing chronic pain is to get active. A short walk, a quick bike ride, gentle yoga stretches or some simple chair exercises are not only ideal for getting your muscles loose, but also for taking your mind off your pain. It’s also great for dealing with depression that can be associated with suffering chronic ailments.

3. Track your pain
Keeping a pain diary can help you track your pain and show you the indicators of why it may be happening. Over the course of a couple of weeks, make notes about how your feeling, as well as your exercise routine (or lack thereof), your diet and your general routine. Then check over your notes to see if you can make a connection between how you’re feeling and what may have caused it. And don’t just monitor the times you feel bad – it’s just as important to note the good times, as these will give you the best clues on how to manage your pain over the long term.

4. Know your limits
If your pain becomes overwhelming, don’t keep pushing it. Instead, try a technique called ‘pacing’. If you feel your pain becoming worse, then back off. Break down your activities into smaller blocks. Learn your limits. If your back begins to hurt whilst you’re doing the laundry, have a cuppa and relax for five minutes, then get back into it. Stop your pain before it flares up and learn to prevent it. After all, prevention is better than not being able to get out of bed the next day.

5. Question your pain
It’s worth noting to yourself that you may be your own worst enemy. If you believe your pain won’t get any better then chances are it won’t. The more proactive you are about managing your pain, the faster will be your recovery, or at least you’ll have less pain.

With a positive attitude and a few habit changes, you can manage your pain. Don’t let it get you down and, if it does, do some things that put you in a more constructive mindset to give you the energy to beat that beast of burden. Tell yourself you can do it and your chances of managing your pain will improve.

Do you have any tips for managing pain? Why not share them with our members?

Read more at www.quickanddirtytips.com

Related articles:
Pain relief beyond the pill bottle
Pain management
A pain in the bum and beyond

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