By Jackie Waters
Living with chronic pain is not going to be easy. You’re facing discomfort where other people feel little or no pain. Then there’s the repeated visits to the doctor, pharmacy, physical therapist, and more to help your pain management regimen. It can really take a toll on your life.
That’s why you need all the help you can get. Here are a few tips for managing your life with chronic pain.
Opioids Are Not A Solution
Many doctors rely on prescribing strong painkillers called opioids to help people manage their chronic pain. These include drugs like tramadol, hydrocodone, and more. While they can be part of an effective pain management routine, they are not a solution. At best, they are a temporary fix. That’s because opioid pain relievers have problems.
In the short term, opioids can cause too much of your body to relax. This means your muscles can be a bit jerky because you have to use extra force to get them to work right. This also reduces how quickly you can react, which could be a serious problem when you’re driving.
Because these painkillers are so strong, they can damage your body. They tend to cause constipation since the muscles around your stomach and intestines are too relaxed. Your liver can be damaged even with “normal” painkillers like acetaminophen. Even your kidneys and lungs can have problems when you take opioids for too long.
Holistic Help For Chronic Pain
If those painkillers are not the solution, what is? That depends a lot on why you have chronic pain, but there are some holistic treatments that honestly help.
Acupuncture has been found to help with the pain associated with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back injuries, and more. Since stress makes almost everything wrong in your body worse, try some relaxation techniques, meditation, and even therapy. Massage has also been shown to help with chronic pain.
Surprisingly, getting into a regular exercise routine can help. That’s because your body produces it’s own safe painkiller — endorphin. As long as you speak to your doctor first and take it easy, especially in the beginning, you can enjoy exercising to help manage the pain. Even yoga has been shown to help.
Making Changes In Your Life
Fighting chronic pain isn’t just a question of what to do with your body. You also need to look around your home. Sometimes, the way you have your home organized and laid out can make your pain worse.
For example, cleaning your house can lead to flare-ups. That’s because you’re often stretching your joints and muscles when vacuuming, wiping, and picking up trash. Sometimes, you can reach for something and hurt yourself. Along the same lines, make sure stuff that you use often (like certain pans or the remote control) are easily within reach.
Since you probably spend a good amount of time in your car, you need to worry about that as well. Make sure your seat is in the right position. Also, adjust your mirrors so you can easily see around you without having to stretch too much.
You Can Manage Your Pain
Living with chronic pain is understandably tough and even demoralizing at times. Be careful with opioid painkillers; try some holistic options to see if they work for you, and make a few changes in your life. These can all help improve your mood, stress-level, and pain.