CrossFit South Rockland

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Waging War On Chronic Pain

Waging War On Chronic Pain

By: Sheila Olson
A chronic pain diagnosis can change your life forever. First by validating what your body has been telling you but not showing others, and by confirming the fear that you will be living with pain indefinitely.  Processing the diagnosis can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to dictate your prognosis.  Managing symptoms and finding new ways to handle the challenges of everyday life is a great start to overcoming the stress of learning you have chronic pain and winning the war against it.
Treatment Without Pain Medication

While pain medication can quickly alleviate many symptoms for chronic pain sufferers, the risks that come with long-term use make them a last resort.  Instead, focusing on lifestyle changes and alternative therapies can help improve the condition rather than just providing a short-term fix for the symptoms.  Eating a nutritious diet while abstaining from foods that cause inflammation can help the body heal itself by eliminating toxins. Similarly, staying active helps both the body and mind deal with the conditions that cause chronic pain.  Maintaining mobility can also be incredibly important to maintaining your independence as you navigate the challenges of your condition.  While exercise modifications may be necessary, staying fit will help with stress management too.  If you are already doing these things, and need a little extra help taking the edge off of the pain on those extra difficult days, consider massage therapy or chiropractic care for additional relief.  These natural remedies help with relaxation as well as manual manipulation of the areas that experience atrophy from efforts to avoid pain.  Other options include acupuncture, physical therapy, and cryotherapy to name a few. Whatever options you choose, just be sure to fully disclose your condition to your therapist to ensure its not a contraindication and that you receive all the benefits therapy can provide. 
Creating a Healthy Home Environment

A chronic pain diagnosis can impact your ability to function due to the emotional stress alone, but understanding the physical issues caused by your condition can help you create a home environment that reduces the stress on both your mind and body.  This might mean rearranging items in your home to make managing your condition easier.  Things like a first-floor bedroom or laundry room, furniture positioned differently, or items moved to lower or higher shelves to accommodate your specific needs can help.  Decluttering your home can also help reduce the stress that everyone feels in a chaotic environment, which adds extra emotional stress that chronic pain sufferers, in particular, do not need.  If your condition prohibits you from doing this yourself, consider hiring a professional organizer. They can help you with a particular space or throughout your entire home.  Adding a meditation space can also be a valuable way to help you relax.  Find a spot that has a view of nature and is away from high-traffic areas of your home. Not only does it provide a specific space for you to meditate, but it can serve as a reminder that you need to take time for yourself.    

It can be hard to accept a chronic pain diagnosis, and also a relief to have someone acknowledge that you aren’t making it up.  The emotional roller coaster that chronic pain sufferers experience leading up to a diagnosis, and immediately after, can easily set you on course for the pain to own your life.  Take it back by finding effective ways to manage your pain without medication, and create a healthy home environment that aids rather than hinders your progress.

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