Coping with Chronic Pain

Coping with chronic pain is not easy. But coping strategies are part of what help you get pain relief. Remember that any type of health problem creates stress for you on top of everything else that is going on. Stress is NOT the main cause, but it is factor in making whatever pain you have worse.

No matter where your pain is coming from, if you're a chronic pain sufferer it can be truly hard to maintain a healthy day-to-day life. Doctors call this "poor quality of life." However, there are many things you can try that may make it easier to cope with the pain.

Researchers who have studied coping strategies for many different types of life challenges have identified a variety of ways that people cope with pain and other stressful situations.

The general styles include problem-focused coping; detachment or avoidance; emotional coping; wishful coping (hoping it will just go away); looking for social support from other people. Some styles appear to help people improve their quality of life despite suffering from chronic pain.

Doing something specific from the list below, rather than just feeling sorry for yourself, is a very good start towards coping with your pain.

You might even find that your pain has lessened with certain techniques that have nothing to do with prescription medications. Once you realize how powerful your mind is, you can teach yourself to cope with pain so it doesn't become the focus of your life.

Ways to Cope with Chronic Pain

Engage in activities that you find relaxing. Find something that will help you ease and loosen your muscles. No matter what kind of pain you're experiencing, if you tense up your body, it only makes the pain worse.

Meditate and visualize. Grab some alone time so you can engage in meditation. Start by taking deep breaths and clearing your mind. Avoid placing specific focus on your pain even if you're tempted to do so. Instead, make it a point to visualize pain relief.

Use health-related affirmations. Affirmations are a great way to communicate positively with your subconscious. Tell yourself that you're in good health and that you've found pain reduction and you may be pleasantly surprised at what you can achieve with just your mind. Self-talk can really help.

Try hypnosis. You can enlist the help of a hypnotist and/or become skilled in the art of self-hypnosis. You can achieve some seemingly impossible feats just by having the proper focus and thought patterns. Hypnosis may use some good health affirmations while your mind is in a relaxed and accepting state.

  • With hypnosis, you may even begin to feel better before your conscious mind is aware of it!

Exercise to strengthen muscles. Depending on the type of pain you're having, exercise may be able to relieve it. For instance, there are muscles you can work through exercise that can lessen back pain.

  • For best results, stay on a routine and remember that exercise is usually toughest at the beginning, but it gets easier the more often you do it. Of course, consult with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
  • Remember too that exercise can lead to the brain releasing more endorphins, the natural hormones in the brain that have natural opiate-like effects (without taking drugs).

Engage in physical therapy. There are many excellent physical therapy treatments that can relieve your pain. A combination of exercises and pain-lessening equipment can bring you great relief. Your physician can refer you to a good physical therapist.

Get regular massages. If you don't feel up to doing more active exercises at first, then start with getting regular massages weekly. Massage therapists can help you relieve muscle tension and release stress. Choose from among the many different types of massage therapists for what best suits you.

For instance, Rolfing is a very intensive form of deep soft tissue manual treatment that tries to undo structural problems created across your whole body. It can hurt during the treatment, but its effects may break up any scar tissues and release traumas held in various areas around  the body. 

For a non-painful form of massage, look around for a Trager therapist. In Trager, the therapist uses gentle rolling or relaxing rocking movements to naturally cause the muscles to release their tension.

Use EFT therapy. The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a type of tapping therapy using fingertips that engages acupressure points on the body. It can show you how to remove mental and emotional roadblocks that could be triggering or worsening your pain.

EFT can be applied to many aspects of your life, and chronic pain is no exception. There are many online materials available to help you study EFT Therapy. People who teach or provide EFT techniques believe that it may help you reduce pain and deal with negative emotions.

Find a good support group. These days you have choices for support groups that are online or local in your area. You may not only pick up on some ideas and tips that you haven't tried yet, but you will find comfort in hanging out with other people who know exactly what you deal with daily.

No one wants to live life in pain, but these simple pain relief strategies can really help you enhance your quality of life. By taking a holistic approach to your pain, you're more likely to find a healthy balance and a life filled with greater joy, well being, and happiness. Coping with pain is possible.

About the Author Kris Greenway

Natural Wellness Zone is a blog discussion of approaches to self care using complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies that make sense to help people dealing with a range of health challenges. Kris Greenway is a fellow patient who has researched and found more natural ways to deal with a long list of health problems, including type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, leaky gut, and arthritis. She includes information and updates from expert physicians to educate people about their natural wellness options.