How to deal with chronic pain

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Stress and Chronic Pain

Stress and Chronic pain occurs for many reasons. Environment issues, jobs, family issues, aging, illness, sedentary lifestyle, and accidents are the main culprits. Being stressed out or in pain makes your every day "to do list" that much harder. It's very hard to be motivated when you constantly hurt.

I am not selling any of my suggestions, but I have tried them myself. It is always advisable to discuss your specific conditions with a trusted medical practitioner before proceeding.

Are you stressed out?

Have you had the following symptoms for 3 months or more? Fatigue, muscle soreness and pain, insomnia, weight gain or loss, anxiety or panic attacks, depression, tense relationships, headaches

  • Yes-then you should try some of the suggestions in this article
  • No-I'm fit as a fiddle, and generally have a happy stress free environment and relationships
  • Yes-but my stress comes and goes, it's managable, and I consider it a normal fluctuation of life
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Get Moving

One major thing over looked for pain management is exercise. Not only is exercise good for your mind and body, but it helps with muscle fatigue, stress and tension.

If you are like many Americans, exercising and sticking to it is not an easy thing to do. Exercise is a way of life and not something that should be practiced 1-2 months then stopped. Good ways to stay active and not feel bored or burdened by it are listed below;

  • Contact a local clinic about physical therapy.
  • Join a gym, or ask someone to be a work-out buddy.
  • When you can walk, walk. If this means parking farther out at the grocery store, do so. Walking a few times a week in your neighborhood is always nice too. In the winter months consider walking in a shopping mall, window browsing. Invite friends or other neighbors to walk with you.
  • Avoid elevators and use stairs when you can
  • When you clean your house, clean vigorously. Set a timer for 45 minutes and clean like a maniac, put some music on and really get into it. Dusting, vacuuming, dishes, scrubbing bathrooms will all involve bending and moving in ways you normally don't, especially if you have a desk job. They also burn calories quicker than you realize.
  • Sign up for something new. Try a Yoga, Pilates, Spinning, or Zumba class. Not only will you have fun, but you'll probably meet some pretty nice people while improving your health

Sit up!

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Consider Your Posture

One thing we do is go lax on our posture. We forget to sit up straight, to stretch, and to be mindful of how we carry our bodies through out the day. We spend many hours hunched over a computer, and to many hours commuting in cars. Sometimes we have jobs that require us to stand or move in repetitive positions, all adding stress on our organs, bones, and muscles.

Make it a point to check your posture throughout the day and to stretch hourly. Yoga also improves posture! So take a class!

Take a breath!

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Take A Deep Breath

Breathing is really not given the consideration it deserves. Breathing can really help deal with pain and stress management.

Take 5 deep breaths right now as you read this.

Inhale through your nose as deeply as you can and slowly count to 5 as you exhale. While you do this, try to relax your shoulders, back, arms and legs.

  1. Deep breath in through your nose
  2. 1-2-3-4-5
  3. Exhale slowly through your mouth
  1. Deep breath in through your nose
  2. 1-2-3-4-5
  3. Exhale slowly through your mouth
  1. Deep breath in through your nose
  2. 1-2-3-4-5
  3. Exhale slowly through your mouth
  1. Deep breath in through your nose
  2. 1-2-3-4-5
  3. Exhale slowly through your mouth
  1. Deep breath in through your nose
  2. 1-2-3-4-5
  3. Exhale slowly through your mouth

Another great breathing exercise is to count to 4 on an inhale, hold for 4 seconds, count to 4 on the exhale. Repeat 5-10 times. This one really helps when you may be on the verge of losing your temper.

Over The Counter Medications

Over the counter medications can help with chronic pains, but should never be solely relied upon for long term pain relief. Taking medication prescription or not is hard on the kidneys and liver. If you have to take these, take them as sparingly as possible and remember to drink lots of water to keep your system flushed.

Crazy Contraptions & Other Things I've Found Very Useful

  1. An Inversion Table. Inversion Tables are lovely things. They are not however meant for people with high blood pressure (so again, check with your doctor before using one). Inversion Tables help limit the trips you may need to a Chiropractor, they help alleviate pressure on the disks within in your spine and neck, and you can usually find one for $150 USD. The only drawbacks are space for using and storing as they tend to be large, and they don't really provide any long term relief.
  2. Neck Traction devices-these are fantastic for anyone with chronic neck pain. I'd suggest finding one that inflates. They are devices that will strap around your neck and inflate with air, pulling apart the disks in your neck (more than an inversion table would on this area of the body), they provide immediate relief on stiff sore necks/and migraine headaches and can be used daily. You can find them on Amazon for under $45 USD
  3. IJOY massage Chairs, or a Shiatsu Massage Mat. Very handy, extremely nice for sore painful muscles, cheaper than going to get a massage every week, although they do not replace the healing touch of human hands. These will cost anywhere from $100-$1000 USD. A good purchase for long term in-house personal care
  4. A Bed of Nails-these are small portable mats, similar to a Yoga mat, consisting of tiny plastic points that you lay on for 10-15 minutes a day. These are little wonders and do great things to stimulate circulation and endorphin production. They are safe and not painful as the name suggests. I've used these on my kids before school or when they are to wound up and noticed a huge change in their demeanor when they were finished.
  5. Tens Units-another small miracle. You simply strap electrodes on the area in pain and tiny electrical signals are sent through the machine stimulating and relaxing muscles.
  6. Detox Bathing. Sometimes the body is to full of toxins and just needs a little help expelling. A great way, yet mild is by having a home made detox bath. Fill your tub with the hottest water you can tolerate and add equal parts baking soda and Epsom salts, I suggest a cup of each. Soak for 20 minutes, or preferably 40 if you can stand it (it's also nice to turn the lights down, add candles, or soothing music and maybe a cup of tea). You will notice mild sweating, but an over-all relaxed feeling. Rinse and get out and relax.
  7. Vitamins and Supplements-never forget to take the vitamins you need if you do not have the best diet. Vitamin D, B vitamins, Folic Acid, and Vitamin C.
  8. Owning a Juice Machine is also an added benefit to give your body what it needs to combat chronic pain, many times you can reduce pain simply by improving your diet.
  9. Ambiance-another great thing to try that is 100% free is appealing to all your senses at once for a quick stress reliever. You will need to block out 30-60 minutes of your time and devote that to making your 5 senses happy. I like to get in my favorite chair with a book and comfy blanket (touch and vision), then I add some soft music (hearing), have my favorite beverage (taste), and burn a favorite smelling candle (scent). You can pick and choose whatever your favorites are, but this is a great "pick-me-up" and short mental vacation
  10. Another thing to do that is 100% free...eliminate negative energy sucking people and relationships from your life as much as possible, and stay positive!

© 2013 Rebecca

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