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Ways You Can Relieve Chronic Pain

Updated on May 22, 2020
Erin C Day profile image

Erin is an avid writer about various health topics. She has contributed to Medium, Sivana East, Wellnessaurus, and more!

Many people suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain is prolonged or recurring pain in some part of the body. Many people report aching joints, back pain, neck pain, knee pain, and more. According to Erica Jacques, the most common types are chronic back pain, headaches, joint pain, and nerve pain.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke (NIH) defines chronic pain as persistent pain in which pain signals keep triggering the nervous system for weeks, months, or even years. With chronic pain, there tends to be an initial incident in which the affected area was injured such as a sprained ankle, thrown-out back, or damaged knee. Chronic pain could also be due to an ongoing medical condition like arthritis, cancer, or infection. It is also possible to experience chronic pain with no previous cause or reason at all.

“Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself), psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system),“ they provide.

Chronic pain certainly sounds like an unpleasant ailment. And the intensity of pain can be different for everyone--it could be severe or bearable, sharp or dull. MedlinePlus says there are two types of pain:

  • Acute pain-- makes you aware of a possible injury you may need to take care of

  • Chronic pain-- lasts longer than acute pain. Environmental and psychological factors can worsen this type of pain

Luckily, there are things that can treat chronic pain. Cleveland Clinic advises that if you suffer from chronic pain, you should first try and treat any underlying conditions that might cause pain. Treatments vary depending on your medical conditions and type of pain you have.

“It is recommended that a team of healthcare professionals work with the patient to develop a comprehensive plan for treating and managing pain, instead of relying solely on medications,” they say. “The focus should be on development of self-management skills, along with lifestyle changes and efforts to improve physical and mental health.”

Ways to Reduce Pain

According to OnHealth, pain is manageable and there are 15 easy ways to do it.

They suggest you get moving, get centered, forgo alcohol and cigarettes, eat healthy, track symptoms, relax, distract yourself, participate in treatment and reach out. Acupuncture and medication are also methods that could help.

Exercise releases endorphins that decrease perception of pain.

Mind-body interventions have helped people cope with pain.

Skipping out on alcohol will reduce sleep disruptions which can trigger chronic pain, while smoking may lead to an increase in pain.

Eating a healthy diet can increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and healthy fats. All these can boost your defenses against pain.

Taking note of your symptoms can help you know if you need to make any adjustments to your current treatment.

Relaxing will reduce tiredness which can worsen pain and distraction can take your attention away from the pain. Music is a good way you can both relax and distract yourself.

By being an active participant in your treatment, you can improve your quality of life just by showing up to therapy or taking the medications your doctor prescribed.

Talk to your doctor to see how you can treat your chronic pain, it could be through chiropractic or massage.
Talk to your doctor to see how you can treat your chronic pain, it could be through chiropractic or massage.

WebMD discusses the following chronic pain treatments:

  • Drug therapy (non-prescription and prescription)

  • Trigger point injections

  • Surgical implants (intrathecal drug delivery and spinal cord stimulation implants)

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy (TENS)

  • Bioelectric therapy

  • Physical therapy

  • Exercise

  • Psychological treatment

  • Alternative therapies

  • Mind-Body therapies (like guided imagery)

  • Acupuncture

  • Chiropractic treatment and massage

  • Therapeutic touch and reiki healing

  • Nutritional supplements

  • Herbal remedies

  • Diet

  • Pain clinics

That is sure a lot of options. Discuss with your doctor or medical professional which may be right for you-- it could be a combination.

Who Can Get It?

Anyone can really suffer from chronic pain, but apparently there are two personality types that are more likely to have it.

Wikipedia claims that the personality profiles conversion V and neurotic triad were frequently found in people with chronic pain.

People with the conversion V personality express “exaggerated concern over body feelings, develops bodily symptoms in response to stress, and often fails to recognize their own emotional state, including depression” they say.

The neurotic triad personality “expresses exaggerated concern over body feelings and develops bodily symptoms in response to stress, but is demanding and complaining.” It is still debated if it's these traits that contribute to chronic pain or come from pain.

There Is Hope

Anyone can be plagued with pain. When pain persists for long periods of time, it is characterized as chronic pain. Chronic pain can have an immense, negative effect on your quality of life-- it can be debilitating and make it hard to cope. In order to better manage such pain there are various treatments available so you can go on living rather than just surviving.

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