Chronic Pain: Dealing Day-to-Day

An effective pain management program should include the following elements:

  • Statement of desired outcome.
  • Before treatment begins, you should be allowed to state the result you want.
  • Use of a pain analog scale before and after treatment. This is a technique in which you describe your pain on a scale of 0 to 10, with zero representing an absence of pain and 10 representing unbearable pain.
  • Goal orientation. The establishment of measurable goals and regular review of your progress toward achieving those goals is important.
  • Interaction and dialogue between the therapist and the patient. You also should be allowed to offer feedback about the therapy.

Other tips to help you deal daily with your pain include:

  • Use good posture. People with chronic pain should try to improve their posture. Good posture helps to minimize pressure on your joints and muscles. On the other hand, poor posture stresses muscles and may cause them to stretch or shorten. Stretched muscles are weakened, whereas shortened muscles are more prone to injury and pain.
  • Exercise. Exercise therapy is one of the best methods for helping you reduce or eliminate many forms of chronic pain. It can help you strengthen muscles, increase joint range and achieve a state of physical fitness that allows you to perform everyday activities without pain or discomfort.
  • If you need more help, seek it. Many people who experience pain suffer associated mental anguish. Feelings such as anger, sadness and hopelessness can overwhelm people who are suffering from pain. They can even lead to feelings of suicide, especially in those with depression. These feelings can change your mood and personality and interfere with relationships and work and sleep patterns. Counselors and support groups can help you to better cope with your condition.
  • Be honest with yourself and your doctor. Pain is not a sign of weakness. If you cannot accept your pain and tell your doctor about it, you cannot receive the proper treatment for it. Don't let yourself be embarrassed - pain is nothing to be embarrassed about. Tell your doctor all of your symptoms. Don't generalize. Say how it hurts and where. With such an honest evaluation, you'll have a much better chance of being properly and effectively treated.

Living with pain can pay a drastic toll on your life. It can affect you daily activities, your mood and your health. However, pain is not a necessary evil. You can and should treat and attempt to prevent it. Once the pain is taken care of, you will find that you're better able to do the things you want. You'll feel better and be healthier. You can turn your attention back to what you want to do, instead of worrying if it'll be too painful.

Reviewed by Vikas Garg, M.D., MSA

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