Chronic pain can consume your life. Being uncomfortable from the moment you open your eyes to the moment your head hits the pillow can seriously affect your quality of life. Whether it’s sport-related, injury-related, or due to another cause entirely, we can help. Keep reading to learn how to manage chronic pain.
How to Manage Chronic Pain: 4 Tips
1. Manage Your Stress
This is something that we should all be doing already, and it’s especially important for people suffering from chronic pain.
According to the Institute for Chronic Pain, stress can trigger pain flare-ups. More specifically, when you experience stress, it triggers a natural stress response. This response then produces inflammation, and inflammation makes your pain worse.
It’s challenging because in a sense, stress and pain go hand in hand. “Pain” as an experience and feeling exists only because of the stress it puts us through.
However, you can better control and manage this cycle if you can keep a handle on your stress. There are a number of ways to do this, and what works for one person might not work for the next. Regardless, here are a few suggestions to get you thinking:
- Physical activity — even something low-intensity like walking.
- Listening to music.
- Spending time in nature.
- Reading/listening to an audiobook.
- Meditating (more on this in a minute).
You should also take care to eliminate stressors. So, if spending time on social media ends up exposing you to things that upset you, limit the time you spend online.
Now, getting back to meditation…
2. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Your chronic pain management will benefit from meditation.
Much of this goes back to our previous point about managing stress. Meditation helps you focus on staying quiet and calm. Because your body is so much more relaxed, it’s not going to release those stress hormones into your bloodstream, which you now know makes your chronic pain worse.
What’s more, the Cleveland Clinic says that meditation can encourage your body to release endorphins (similar to physical activity), which helps to fight pain.
It might sound like a lot of nonsense. After all, meditation is just sitting quietly, right? Not so. And sure enough, study after study suggest that meditation can be a feasible method for managing chronic pain and even chronic pain in the lower back specifically, according to one pilot study.
And if you really dedicate time and energy to mastering the process, research says you can experience even more drastic results. Psychology Today references clinical trials that saw chronic pain reduced by 57% thanks to mindfulness meditation. “Accomplished meditators can reduce it by over 90 percent,” the site says.
We know it can feel confusing and even overwhelming trying to meditate. Apps like Headspace help and can gently guide you in the right direction. Slipping into an actual, legitimate meditative state takes practices, so be patient with yourself! To start, practice simply sitting quietly and freeing your mind, free of distractions.
3. Use Electric Muscle Stimulation for Natural Chronic Pain Relief
When you want a safe and effective way to manage chronic pain, electric muscle stimulation (EMS) using a device like PowerDot can help.
Here’s what you need to know.
PowerDot’s Smart TENS is an innovative new way to relieve pain. TENS sends electrical pulses across your skin and nerve strands. This, in turn, distracts your brain from pain signals. The Gate Control Theory says that this stimulus closes the “gates” to your central nervous system, stopping it from experiencing pain.
Furthermore, TENS encourages your body to release endorphins, aiding in your chronic pain management even more.
Using the PowerDot app, you simply select the area where you’re experiencing pain, pick the type of pain (chronic, acute, etc.), and select your pain score/tolerance.
Using this information, our proprietary algorithms create a program designed just for you. You can track your pain score for each body part over time to monitor your progress.
This is a smart method for management of chronic pain because it’s not a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach. It’s an approach designed for you.
While TENS units have been available over-the-counter for quite some time, the standard of quality has never been excellent and these devices aren’t typically FDA-approved. However, PowerDot is.
When used consistently, electrical muscle stimulation can be your ally in managing chronic pain. It’s an all-natural approach free of any undesirable side effects, and you can bring it with you wherever you go.
4. Prioritize Mobility
Having good mobility is important whether you’re a regular gym-goer or an avid couch-dweller. This is because at the root of much pain and injuries is a lack of mobility.
For many of us, our mobility suffers largely thanks to sitting. Poor posture, slouching at our desks, and looking down at our phones excessively lead to rounded shoulders and tight pectorals. Prolonged sitting means tight hip flexors, a weak core, and possibly an anterior pelvic tilt, which can wreak havoc on your lower back.
The best solution is simple: Sit less. Invest in a standing desk or a platform that will elevate your computer, so that you can still work standing. Make a point of getting up and walking around once or twice an hour. Humans aren’t meant to sit all day.
Otherwise, you should (at the very least) spend time on mobility. This includes static and dynamic stretching; foam rolling; and electric muscle stimulation. You need to relax and lengthen those muscles, or else tightness will cause you serious trouble.
Remember that tightness and pain can travel. For instance, tight hip flexor muscles can lead to lower back pain or knee issues. Care for your body holistically, as opposed to isolating the different areas and treating them individually.
We know that it can feel like chronic pain rules your life. PowerDot is here for you. Manage your stress, practice mindfulness meditation, use electric muscle stimulation, and focus on mobility, and you’ll find that your chronic pain is easier to handle.
Learn more about how Powerdot can help with arthritis.