When you live with chronic pain, you likely keep an eye out for new and unique ways to manage your pain. From distracting yourself from the pain to experimenting with relaxation techniques and natural pain relief alternatives to investing in items that help you manage your most beloved hobbies, you may find yourself in need of advice or assistance. We’ve got you covered with a few ideas. Check out these 6 tips to help you channel stillness and reclaim life with chronic pain.
1) Keep a pain journal
Your pain journal is specific to you and your pain. It’s a place where you can be honest and about your physical pain and the strain it puts on you both mentally and emotionally. Focus on topics such as:
- Intensity of your pain: Rate it on a scale from 1 to 10. While the frequency you rate your pain is up to you, try to record your pain rating at least once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once again at bedtime.
- Description of your pain: Does your pain feel like burning or tingling? Does your pain pulsate or throb? Do you ache in your muscles or joints? When you describe your pain with these types of words, you and your healthcare team will be able to track your pain better.
- Tracking of your pain: For many people, their chronic pain changes throughout the day. Take note of the times of day when your pain level increases or decreases.
- Activity levels: Notice when your pain increases or changes. Do you hurt more when you first wake up or after sitting for a while? Were you exercising? Were you running errands or doing chores?
- Environmental changes: Many people with chronic pain notice a change in their pain levels when the weather changes. Does cold or hot weather worsen your pain? Do you notice any changes when it’s going to rain?
- Diet changes: Certain foods and drinks may worsen chronic pain. Foods such as fast food, sugary food and processed meats have the potential to increase your pain level. Write down everything you eat and drink throughout the day and when you notice changes in your pain.
- Emotional wellness: Your emotions and feelings play a role in chronic pain symptoms. Do you feel stressed out at certain times of day? What makes you feel worried or anxious? Write down your emotions throughout the day, and try adding relaxation techniques whenever you feel overwhelmed to help you reclaim life with chronic pain.
2) Speak to your fear
Many people are taught to ignore their fears, but ignoring fear can make you feel more overwhelmed. Remember: it’s completely normal to feel afraid, especially when you’re worried that your pain won’t ever let up. The first thing to do is be gentle with yourself and notice that you feel afraid.
Next, ask yourself what exactly is scaring you. Is your pain level higher than usual? Do you have something big planned and you’re afraid your chronic pain will keep you from enjoying it? Write down what is scaring you.