7 Self-Care Methods to Manage Chronic Pain
By guest blogger: Brad Krause of selfcaring.info
Research continues to illuminate how the immune system changes in response to chronic pain. Hopefully, this will provide effective treatment options in the future, but until those solutions are found, millions of people have to find ways to cope. Here are a few self-care methods that can help you in the meantime.
1. Use probiotics
An article from Harvard Medical School mentions results from a study that showed consuming probiotic bacteria, such as the species Prevotella histicola, could help with some inflammatory conditions that cause pain, such as arthritis. Certain bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium or Akkermansia, are naturally found in the intestinal tract and can promote healthy metabolism.
2. Utilize support groups
Many people with chronic pain struggle to find family or friends who understand what they’re going through. Finding a support group with people who have an idea of what you’re enduring can really help. Look online for support groups that meet locally. If you’d like, you can stay online, but meeting people in person can really make a huge difference. You can also get ideas on how to cope with pain from people in this group.
3. Work on meditation
According to Psychology Today, clinical trials have actually shown that mindfulness meditation can help people manage high levels of pain. Meditation helps you focus on the parts of your body that are in pain, but teaches you to learn to let go of your struggles with them. Often with chronic pain, you suffer twice, because you feel both physical and emotional strife. Take a little bit of time to practice daily for at least five minutes, and then progress from there.
4. Light exercise is your friend
Large analyses and studies have shown that exercise can be an effective intervention for many people to manage pain. While you may not be able to go as hard as you’d like, just the tiniest bit can make a difference. Try to do exercise that helps you feel good. Some exercises include walking, jogging, yoga, tai chi, or Pilates. You can even do these exercises within the comfort of your own home for free.
5. Make a video playlist to distract yourself
Research published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology shows that music can be an effective technique to reduce pain and increase mobility with certain chronic pain conditions. Make a playlist of all the music you love. If you make a video playlist on YouTube or other video streaming sites, you can watch videos you enjoy and think about things other than your pain. It’ll cheer you up and help you get through the day.
6. Make a list of what you can tolerate at different pain levels
This is more specialized. The idea here is that there are certain activities you can do at different pain levels. This will help you recognize that you can still live the life that you want, even as you’re experiencing pain. Sometimes, pain does not equal harm, and that can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. However, this list will help you and your loved ones know how to take action and what you can do together.
7. Take a warm bath
Some people find that visiting hot springs or spending time in a sauna can help with chronic pain conditions. Taking a warm bath is a fantastic way to reap many of the same benefits. If you don’t have a bath, a shower can help as well, and you may also want to get a heating pad for your bed.
Experiment with all kinds of chronic pain treatments, from traditional Western methods to alternative ones. This can help you find self-care techniques that help you. You can find different ways to go through your day in a more enjoyable manner and find meaning in your everyday life.