Pain affects every aspect of your life, and when living with chronic pain, normal, daily activities are a challenge. From the amount of sleep you get to the thoughts you have, pain has the power to negatively affect your quality of life.
Your day-to-day activities play a crucial role in managing your pain and maintaining a healthier life. Making positive changes to your routine and lifestyle are excellent ways to reduce pain and improve your mood.
There are simple changes and additions to your daily life that can make managing your pain easy.
Managing Your Pain at Home
Deep Breathing or Meditation
Practicing relaxation skills such as breathing exercises, visual imagery, meditation, and mindfulness are some techniques that can help you center yourself and take your focus off the pain you experience.
Stress and Pain go hand-in-hand. When you are stressed, your body may react in different ways – such as tensing muscles – which can increase your pain. This can be prevented by reducing and managing your stress.
Stress can have a negative impact on your relationships, work ethic, eating habits, and mood. Keep a list of what stresses you out and consider how it affects your life. Once you have a list of stressors, think of ways you can minimize them or eliminate the triggers. For example, if you get stressed and feel rushed during the work week, brainstorm ways you can make the week easier by incorporating things like meal prep, picking out your outfit the night before, or other ways to make the week go more smoothly.
If you struggle from pain, exercise may provide the relief you are looking for. Cardio exercises use large muscle groups and raise your heart rate, which releases endorphins – you body’s natural painkillers. Exercising for 30-45 minutes of low-intensity aerobic exercise is recommended and can help relieve pain.
It is important to talk with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Get More Sleep
It is no secret that pain can interfere with a good night’s sleep. You may have issues falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Medications can cause sleep issues, too. If your pain medication causes drowsiness and fatigue, you may be more inclined to sleep during the day instead of at night. Getting a proper amount of sleep at night is important to how your body copes with pain and how your body boosts your energy levels.
Here are some ways to sleep better:
- Practice Relaxation: Write in a journal, listen to soothing music, or practice deep breathing techniques to help prepare your body for restful sleep.
- Set a Schedule: Routine sleeping can help you get better sleep. Go to bed at the same time and set an alarm for the same time each day.
- Be Mindful of What You Eat and Drink: Caffeine and alcohol can affect sleep patterns, as well as heavy meals. If you need a snack before bed, try almond butter on toast, crackers and cheese, or nuts and fruit.
UPMC: Managing Chronic Pain at Home
Mayo Clinic: Strategies for Pain Management
Home Care Magazine: Pain Management Options
WebMD: Tips for Living with Chronic Pain