100 million Americans battle chronic pain on a regular basis, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine. If you’re one of these people, then your odds of victory increase with every bit of knowledge you gain about your enemy. So, in this post, we’ll explore some of chronic pain’s causes. We’ll consider how to deal with the diagnosis and discuss ways to enlist your home environment in the fight. At the end, you’ll have a better understanding of your condition and how to live life on your own terms, even as you strive for better health.
Know the Causes
Think of chronic pain as too much of a good thing. To see what we mean, imagine your nerves as your body’s burglar alarm. The purpose of any security system is to sound an alert in the event of a dangerous intruder. In the same way, your nervous system stays on guard for dangers to your body and sounds an alarm when needed. For example, if your stub your toe, then the unpleasant feeling in your foot is your signal to watch where you’re stepping. Seen in this way, it’s clear that pain is vital to staying alive and healthy.
Now imagine a security system that keeps sending out an alarm over and over, no matter how often you press the RESET switch. This is akin to how chronic pain works. Common Causes of this problem include:
- Joint pain due to rheumatoid arthritis.
- Long-term medical conditions such as back or neck injuries.
- Effects of surgery or other medical procedures.
Now that you know more about chronic pain and its causes, let’s look at ways to manage its effects.
Dealing with the News
Receiving an unfavorable medical diagnosis like chronic pain can startle or even shock the recipient, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). Here are ways to deal with the impact:
- Give yourself time. Rash actions or trying to hurry your adjustment will only complicate the situation.
- Stick as close to your normal routine as possible.
- Resist the temptation to blame yourself or others for the diagnosis. Now is not the time to scapegoat, but to gather your resources and prepare for the future.
- Count your blessings. You cannot erase the fact that you have chronic pain. But you can minimize its effects on your life through exercise, nutrition, counseling, and relaxation or meditation practices under your healthcare provider’s guidance. Try to see the cup as half full rather than half empty.
Creating a Calm, Supportive Home Environment
Your surroundings have a profound effect on your mood and outlook. Understanding this fact is key to managing your chronic pain symptoms. Here are three ways to enlist your home’s environment in the battle for your well being:
- Rid your home of unneeded, unwanted items. Decluttering fosters an orderly, stress-free setting in which you can focus on healing and self-improvement.
- Organize your closets, cabinets, drawers, shelves, etc., so you can find items you need with a minimum of effort. This will prevent needless stress to your body and mind.
- Create your own personal “tranquility space.” This is an area to which you can always retreat when the pressures of life get the best of you. Decorate it with comfortable furnishings, objects of personal or spiritual significance, and anything that helps you to feel calm and in control. Possible examples include scented candles, tabletop water fountains, and works of art.
Dealing with chronic pain is never easy. But the tips in this post can help you to counter its effects. Use them with that goal in mind as you strive to live a richer, more satisfying life.
**Thanks to Jackie Walters for this contribution ***