Living with Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can severely affect the sufferers quality of life. It can be severe enough to prevent him/her from working/studying, performing everyday activities and affect the patients relationship with other people. Unfortunately, chronic pain often cannot be cured. It may be true that elimination of the underlying cause is the key to pain-free life, however, the pain is in most cases caused by chronic conditions which cannot be cured or/and are difficult to control. In addition, the pain sometimes persists even if the underlying cause is eliminated, while some people suffer from chronic pain for an unknown reason.
Although the doctors may not always be able to make the pain go away, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Many people make a major mistake by hesitating to call their doctor until the pain does not become unbearable. Firstly, a pain which persists, gets worse or occurs in a certain pattern could indicate a medical condition requiring medical treatment and secondly, it may not be possible to treat or reverse the progress of the underlying cause of the pain if the patient does not receive medical treatment as soon as possible. As a result, many people suffer from debilitating pain just because they did not seek medical help on time.
Living with chronic pain can be both physically and psychologically exhausting. But just because the underlying cause cannot be cured that does not necessarily mean that the sufferer will live in pain the entire life or that the pain will get only worse over time. There are people who suffer from disabling pain their entire life, however, most patients successfully control the pain by following the prescribed pain management plan. But a lot also depends on the patient’s lifestyle choices.
The studies show that chronic pain is often closely related to depression and that antidepressants can also help relieve the pain in patients who do not have any signs of depression or other psychological disorders. As a result, all patients with chronic pain should be encouraged to learn stress management and relaxation techniques. It is difficult not to get frustrated when not being able to perform everyday activities or go to work/school, however, anxiety and tension have been proven to aggravate the pain.
In addition to learning to minimize the effects of stress, chronic pain patients also benefit from regular gentle exercise such as golf which, however, should be chosen and approved by their doctor or physical therapist. The patients should wear the correct sports gear such as supported running shoes. Also important is to eat a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet which does not only help control the pain but the underlying cause of the pain as well. Unless being instructed otherwise, chronic pain patients should eat a diet which includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
Some chronic pain patients claim that they have also benefited a lot from alternative treatments and supplements, some of which, however, are strongly advised against by the medical practitioners. But a gentle massage or use of aromatherapy burners for instance are generally safe. However, people who have a medical condition, or unexplained pain or other symptoms should always consult with their doctor before using alternative pain relief treatments or therapies.