UACES Facebook 4 Ways to Manage Chronic Pain
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Chronic Pain

by Bailey Carey

Do you or a loved one need help managing your chronic pain? Try some of these tips to help relieve the pain!

Pain decorative image
Pain

Let’s discuss what chronic pain is first. Chronic pain is defined as ongoing pain that lasts longer than three months. Roughly 70 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to the Center for Disease Control. Chronic pain can be extremely unpredictable and affect multiple areas of the body. Many people who suffer from chronic pain had an initial injury that has caused damage to their body, such as a sprained back. Others pain can be caused by a medical condition such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. 

Even though chronic pain is different for everyone, here are few tips to manage the pain:

  • Move! Staying active can actually help your chronic pain. Harvard Medical School recommends staying active with some form of exercise. My favorite way to do this is through yoga! Practicing yoga allows you to stretch and strengthen muscles, which could help reduce pain. Any movement is better than no movement – so try anything.  Take a short walk (or longer if you feel up to it) around the neighborhood and don’t forget to wave at everyone you meet!
  • Cold and Heat. Using cold therapy can help reduce swelling and muscle spasms as well as relieve pain. On the other hand, heat helps your muscles relax and can raise your pain threshold according to Harvard Medical School. 
  • Mindfulness and Purposeful Activity. Teach yourself to focus on something other than your pain. Do something you enjoy and stay focused on that activity. This is a great way to start training yourself to let go of your lingering thoughts about your pain.  For more information and ideas on mindfulness visit these sites:
  • Move With Ease.  Several Arkansas’ Extension offices offer a “Move With Ease” program. This is a low impact exercise class designed to help those with chronic pain. While these classes are not available at the moment due to COVID-19, they will be in the future!  For more information visit:  Extension's 'Move with Ease' sessions can help those with chronic pain or call your local extension office.

Managing chronic pain is about finding what works for you. It can be frustrating, but finding what helps you can improve your daily life. For more ideas, visit these sites:

Options for managing chronic pain - Food & Health

Non-opioid options for managing chronic pain

 

Sources:

https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pmtf-final-report-2019-05-23.pdf

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/non-opioid-options-for-managing-chronic-pain

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/acute_pain_versus_chronic_pain

https://www.theacpa.org/pain-management-tools/the-art-of-pain-management/living-with-pain/

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/extension_curall/2000/

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/options-for-managing-chronic-pain

 

About Author Bailey Carey:

"My name is Bailey Carey. I am a senior at Harding University studying Medical Humanities. I will be getting married after I graduate in December.  In my free time I enjoy going out on the lake with my family and reading a good book!"





 
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