10 Self-Care Tips to Manage Your Pain
Did you know that pain affects more people in the United States than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined? An estimated 75 million Americans have chronic or recurrent pain making it one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. For employers, chronic pain costs over $1 billion per year in medical costs, disability payments, lost productivity, and rehiring and training workers.
Types of Pain
There are two types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain usually starts suddenly and can range from mild to severe. It’s caused by another problem or event such as a sore throat, an injury, or surgery. When the cause of the pain is treated successfully, the pain goes away.
On the other hand, chronic pain does not go away. The nervous system fires pain signals for weeks, months, or years. It can interfere with your daily life and even lead to anger, depression, and suicide. Chronic pain could be caused by arthritis, back problems, migraines or persistent headaches, fibromyalgia, a past injury or illness, and more.
Managing Pain with Self-Care
Chronic pain can be difficult to treat, and the cause might be unknown. To deal with your pain, you’ll work with a healthcare team, but you can also use the 10 self-care tips below to try to get some relief.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Extra weight can slow healing and make pain worse, particularly in your back, hips, knees, and feet. By getting to a healthy weight and staying there, you’ll be taking an important step to reducing your chronic pain.
The endorphins produced when you exercise can help lower your pain. Also, stretching and flexibility help with range of motion and can reduce stiffness in joints that could lead to pain. Yoga and Tai Chi are both excellent forms of exercise for managing pain.
A lack of sleep causes more problems than you think. Make sure you get enough sleep. It helps with healing and your mood.
4. Change Your Lifestyle
Avoid tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol in your diet, which can exacerbate pain.
5. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Inflammation is one of the most common causes of pain, so take care of yourself and manage your pain by eating an anti-inflammatory diet that includes low-glycemic foods and high quality proteins. Avoid foods with added chemicals, and make sure you drink plenty of water.
6. Take Supplements
Did you know ginger is known to reduce inflammation, and capsaicin helps arthritis pain? Talk to your healthcare provider about taking supplements to help your pain. Anti-inflammatory supplements can be particularly helpful for chronic pain. These include omega-3s, magnesium, and vitamin D.
7. Relax and Reduce Stress
Identify your sources of stress and spend time relaxing to reduce your stress. For example, you can meditate or practice deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
8. Use a Cold Treatment
Apply a cold treatment (such as an ice pack or cold washcloth) on the area that aches for 20 minutes at a time. If a cold treatment doesn’t offer relief, try a heat treatment (see #9 below).
9. Use a Heat Treatment
Apply heat from a heat pack, hot water bottle, or heating pad (set on low) on the area that hurts for 20 minutes at a time. You could also take a shower or bath and let the warm water soothe the painful area.
10. Join a Support Group
Join a support group for people who suffer from chronic pain. It can be very helpful to talk with other people about how they deal with pain.
Do You Need Help Managing Your Pain?
If you need additional help managing your chronic pain, talk to a certified health coach from Wellbeing Coaches. Just click here to choose your coach and schedule a free 15-minute Talk to a Coach call.
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All information contained on this website are for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to be taken as medical or other health advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or a qualified medical professional. IN THE CASE OF A MEDICAL EMERGENCY OR SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, IMMEDIATELY CALL 911.
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