Living with chronic pain is not easy, and with time, can really affect one’s lifestyle. In fact, the psychological effects of chronic pain are often times just as significant as the painful physical condition itself. Emotional effects of chronic pain include irritability, depression, and anxiety. Chronic pain can also affect one’s ability to interact with others and maintain stable relationships. To help overcome these common effects I have included some coping strategies which I hope you find useful.
Emotional effects of chronic pain include:
- Losing the ability to do the things normally enjoyed
- Altering the way one interacts with others
- Difficulty maintaining stable relationships
- Depression and anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritability and short temper
- Weight gain
Patients with chronic pain are not necessarily diagnosed with depression or anxiety, but dealing with a condition leading to chronic pain can cause a patient to feel depressed and anxious.
5 Helpful Tips When Dealing with Chronic Pain
It is very important to develop coping skills. Some people are able to live a relatively healthy lifestyle despite the pain, and others are unable to do so. It is very important to understand that you are not alone. In order to deal with chronic pain, these are a few tips to keep in mind…
Although this may be difficult, under the guidance of a certified physical therapist, a proper home exercise regimen can be tailored to an individual.
2. Eat healthy
Proper nutrition can add to a healthy life-style in general.
3. Learn to relax
Take some time to relax completely (although this can be difficult at times). Meditation and yoga are great modalities to help one relax, especially while listening to your favorite peaceful music.
4. Get a proper night’s sleep
Sleep disturbance is very common amongst patients with chronic pain. It is important to try to relax, to not eat heavy meals prior to going to bed, and to wind down after a long day.
5. Try alternative treatments
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS units), massages, acupuncture, and other modalities are often useful.
Pain psychologists and counselors can be beneficial for most patients with chronic pain. Although narcotics are very useful in treating many painful conditions, they are only part of treating chronic pain. It is important to realize that medications do not cure pain, but rather are there to allow one to function better than they would without medications.
Speak with your doctor or pain specialist if you are having a hard time coping with chronic pain. If chronic pain starts affecting your personal life and self image, or interfering with your work and relationships, it is important to seek the proper medical assistance.
Talk to us, which coping strategies do you find most successful in dealing with chronic pain?
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