I am excited to have Jackie Waters of Hyper Tidy be a guest blogger for Contented Belly. In addition to creating Hyper Tidy, Jackie is a mother to four energetic and amazing boys. After losing her mother-in-law, Jackie felt ill-equipped to help her father-in law with both his grief and the practical challenges that arose. Now, Jackie writes articles in her spare time so that others know about the incredible resources available to them and so that they know that they are not alone. Her post for Contented Belly is about helping people manage chronic pain. – Alexandra
People diagnosed with a health problem that causes chronic pain often have a hard enough time coming to terms with a life-altering condition. They’re often surprised to find out that chronic pain is more than a sensory phenomenon. It also causes cognitive, emotional, and behavioral issues which complicate attempts at managing their pain, and require a holistic, body-and-mind approach that addresses a complex series of related problems. It’s an important point to consider because a diagnosis that just focuses on physical pain and its mitigation overlooks a much bigger picture.
It’s important to take an expansive view of chronic pain and its effects because treatment requires much more than the prescription of drugs, which may make things worse. The patient’s emotional state, beliefs about pain management, coping strategies, and ability to function on a daily basis should all be taken into consideration and assessed as part of a problem that involves more than pain management.
There is a substantial body of evidence supporting the efficacy of a multilayered approach to chronic pain management. A recent study of multimodal treatment regimens revealed that exercise, weight-reduction strategies, and other tactics proved effective at reducing pain over an 18-month period. Cognitive, behavioral, and physical therapies are also employed successfully in multilayered programs that help chronic pain sufferers by giving them an active role in their own treatment. Alternative measures, such as acupuncture and acupressure, which release pleasure-inducing endorphins in the brain, can also be effective when used in combination with other approaches.
The objective of relaxation techniques is to engage your body’s natural relaxation mechanism, which produces slower breathing, a sense of well-being, and reduced blood pressure. Yoga and meditation are also frequently employed, producing analgesic effects that reduce the impact of chronic pain, often in remarkably short order. Some patients have even experienced a reduction in pain even after ceasing to meditate on a regular basis. Yoga, which is one of the top 10 integrative health strategies in the United States, is widely practiced by nearly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population.
Maintain good health habits:
Relaxation techniques and pharmacological treatments can’t be effective if your overall health isn’t sound (some pain medications can keep you from sleeping). Managing pain means you need to maintain good habits, including basic considerations like getting at least seven hours of sleep a night and exercising. Some pain management professionals warn that exercise should be approached with caution. Overly strenuous activity can aggravate your condition, so begin with some light stretching and flexibility exercises (low-impact aerobics several times a week may be your best option) and work your way toward a more strenuous cardio and aerobic program.
Creating a stress-free home:
The first place you should look to as a haven from stress and other pain triggers is your own home. A good way to begin creating a stress-free home and relaxing environment is to clear away the clutter, which adds to the unsettled chaos that can increase stress. Take the time to rid yourself of excess belongings you no longer need or want from closets, and complement your clean new space with green plants such as cacti, ferns, and garden mums. Some strategically placed greenery adds a pleasing odor and relaxing lush verdance to your home. It can also make a welcome addition to a solitary meditation space that can be your own personal sanctuary.
Living with chronic pain means managing a condition that impacts every aspect of your life. Pain can make it difficult to sleep, concentrate, and maintain relationships. These are problems that can be addressed with a combination of meditative reflection, exercise, and good health habits, a marshalling of both mind and body.
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