Pain… We all know what it's like to feel it. Its discomfort can take many forms, whether it's a skin burn, the daily ache of arthritis or a throbbing headache.
Pain involves a complex interaction between specialized nerves, your spinal cord and your brain. The experience of pain also varies from one person to another, as everyone has different pain thresholds.
There are two major categories of pain. Pain can be short term (acute) or long term (chronic):
Acute pain is a severe or sudden pain that resolves within a certain amount of time. You might feel acute pain when you have an illness, injury or surgery.
Chronic pain is persistent, lasting for months or even longer.
Deep breathing and meditation are techniques that help your body relax, which may ease pain.
Reducing stress in your life may help you find some pain relief. Negative feelings like depression, anxiety, stress and anger can increase the body’s sensitivity to pain.
Exercising will boost your natural endorphins which improves your mood while also blocking pain signals. Exercising can also reduce pain by strengthening your muscles and keeping your weight down, helping prevent re-injury and further pain. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Cut back on alcohol, which can worsen sleep problems. Pain makes sleep difficult, and alcohol can make sleep problems worse. Drinking less or no alcohol can improve your quality of life.
Don’t smoke as it can worsen painful circulation problems and increase risk of heart disease and cancer.
Track your pain level and activities every day and take it with you to every doctor visit. Keep a log or journal of your daily “pain score” to help you track your pain. At the end of each day, note your pain level on the 1-10 pain scale. This will give your doctor a good understanding of your pain and how to effectively treat you.
Get a massage to help reduce stress and tension.
A well-balanced diet is important. It aids your digestive process, reduces heart disease risk, keeps weight in control and improves blood sugar levels.
Distract yourself from pain to enjoy your life more. Focusing on pain only makes it worse. Find activities you enjoy that keep you busy and thinking about things besides your pain.