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Chronic Pain Management Tactics (Part 1)

Written by Courteney

Posted on June 8, 2016 at 10:10 pm

Over 100 million Americans suffer some form of chronic pain. This figure is heartbreaking and truly illustrates how important it is to create an open dialogue about chronic pain control. Without healthy management tactics, people may rely too heavily on medications or self medicate unhealthily with such substances as alcohol, drugs or cigarettes which can lead to other chronic health complications over time such as organ failure or cardiovascular disease.

Find Your Management Plan

There are various types of chronic pain from different forms of arthritis, to autoimmune pain, fibromyalgia to post-trauma pain, so treatments will work differently for each individual. With a little experimentation you can find the best pain management plan for you which, in tandem with your doctor’s recommendations, can allow you a better quality of life. Some non-pharmacological pain management techniques include:

  1. The Power of Touch

Touch may not completely banish the pain, but can divert focus from your discomfort to a more pleasurable sensation. Sensual and calmative touch releases the mood-boosting chemical oxytocin in the brain which works as a temporary natural analgesic. Many turn to sex for this euphoric fix, but a back rub will work just as well, a good cuddle or even getting a friend to play with your hair or scratch your back will give you enough warm fuzzies to at least tamp down pain sensations.

  1. Therapeutic Massage

Speaking of touch, millions of chronic pain sufferers find degrees of relief from professional therapeutic massage. Massage can help quell pain for various reasons. It increases circulation to damaged muscles and stiff joints by getting the blood flowing while simultaneously triggering the rapid release of opioids and the “love hormone’ oxytocin in the brain. Both opioids and oxytocin act as temporary natural painkillers. Massages also work to distract the brain from other ongoing aches and pains by redirecting it to the pleasurable or even harsh sensations an expert masseuse can deliver.

  1. Manage Your Stress to Manage Your Pain

When your body enters ‘fight or flight’ mode, it triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in the bloodstream. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol can worsen all kinds of pre-existing inflammatory conditions such as autoimmune conditions, arthritis or heart problems. Therefor, it stands to reason that alleviating your stress can also help assuage some of the pain and inflammation as well. Check out our post on stress busters for some stress management ideas.

  1. Mentally Guided Techniques

There are many psychological relaxation techniques that have shown positive results in both pain and stress reduction in some chronic pain sufferers. Some of these include guided meditation, progressive relaxation, or using biofeedback to monitor your body’s biological signals such as heart rate or blood pressure in an attempt to bring them down and calm your whole system.

A Closer Look At Progressive Relaxation

Progressive relaxation is arguably one of the best psychological relaxation techniques for pain management. It is the methodical tensing and releasing of each muscle group in your body when can help let go of tension in certain areas and relax all your muscles and joints (as well as your mind). Many chronic pain sufferers find this especially beneficial to help induce sleep as it can be tricky to catch some zzz’s when your joints are screaming. Overtime as you get better at progressive relaxation and gain more control over the various muscles in your body, you may feel more in control of your pain. Of course these tactics may not work for everyone but anything is worth a try, hey?

That concludes our part 1 of our pain management tips. Stay tuned for part 2 coming next to read more about how exercise, acupuncture, personal TENS machines and trigger point injections can help pain management! Thanks for visiting DocChat, if you have any questions or concerns about chronic pain management, sign up today for a video consultation with one of our highly trained physicians!

 

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