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How To Cope With Chronic Pain

Whether you have lived with chronic pain syndrome for years, or have only recently begun to suffer with it, we thought you might be interested to discover three tried-and-tested techniques for pain relief.

We hope that at least one of them both inspires you and helps you to manage your pain.

  • Relaxation
    Relaxation techniques focus on slow, controlled, deep breathing that may take your attention away from the pain you are feeling, as well as helping to:
    release tension from muscles and relieve pain.”
    The three major relaxation techniques are as follow:
    • Autogenic relaxation
      Reducing stress through a combination of body awareness and visual imagery;
    • Progressive muscle relaxation
      Focusing on tensing and relaxing groups of muscles;
    • Visualization
      Using visual imagery to take the mind to a calm and peaceful place. Each of the senses may be called upon to add a richer sense of the relaxing space you would like your mind to travel to.

The Mayo Clinic list the following benefits that may be experienced through practicing relaxation techniques, suggesting that they can reduce stress symptoms by:

    • Slowing your heart rate
    • Lowering blood pressure
    • Slowing your breathing rate
    • Reducing activity of stress hormones
    • Increasing blood flow to major muscles
    • Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
    • Improving concentration and mood
    • Lowering fatigue
    • Reducing anger and frustration
    • Boosting confidence to handle problems
  • Gentle exercise
    We have said it before, and we’ll say it again… gentle exercise might be the last thing that you feel like doing when suffering from chronic pain, but it may be just the thing to help! According to an article in health.org:
    “Several people found that exercise relieved their pain through the release of endorphins, natural pain relieving chemicals. Others did not experience noticeable pain relief but felt that they were physically fitter, had more strength and had reduced their weight by being more active.”
    Talk to your GP or physiotherapist about different options to try, including:

    • Yoga
    • Walking
    • Tai chi
    • Pilates
    • Aerobics
  • Distraction
    Distraction techniques can move your focus away from thinking about pain, and concentrate it upon positive thoughts instead. The Pain Management Network have produced a helpful guide about some of the techniques that you might consider using, including:

    • Listening to music
    • Drawing/doodling
    • Reading
    • Puzzles
    • Imagination walks

One of our favourite distraction techniques relates to a recent trend for adult colouring books, such as Johanna Basford’s bestselling and beautifully illustrated ‘Secret Garden’.

Take a course
If none of the above options appeal, you may also consider taking a course to discover how to better manage your pain. The NHS offers free self management courses for anybody that lives with long-term chronic conditions, such as diabetes or arthritis. The aim of these courses is for patients to:
“to develop new skills to manage their condition (and any related pain) better on a day-to-day basis. Many people who have been on a self management course say they take fewer painkillers afterwards.”
You can find out more about the course and programmes on offer by self management UK here.

Have you experimented with any of the above techniques in order to manage the symptoms of chronic pain? Did you notice any benefits? Do you have recommendations for other techniques to try? We always love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.

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