If you suffer from chronic pain, it can be disabling and disrupt your life. Although it is difficult to treat chronic pain, the pain can be managed through a variety of methods. However, during the course of your pain treatment, there may be some setbacks that you experience. Some things that people do can actually make your pain worse.
Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol both have a negative effect on chronic pain conditions. Smoking can greatly increase fatigue and reduce healing times. Drinking can interfere negatively with pain medications and increase your risk for developing certain health problems, such as heart disease.
Mental health considerations are extremely important with treating chronic pain conditions, because anxiety and depression can occur when you have pain that prevents you from doing things, and anxiety and depression can make the pain worse. Depression, high stress levels and anxiety are very common among chronic pain sufferers. It doesn’t mean that you’re crazy, these conditions can be treated like any other health concern. Not being treated means that you could very likely be setting up a feedback loop of pain and depression that becomes harder and harder to break free from. It can be very helpful for some patients to talk to a counselor or take medications. Antidepressants have also been shown to have an effect on certain types of chronic pain aside from the effect that results from reducing depression.
Pain can make it very difficult to perform certain activities, including exercise. It might seem easier to stop trying. However, being sedentary actually makes your pain worse compared to exercise that is safe and tailored with your needs in mind. Physical or occupational therapists can help a patient find exercise routines that work for them and can help improve their chronic pain.
Some patients find that what they eat also has a large effect on how they feel. Junk food and empty calories do not provide your body with enough nutrition for recovery. Try to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources. Nutritionists can help you with planning balanced, healthy meals.
If you are already taking pain medications, and you want to make a change to your dosage or prescription, never stop taking your pain medications without talking to your doctor. Medications such as narcotic pain medications, anticonvulsants and antidepressants can trigger dangerous and painful withdrawal periods if you stop taking them abruptly.
It is better to seek medical treatment for chronic pain sooner rather than later. Some people tend to wait until it is absolutely necessary to go to the doctor, but preventative and palliative care is important. It is better to start treatment when a problem is manageable rather than to wait until it gets completely out of hand later on.