5 ways to increase your pain managementTracey R
At this time there is a good chance that you have been thinking about ways in which you could “press the refresh button” in your pain management approach in the next year. While thinking about what you would like to change, make sure that any goal you are looking for is impactful and sustainable.
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And, as when starting something new, try to prepare for success. First, make it easy to do. Look for options that don’t consume too much time or that are demanding. Look for strategies or therapies where you can relax, step by step. Also, keep your plan affordable and try to get the most value from the time and money you spend. And try to make it fun. The more enjoyment, inspiration and satisfaction you get from whatever you do, the more likely you will make it a lasting part of your routine.
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Now let’s look at some simple ways you can improve your approach to make chronic pain more manageable and better controlled:
Unplug it one hour before. I also know that one of the most frequent complaints I hear from my patients is that they simply do not sleep well. Stopping any stimulation and agitation you can get when looking at emails or social networks long before bedtime helps the mind and body relax to fall asleep more easily.
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Download a meditation application. In recent years, several studies have found that meditation can play an important role in pain relief. While attending an 8-week course of mindfulness can have a serious benefit, that is not something that most people can commit to. But downloading a meditation application, most of which is free or low-cost, puts a 5-minute daily mediation at your fingertips, which makes it easier than ever.
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Exercise more intelligently, not harder. While getting enough exercise is critical for physical and mental health, this can be a real struggle for people with challenging pain problems. In many cases, trying typical gymnastics exercises will only intensify the pain even more, making the whole issue of exercise even more frustrating for patients. This is where looking outside the box can give results when exploring other movement strategies, some of which, such as tai chi and yoga, can even be done in a chair. When trying a new activity, go slowly and smoothly, and consider dividing it into smaller sessions during the day instead of doing it all at once. Adding good music and making it social can increase the fun value of whatever you are doing.
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Start event planning. Commit to doing at least one joyful activity every month. Take some time to plan to do something that is special and meaningful to you, and then book it on your calendar. It can be as simple as going to the movies or taking a walk in the park. The anticipation of having something fun on the way can increase optimism, improve mood and reduce stress.
Take it outside. Get used to going outside and get fresh air in the middle of the day on a regular basis, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Midday sunlight increases vitamin D levels, helps set up our biological clocks and can improve mood.
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No matter the new, exciting or different therapies or strategies you explore this year, try not to worry about any hiccups or missteps you encounter along the way. Appreciate every moment of the process as meaningful in some way. And if you can overcome the first few months, there is a greater chance that the new resolution will become a lasting habit.