11 Tips for Living With Chronic Pain
6. Don't smoke. It can worsen chronic pain.
Smoking can worsen painful circulation problems and increase risk of heart disease and cancer.
7. Track your pain level and activities every day.
To effectively treat your pain, your doctor needs to know how you've been feeling between visits. Keeping a log or journal of your daily "pain score" will help you track your pain. At the end of each day, note your pain level on the 1 to 10 pain scale. Also, note what activities you did that day. Take this log book to every doctor visit -- to give your doctor a good understanding of how you're living with chronic pain and your physical functioning level.
8. Learn biofeedback to decrease pain severity.
Through biofeedback, it's possible to consciously control various body functions. It may sound like science fiction, but there is good evidence that biofeedback works -- and that it's not hard to master.
Here's how it works: You wear sensors that let you "hear" or "see" certain bodily functions like pulse, digestion, body temperature, and muscle tension. The squiggly lines and/or beeps on the attached monitors reflect what's going on inside your body. Then you learn to control those squiggles and beeps. After a few sessions, your mind has trained your biological system to learn the skills.
9. Get a massage for chronic pain relief.
Massage can help reduce stress and relieve tension -- and is being used by people living with all sorts of chronic pain, including back and neck pain.
10. Eat a healthy diet if you're living with chronic pain.
A well-balanced diet is important in many ways -- aiding your digestive process, reducing heart disease risk, keeping weight under control, and improving blood sugar levels. To eat a low-fat, low-sodium diet, choose from these: fresh fruits and vegetables; cooked dried beans and peas; whole-grain breads and cereals; low-fat cheese, milk, and yogurt; and lean meats.
11. Find ways to distract yourself from pain so you enjoy life more.
When you focus on pain, it makes it worse rather than better. Instead, find something you like doing -- an activity that keeps you busy and thinking about things besides your pain. You might not be able to avoid pain, but you can take control of your life.