Posted on Oct 23, 2020, 2 p.m.
When chronic pain just doesn’t seem to want to go away, you may need to rethink your treatment approach and make sure that you are not making some of the common treatment mistakes.
Living with pain can be challenging both physically and mentally, but coping with pain can become easier if you take specific steps to treat it. Most people forget that gentle exercises when done on a daily basis despite having chronic pain can help one to get themselves back into good health. Also rather than depending totally on medication, there are alternative treatments that could be the answer. How one goes about pain management is important because it is rather easy to make mistakes that can delay success.
Most people tend to rely on drugs and the possibility of surgery to get through the pain and ignore alternative and natural methods. Studies have now shown that hot/cold treatments, massage, acupuncture, hypnosis, biofeedback and other methods as being effective in the battle against chronic pain.
“Many times, non-drug pain-relieving methods are just as important as drug treatment in pain management, according to the American Pain Society, which reviews results of all the published studies on various pain conditions,” says Kathryn L. Hahn, PharmD, an American Pain Foundation Action Network leader in Oregon. “Studies show that methods such as strength training, tai chi, yoga, aerobic exercise, meditation, and biofeedback all are helpful.”
Even with medications, and the growing acceptance of natural and alternative remedies, your doctor will still play an important role in your path to overcoming pain as in addition to helping your doctor can refer you to a qualified interventional pain management specialist if your pain is persisting.
“The most important reason to see a doctor is to confirm that the pain is not related to a medical condition that needs emergency treatment, such as cancer, an infection, or fracture,” explains Scott E. Glaser, MD, president of Pain Specialists of Greater Chicago. “If it is not one of these, going to see a doctor is important as he or she can start treatment with more advanced modalities such as prescription pain medications and/or a referral to physical therapy."
Sometimes that smallest thing can make a difference in coping with pain, like doing that bit of yoga, doing some gentle exercises, and getting the prescription medication that you may need. There are many factors that may lead a person to skip getting prescription refills such as financial inability to pay, it not being covered by insurance, using it all up before being due for the next refill, misunderstanding how to use the medication, and not following up with a doctor. It is best to stay on top of refills and discuss options with your doctor. Often people just forget to take prescribed medications which can lead to additional pain problems, this can be an honest mistake which can happen for several reasons like getting medications mixed up or forgetting a dose. Sticking to your schedule is important, this can be helped with reminder boxes with daily slots and email or cell phone reminders.
Certain types of chronic pain conditions can make it difficult to manage all of the medications, exercise, physical therapy, and dietary changes. While these plans may be challenging they are essential to reaching goals that you and the doctor have identified. Even though it may be difficult at times the best approach is to stick with it through sheer determination and realize that the end outcome will be worth all of the work you are putting in to be pain-free. This really is a struggle against an invader and that invader is pain, nothing less than determination and a complete lifestyle is needed to fight against this invader to take your body back in once more be in control.
Pain may make it difficult to find the motivation to exercise and to be honest even without pain finding motivation can be difficult. Pain may even make some movements unbearable. But it is critical to remember that exercise is one of the best and most important treatment strategies to improve your pain and speed up the healing process.
“I try to encourage my less successful patients by suggesting that small efforts are all that’s necessary in the beginning,” Hahn says. “If a short walk down the block and back is all one can do, that is enough for now. Slowly increasing function and not overdoing it is essential to getting back on track. But if you want to regain control, exercise is a must.”
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.