When you're in pain, especially chronic pain, you just want it to go. away. right. now.
You might think you are doing everything in your power and doing all of the right things to put yourself on a path to pain relief. However, there are plenty of ways in which we sabotage ourselves.
With pain, we tend to look for an all-or-nothing approach to relief. Unfortunately, most of the time, this is unrealistic. There is no magical cure for chronic pain.
Instead, we need to draw from multiple approaches for pain relief which also treat the whole person.
Here are some examples of the mistakes you might be making when trying to relieve pain and what to do about it.
1. You wait too long to do something about it
Have you ever just tried to ignore your pain, hoping it will just dissipate sooner or later?
Many people will try to tough out their pain or downplay it because they don't want to seek treatment. Or, they are self-medicating with over-the-counters like Tylenol or NSAIDs.
Sometimes, injuries will heal on their own within a few weeks. If that is not the case and you are still in pain, it would be a good idea to go get checked out by your doctor to see what's going on.
There are some types of injuries or conditions causing pain that tend to get worse if you don't act quickly. For example, with plantar fasciitis, symptoms begin gradually and get worse as times goes on.
Low back pain can behave in this way too. Rest and recovery is not the answer in this case. This is where your research comes in handy. See bullet #2.
Don't wait until the pain leaves you unable to even function. Untreated pain really does a number on your body and mind. Do something now.
2. You don't do your research
These days, it's no longer the case that you get your treatment plan from your doctor and that's that. You have so much power in your hands to take advantage of all the information around you.
This entails doing research about your condition and potential treatment options to help you ask the right questions and take control of your own care. You will open yourself up to treatment options you might not have known existed.
And, no, your doctor should not be offended by this. He or she likes for you to be well-informed and involved in your own care. You are your own best advocate.
There is a wealth of resources available to you like patient advocacy groups and support groups. Sometimes, it is nice to find a tribe of people who know exactly what you're going through and can provide support and reassurance.
You can also research types of surgeries, diagnostic tests, and medications to help you decide if something is truly right for you.
It can be difficult to discern what is reliable versus what is complete baloney when it comes to health information on the internet.
In general, websites that end in .org are reliable sources such as arthritis.org or familydoctor.org.
You can also count on websites that end in .gov like National Institutes of Health (NIH) and .edu websites published by a college or university.
Message boards and blogs? Tread carefully and consider your sources. We think our blog is pretty awesome but maybe we're just biased.
3. You don't try natural alternatives
Some people believe that only surgery or medication is going to rid them of their pain. This is simply untrue.
Alternative and complementary treatments are becoming increasingly popular as pain relief methods. Why? Because they work.
We've covered natural remedies a lot here at The Feel Good Lab. Here are some of our favorites:
- The Connection Between Mindfulness and Chronic Pain Relief
- Your Guide to Dieting for Better Health and Pain Relief
- Why You Should be Using Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Arthritic Pain
- 8 Yoga Poses to Help Ease Chronic Pain
- How to Grow a Pain Healing Garden for Small Spaces
- 3 Breathing Techniques to Relieve Chronic Pain
Other things you should explore are :
- Acupuncture which activates the body's self-healing mechanisms
- Supplements to help ease the pain.
- Massage to ease muscular pain
Not to mention, surgery and pain medications carry their fair share of side effects and risks.
There are many ways to relieve pain naturally. Start with some simple breathing techniques and go from there.
Keep in mind that if you do try herbal supplements, some of these can negatively interact with prescription medications you take. Be sure to check with your doctor first.
4. You avoid exercising
It's hard enough to find the motivation to exercise when you're not in pain. But when you are in pain? Moving is sometimes the last thing you want to do.
However, one of the worst things you can do for your pain is staying still. Over time, inactivity weakens your muscles and bones putting you at risk for injury. This means more pain.
Besides, exercise does many wonderful things for our bodies like fight inflammation, keep muscles and joints strong, and give us those feel-good endorphins.
If you haven't been exercising, then it's not a good idea for you to push yourself into a full workout in the weight room on your first day. You don't want to injure yourself.
Instead, build your activity up gradually. Start with a stroll around the block and work your way up from there. You will be stronger in no time.
5. You don't stick to your treatment plan
When working toward relief of chronic pain, you might be juggling a number of different modalities like exercise, diet changes, medications, physical therapy, and more. All of this on top of daily life can be challenging to keep up with.
This treatment plan, with both you and your doctor contributing, is meant to help you achieve the pain relief goals you have set for yourself. This might include better functionality, weaning off of medication, or just lessening the pain.
There are no shortcuts if you are serious about treating your pain. It takes a lot of work.
Point blank, the best approach is to persevere and not give up on yourself. Just remember that the outcome will be so worth it. You can do this.
Relief is within your reach
Treating pain is like a war against an invader. The battles can be tough to overcome, we know that.
There is no magic bullet method for relieving pain. It often requires an attack from all angles.
Make sure you are not making any of these mistakes when trying to relieve your pain. Soon enough, you will be on your way to a happier, healthier way of living with less pain.
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