Chronic pain stinks. There’s no other way to state it. Some common coping tips pain sufferers hear such as “get more sleep” seem absurd. (How can someone sleep when in pain?) Although many pain-coping tips are unrealistic, some really are helpful. Read on to discover some realistic ways to cope with chronic pain and get on with your life.
5 Realistic Tips for Dealing with Chronic Pain
1. Consider counseling – Did you know that most licensed counselors can help you learn mental techniques for dealing with pain? In fact, some therapists specialize in pain acceptance/management. Ask friends and family for referrals, or ask your doctor if you’d like to keep things confidential.
2. Practice mindfulness – Increasing your ability to be mindful of your surroundings, feelings, and experiences—even the experience of being in pain—will help you cope with unpleasant physical and emotional sensations better. Being mindful of your pain means “paying attention to your pain with curiosity and without judgment,” said Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist, as quoted in Using Mindfulness to Approach Chronic Pain. This article’s author wrote,
“Mindfulness provides a more accurate perception of pain, according to Goldstein. For instance, you might think that you’re in pain all day. But bringing awareness to your pain might reveal that it actually peaks, valleys, and completely subsides.”
3. Color – Coloring may heighten your pain-coping skills. The reason for this is because coloring can decrease stress your mind, which, in turn, helps you handle stressful situations (like being in pain) more effectively. Busting out the colored pencils and coloring books designed for adults is a cheap, fun way to soothe and nourish yourself, reduce stress, and maximize your capacity to deal with chronic pain.
4. Visit a physiotherapist – Consider visiting a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists routinely treat chronic pain and get good results. They are also skilled at teaching patients to cope with pain via stress reduction techniques (breath retraining, appropriate physical activity, etc.). Ask family, friends, or other healthcare providers for referrals to reputable physiotherapy clinics. If you’ve tried everything but this, what have you got to lose?
Related Reading: Physiotherapy: Your First-line Treatment Against Low Back Pain
5. Forgive your body – If your body has caused you much suffering, you may have hard feelings toward it. This is not good for you mentally. It can be helpful to forgive your body for the pain it has put you through by writing a simple letter that begins with “dear body.” Write about the disappointments it has caused you. Finally, make a choice to forgive your body for having chronic pain. At the very least, this will free you to love yourself and perhaps care for yourself better. This may lead to reduced pain and an increased ability to cope with it.
Which of these tips would you be most apt to try?