Pain is a natural response of the human body that helps us cope with injuries and illnesses. It’s also a mechanism that the brain uses to train and alert us about impending dangers. So, even though most people hate the idea of being in pain, it’s usually a good thing.
That is, of course, unless you’ve developed a condition that causes chronic pain. From migraine arthritis to fibromyalgia and slipped disc – there are various illnesses that can result in chronic pain. Needless to say, living a life with constant pain can be challenging, both physically and mentally.
Although it affects people of all genders and classes, women are likely to suffer more and longer from chronic pain. This is due to a wide array of factors, including differences in genetics and their brains’ information processing abilities.
Also, inherent gender biases in the medical system often mean women have to wait longer to receive the right treatment for their pain. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the medical community’s understanding of most diseases is based on male physiology.
So, if you’re a woman who’s been living with chronic pain, it’s likely that more than one person has told you “it’s all in your head” or “you just need to relax”. Apart from the debilitating physical challenges, this could also take a toll on your mental wellbeing.
Women often wonder what is chronic pain and how to alleviate it. They also wish to know why is it caused and how is it different from the regular pain you feel when you hurt yourself. Does having chronic pain mean you can’t live a normal life like other people? If you’ve been dealing with pain for a while, these questions must be racing through your mind right now.
The good news is that it’s possible to live a happy life despite chronic pain. While it may not be possible to snap out of your pain altogether, you can learn to manage it. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few simple ways to help you deal with chronic pain and live a fulfilling life. Let’s get started.
1. Understand the Root Cause
The only thing worse than having chronic pain is not knowing what’s causing it. To begin with, it’s important to understand what is chronic pain and why you’re experiencing it. Typically, if you’ve been experiencing pain for more than 12 weeks, chances are it’s chronic.
Even if there’s no cure for your pain, getting a proper diagnosis can go a long way to help you feel validated. If your go-to physician doesn’t have an answer, don’t hesitate to get a second or third opinion. Identifying the underlying cause of your pain will also help your physician develop the right treatment plan.
2. Maintain a Daily Routine
When you’re dealing with chronic pain, it’s only natural that you’d want to spend most of your time curled up in bed. While it’s essential to get adequate, being inactive can do more harm than good in the long run.
That’s why it is a good idea to create a daily routine that helps you stay active. Make sure you incorporate some form of exercise into your routine. It’ll stimulate the production of endorphins which, in turn, will help block pain signals and promote a general sense of wellbeing.
Make sure you consult your doctor to understand what type of exercise would be suitable for your condition. Also, you could consider creating a morning ritual that’ll motivate you to get out of bed. Likewise, make sure you practice good sleep hygiene and get at least 7-8 hours of shut-eye every night.
Additionally, you should pay attention to your diet. Swap high-fat, sugary junk food with healthy, wholesome foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Also, don’t forget to keep your body hydrated throughout the day.
3. Focus on Your Mental Health
No. Your pain isn’t “in your head”. But living with chronic pain can be catastrophic for your mental wellbeing. It causes stress and can lead to a wide array of mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.
Deteriorating mental health can interfere with your pain management and treatment protocol, further aggravating your condition. That’s why it is crucial to identify the right ways to improve your mental health. Start by joining a support group for chronic pain patients.
Connecting with other people who share your plight can help you come to terms with your reality. Also, it’ll alleviate any feelings of alienation and loneliness. If you think you’re unable to deal with the stress on your own, it’s also a good idea to seek professional help from a therapist.
Your pain doesn’t define who you are. Nor should it stop you from accomplishing your goals and living a happy life. Give the aforementioned techniques a try to cope with your pain and overcome the limitations it imposes on you.