If you’re living with chronic pain, you aren’t alone. It’s estimated that at least 20 percent of adults suffer from chronic pain, and that number is highest among people aged 65 or older. Fortunately, there are many different things you can do to mitigate that pain. Here are just a few tips for managing your condition and hopefully finding a little relief.
Medication is one of the most effective ways to treat chronic pain. Some can help with underlying issues such as stiffness, tenderness, or swelling in your joints and tendons. Others can simply numb your nerves so that you don’t feel anything. NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are a popular prescription for chronic pain. Other options include steroids, sedatives, and muscle relaxers.
The food that you eat can play a big role in your overall health. A healthy diet can help you feel better, sleep better, and manage your pain better. This doesn’t mean that you need to subsist on a diet of carrots and celery. A healthy diet includes a healthy balance of fats, carbs, and protein. Try cutting out the junk food and consuming more whole grains and fresh produce. Choose healthy protein sources, like lean meat, eggs, legumes, seeds, and nuts, rather than eating red meat for most of your protein. Whole grains, natural sugars, and high-fiber produce are all healthy carbs, so choose these rather than sweets or highly processed foods.
If you have arthritis or an injury to a joint or another type of chronic pain, your doctor might recommend physiotherapy. Physiotherapy can help reduce pain in your joints and speed healing. Exercises and stretches are an important part of treatment as these help keep your joints flexible and increase circulation. Here are some ways a physiotherapist might use these techniques to treat your condition.
Warm Water Exercises
Water makes movement easier because water supports the weight of your body. However, the water in many pools is so cold that it may make your joints hurt worse. A physiotherapy clinic often has a warm pool or a warm hydrotherapy tub where you can sit or stand in warm water and go through an exercise routine. The warm water increases circulation, and the buoyancy of the water allows you to move your joints through a larger range of motion than you can do on your own. This keeps your muscles limber and increases joint flexibility.
Water can also provide resistance for strengthening muscles and it can also provide a cardiovascular workout which you might not be able to do on your own due to limited mobility. Strengthening exercises are important for the protection of your joints since strong muscles offer better support that keeps your joints stable. Plus, exercising and stretching in warm water is relaxing and can provide the effects of exercise that you may be missing out on with limited mobility such as mood improvement and improved overall health.
Passive Stretches and Exercises
Joint damage causes your joints to become stiff and painful. Keeping the joint mobile through stretching can reduce these problems. However, you may not be able to move your joint in its full range of motion by yourself. A physiotherapy treatment might involve the therapist moving your joint for you in a gentle manner that moves it to its limit with the goal of increasing the limit over time. Treatments such as passive stretches, joint mobilization, and exercises can often increase your range of motion and stability so you can resume many of your usual activities without pain.
Since exercise is an important physiotherapy treatment, your therapist will probably teach you exercises to do at home to speed your healing and reduce the risk of further injury. If you have a chronic condition such as arthritis, then you may need to maintain an exercise routine so you can stay active and ward off pain as much as possible. Exercises are also important when you’re recovering from a joint injury or joint surgery so you heal properly and can resume normal activity with full use of your joint.
Professional Pain Relief
If your pain is too much to manage on your own, try looking into pain relief services in your area. These are doctors or clinics that specialize in treating pain. They usually offer non-surgical treatments such as joint, muscle, or tendon injections that can reduce swelling in problem areas or strengthen the underlying support of damaged tissue or muscle. You can talk to medical professionals, like those at Advanced Injury Care, about what the best options for your condition might be.
Over-the-counter treatments for chronic pain can be purchased at your local pharmacy or grocery store. These include everything from aspirin and ibuprofen to braces, wraps, canes, and compression socks. You might also consider making your own home remedies for pain. For example, ginger has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory ingredient in teas and other concoctions. You can purchase it today as an oil, powder, or vegetable.
There are just a few tips and tricks that can be used for the management of chronic pain. Keep in mind that you might need to try different things. This is especially true if you have pain from multiple medical conditions or if your pain is coming from more than one place on your body. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt at pain management isn’t successful. Keep trying until you find something that works.