Living with chronic pain can bring feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress, which in themselves can contribute to your aches and pains every day. It can be difficult to perform daily tasks — even those that once were easy — and your physical disabilities can affect your mental health, especially if your friends and family don’t understand your condition. You may be feeling misunderstood, undervalued, or isolated due to your chronic pain, and those are very hard things to cope with when you’re already hurting.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help you live your best life, even on the days when the pain is intense. From evaluating your lifestyle to accommodate your physical abilities as much as possible to rearranging your home for comfort and accessibility, there are plenty of ways you can make sure you’re living your life to the fullest. Think about the best ways to make changes — what could use a boost? Consider your social life, your relationships, your mental health, your ability to be independent, and your lifestyle, and write down some ideas.
Keep reading for some wonderful tips on how to live your best life with chronic pain.
Organizing your home so that it provides the maximum amount of comfort and accessibility will allow you to focus on your needs and prevent injury. For instance, you can cut down on clutter, add storage solutions for your collections and kitchen tools, and replace door and cabinet knobs with easy-to-grasp handles or levers. Flooring is also a consideration, especially if you have back problems or mobility issues. To prevent falls, add non-slip rubber-backed mats to kitchen and bathroom floors and to the shower/bathtub.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and in many cases, the two are linked. When you’re hurting, you are also at risk for sadness, irritability, confusion, and symptoms of depression. In order to take care of your mental health, create a space in your home where you can meditate or relax quietly, learn to say “no” when someone is demanding your time or energy, surround yourself with supportive people, and reduce stress and anxiety as much as possible. By focusing on your needs, you can help yourself feel better on a daily basis.
Exercise, But Only If Your Doctor Approves It
Every chronic pain sufferer is different. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your doctor about the best ways to manage your pain. For some, stretching exercises, such as those found in yoga, can help manage daily pain effectively. Light activity, like gardening, can be beneficial for joint health. Some chronic pain sufferers, however, have to be very careful about their activities and should pay attention to the way they do even simple tasks. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information on the types of exercise that are appropriate for your specific needs.
Ask for Help
It’s not always easy to ask for help when you need it most, but sometimes it’s important to realize you can’t do everything on your own and that trying can be detrimental to your health. Talk to your friends and family members about your needs, especially when it comes to being able to rest. For instance, you might ask a loved one to help out with your household chores or take advantage of your favorite grocery store’s ordering app and curbside pickup service. When you have help with the little things, you may find that you can take care of the big things.
Find the Right Resources
There are a ton of resources for individuals who are battling chronic pain, including help for farmers, cancer survivors, veterans, and those who have been exposed to asbestos and other toxins. You can look online for information and find people who are going through a similar situation; having support can mean the world when you’re fighting pain every day, especially if your family members don’t quite understand what you’re going through.
Change Your Diet
In some cases, the way you eat can have an effect on the way you manage your pain. While it’s not always as simple as that, sometimes certain foods and drinks can help relieve those feelings, while others can exacerbate issues. For instance, individuals who are suffering from joint pain may find that foods like dark leafy greens, berries, fish, and nuts can help reduce inflammation. Typically, very fatty foods, carbohydrates, and sugars are the ones to avoid. Talk to your doctor about diet ideas, and consider looking for a meal delivery service that will help you stick to it.
Give Up Those Bad Habits
Most of us have a bad habit we wish we could give up, but it’s especially important for chronic pain sufferers to make an effort to do so. If you’re a smoker, drink excessively, or have a high-stress job, it’s imperative to cut those things from your life. Often easier said than done, giving up a bad habit can mean the difference between a good doctor visit and one that requires you to take a second look at your lifestyle.
Keep a Pain Journal
It can be hard to remember every instance of pain you have in a day, but keeping track of those feelings can help you have an open conversation with your doctor about your needs. This will allow him to help you find the right treatment options, so find a notebook and keep a running list of your pain levels, the date, and your activities, including what you’re eating. This will create a comprehensive look at your lifestyle and enable you to make changes for your specific needs.
Living with chronic pain can be extremely difficult, even when it comes to attempting simple activities. Talk to your loved ones and point them to some research about your condition so they can understand it more clearly. Making some changes to your lifestyle might make all the difference when it comes to managing your pain.