In my first article, I described what pain is. As everybody knows, stress aggravates pain. Lifestyle and attitude choices can help you reduce the stressors you can control, and cope better with the ones you can’t. A rewarding life is possible even with chronic pain. A positive outlook and a willingness to explore various coping options can boost your success. You need to cultivate the following habits:
1- Exercise Regularly: Physical activity for thirty minutes daily relieves emotional stress, maintains muscle tone and stamina, controls weight, and helps prevent problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
2- Get enough sleep: Consistent bedtimes and wake-up times may help you sleep more soundly. Avoid napping during the day. Stress management can help you sleep better, despite the pain you may have.
3- Eat well: nutritious diet keeps your body systems working well; you’re better able to control stress and pain.
4- Plan your day: A daily schedule gives you more control of your life. Prioritize and pace yourself. Learn to delegate tasks and say no to added commitments. Do your daily tasks efficiently.
5- Take Breaks: Remember, you don’t have to be productive every minute. Take time to relax, stretch, or walk periodically during the day.
6- Get Organized: Organize your home and work space to reduce physical and mental Turmoil. Talk with an occupational therapist about tools and techniques to ease tasks such as dressing or household chores.
7- Avoid unnecessary medications: Avoid medicines you don’t need. Identify and use your capabilities: Keep your skills and talents alive.
8- Stay connected to others: Find caring friends and relatives and communicate regularly within them. Join support groups with others experiencing similar problems. Understand and express the feelings that pain creates, but don’t dwell on the pain itself. Talk regularly with peers and sponsors about addressing pain and other stressors. Ask for help when you need it, and if others suggest that you need help, act on their advice. Don’t fall prey to the idea that you can, or should, do everything on your own. Stay in touch.
9- Be patient: Your health may improve slowly: adjusting to loss and accepting change may also take time. Practice patience to reduce anxiety and stress.
10- Relief through Relaxation: Relaxation can help relieve the stress that aggravates chronic pain. It also helps prevent muscle spasms and reduce muscle tension.
Relaxation won’t cure your pain, but it can
- Reduce anxiety and conserve energy.
- Increase your self-control when dealing with stress.
- Help you recognize the difference between tense muscles and relaxed once.
- Help you handle your daily demands.
- Help you remain alert, energetic, and productive.
There are many ways to relax, so try a few and pick that ones that work best for you
Deep breathing: Proper breathing is essential for good mental and physical health. Unlike children, most adults breathe from the chest: when they inhale their chest expands, when they exhale it contracts. Children, however, generally breathe from the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen (stomach). Their abdomen relaxes out with each inhalation. Deep breathing from the diaphragm, which adults can relearn, is relaxing. The next time you feel a surge of stress, try a few moments of deep breathing. Sit in a comfortable position and take deep, measured breaths by inhaling while counting up from one to four, pausing briefly, then exhaling while counting down from four to one. Do this twenty to thirty times and you’re sure to fee refreshed. Be careful, though, not to tense muscles near your pain sites.
Progressive relaxation: This technique reduces muscle tension and can also relieve anxiety. To achieve deep muscle relaxation, gradually tense your muscles as tight as you can for about five seconds then release the tension rapidly and let them go totally limp. Begin with the muscles in your hands, them more progressively to you arms, shoulders, and neck. Then move to your feet and work gradually up to your head. When you’re finished your muscles should be very relaxed and free from tension.