Steps to Manage Your Chronic Pain

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Category: Chronic Pain Articles Published on Wednesday, 25 June 2008 Written by Yong Tsai, MD
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Like thunder and lightening to a storm, restless sleep, fatigue, and malaise are often associated with chronic pain. And it is because of this general ill feeling that patients tend to decrease physical activity, become out of shape, and eventually experience increased pain, insomnia, fatigue, and weight gain.

Recently, clinical studies have proven that patients with chronic pain, who perform regular exercise, experience less pain and fatigue than those who do not.

We also know that restoring emotional well being and functional status should be the ultimate goal of improving physical fitness with muscle strengthening, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. Furthermore, adopting a tailor-made exercise regimen suitable for your chronic condition is a key element to successful management.

PHYSICAL THERAPY: IT'S MORE THAN JUST EXERCISE:

Most chronic pain sufferers have tense muscles, which in turn can “choke” local circulation. Due to this lack of tissue oxygenation, increased pain and muscle spasms can occur. Although poor posture and awkward movement are also commonly associated with chronic pain, a well-trained physical therapist equipped with skilled manual techniques and precise modalities can release muscle tension, decrease muscle spasm, and correct poor alignment to eventually decrease pain.

FINDING PAIN RELIEF WITH ACUPUNCTURE:

Acupuncture, which originated in China nearly five thousand years ago, consists of the use of accurately positioned thin needles beneath the surface of the skin, at specific sites of the body to treat pain and illness.

Because of our improved understanding of pain, we realize that needle stimulation through acupuncture can, in effect, block pain signal stimulation. The fact that acupuncture techniques can instigate the release of endorphins within our central nervous system allows for further reduction in the transmission of pain signals. This ancient treatment paired with physical therapy and massage can be a influential tool in the management of chronic pain.

THE LINK BETWEEN MIND AND BODY:

Chronic pain has strong link between our mind’s ability to process and decode pain signals and accurately forward them to different parts of our body.

While negative behavior, depression, and anxiety can aggravate pain, positive thoughts, relaxation, and meditation can help alleviate it. Together with analgesics, physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage, optimism can help close the “pain gate” and minimize your pain’s intensity.

Even though there is no quick fix for chronic pain, you can find relief with a better understanding of the condition and knowing that success largely relies on the patient’s will and determination to take control.

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