Chronic Back Pain: Living with chronic pain can be exhausting and frustrating. But you can limit the severity of your pain—and the effect it has on you—with the following 3 strategies:
1. Become An Expert At Chronic Back Pain Management
No one pain management technique works for everyone; it helps to be open to trying all sorts of methods and techniques to diminish and manage your pain.
Keeping your pain at the lowest level possible will help keep you active, which in turn will minimize your chronic pain and keep it from getting worse. It will also help decrease the stress that is often associated with chronic pain. Common pain management techniques include:
- Cold / heat therapy
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications
- A healthy exercise regimenAside from those above, which can be done on your own, some people find alternative treatments quite helpful, such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, or massage therapy.With patience, find what combination of treatments works best for you.
2. Find A Support Network
Chronic back pain can be an isolating experience. You may not be able to be as active as you once were, saying “No” to social gatherings, and limiting participation in some of your favorite activities.
As you become more isolated, your experience of chronic pain may increase because of less stimuli to distract you. You also increase the risk for developing mental health issues, such as depression.
It is encouraged you find a network of social support to limit the isolation effects of chronic pain. The key to a support network is not only finding people who are empathetic and supportive, but also finding a health distraction from the pain.
3. Practice Imagery Control Techniques
When treating your chronic back pain, it is important to remember the role your mind can play in reducing your perception of chronic pain.
In particular, imagery control techniques can bring you meaningful relief in a matter of minutes. You can start by trying “the altered focus technique.” Here is how to do it:
- Focus your attention on a part of your body other than your lower back.
- Next, alter the sensation in that part of your body. For example, you can imagine your hands becoming cold or warm (whichever feels better).
- Hold this sensation in your hands for several minutes, and your experience of pain will likely diminish.You can practice these techniques wherever, and however often, you want.If the above three strategies don’t help reduce your chronic pain, don’t despair. Instead, ask your doctor for a referral to a pain specialist to discuss other possible options for chronic back pain relief. There are a great many approaches to pain management.
Talk to Dr. Jimenez about specific questions related to your unique health situation.