What Are Positive Coping Strategies for Chronic Pain?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 50 million adults in the United States experience chronic pain(1). This kind of pain can have a life-changing impact on people. Over time, the pain can take away the enjoyment of everyday activities, from work to family life. Experiencing chronic pain can be depressing. It can interfere with relationships, and can make sufferers angry or withdrawn.
However, there are several coping strategies to help you manage your pain. Numerous studies(2) have revealed that chronic pain is heavily influenced by how our brain processes pain signals. The brain can also learn how to manage pain sensations. So, using the mind to manage or control chronic pain by developing coping techniques can be an effective way to start the path towards a pain-free life.
At Advanced Pain Care, chronic pain is treated through a holistic, multidisciplinary approach. Various healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists, collaborate with pain management doctors to develop a tailored treatment plan for every patient. Contact Advanced Pain Care today to learn about our multidisciplinary approach to managing and relieving pain. Chronic pain management can be enhanced with coping strategies. Advanced Pain Care provides comprehensive treatment integrating various coping skills.
Types of Chronic Pain and its Causes
Some of the chronic pain conditions that are diagnosed and treated at Advanced Pain Clinic include:
- Back Pain: Pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, shooting spasms that can hamper movement. It can occur due to muscle sprains, inflamed joints, and pinched or weak nerves.
- Cancer Pain: Cancerous growth or malignant tumors can cause severe pain when they grow and spread as this process destroys tissues and puts pressure on the nerves, bones, and organs. Cancerous tumors can also secrete different toxins that can cause damage to bodily structures while causing severe and debilitating pain.
- Degenerative Joint Disease: This condition becomes painful when degeneration in the spine’s discs causes an inability to properly absorb shock in the vertebrae of the spinal column. This can make bending, twisting, or any movment involving the spinal column uncomfortable or painful.
- Fibromyalgia: This is a complex pain disorder characterized by different symptoms, although primary indicators include musculoskeletal pain and tenderness. This pain disorder amplifies any sensations of pain and is predominantly experienced in the back, neck, abdomen, or muscles.
- Hip Pain: Pain experienced in the hip region can occur for a variety of reasons, such as aging, disease, or trauma. It can be caused due to arthritis, sprain or strain, postural issues, or bone cancer.
- Migraine and Headache: Headaches caused by tension can cause an aching and pressure in the temples/forehead and cause disturbances in sleep. Migraine headaches depending on the cause, are typically felt as dull aches or blinding episodes of pain and usually aren’t confined to a specific area of the head, neck, or face. Migraines can also be more severe and are usually caused by environmental factors (such as the consumption of a specific type of food or exposure to loud sounds/bright lights).
- Neck Pain: Neck pain (or cervicalgia) also affects a large percentage of Americans and is primarily caused by degeneration of the cervical spine. Other causes can include poor posture, stress, poor sleep, trauma, or age-related conditions.
- Neuralgia and Neuropathy: These are conditions that occur when the nerves in the peripheral nervous system are damaged or destroyed. Two common forms of neuralgia are shingles and trigeminal neuralgia. Some of the most common reasons for neuralgia or neuropathy include metabolic disorders, poor nutrition, and alcoholism.
- Post-Surgery Pain: Many patients report moderate to intense post-surgery pain. Patients can continue to experience pain for various reasons, such as surgical trauma or inflammation. At times, this can be mild discomfort or a dull ache, although it can also escalate into an acute condition where pain is experienced more severely.
Coping Skills Every Chronic Pain Patient Must Know
Chronic pain affects both the body and the mind. Pain medicine and other treatments for chronic pain work best when integrated with mental and emotional coping strategies.
Learning about your chronic pain and its causes can ease your fear of the condition. You can ask your physician or use other credible resource(s) to gain more knowledge of your condition and suitable treatment plan(s) to relieve pain.
Participating in self-management education (SME) programs for your chronic health conditions can also be beneficial, as they teach you pain management techniques that ease symptoms and enhance your life’s quality.
Accepting the cause of your chronic pain means acknowledging the reality of the condition. The more you accept chronic pain as a part of your life, the more you’ll be able to relax and create a plan to mitigate it’s symptoms. Instead of stressing over the condition, allowing, your mind to shift its focus towards managing the pain, many patients find it easier to find the right treatment plan and diminish factors decreasing their quality of life. Psychological techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) have shown much efficacy for patients with chronic pain conditions.
Patients experiencing chronic pain syndrome tend to stay in a state of physiological arousal. However, this constant arousal can quickly create exhaustion Learning diaphragmatic breathing, which involves inhaling with the diaphragm instead of the chest and shoulders, is a quick and easy tool in the arsenal against pain. It decreases the fight-flight response in patients and can produce a calming effect. Other calming techniques include progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, mindfulness, yoga, and tai chi to name a few.
This involves pacing tasks throughout the day to preserve energy and control pain. Pacing can be achieved in several ways. For example, dividing big tasks into smaller ones or adjusting schedules suitably as you see fit.
Coping refers to using treatment tools, diversion strategies, and learned skills. This is beneficial for patients with severe pain. Coping treatment strategies include taking pain medication, hot and cold therapy, application of topical creams, and massages, among others.
Diversion techniques help patients divert their attention away from negative thoughts and help manage chronic pain. Some examples of such techniques include a favorite movie, talking to a loved one, or engaging in your favorite activity.
Improve the Quality of Your Life with Positive Coping Techniques for Pain Management
Pain relief doesn’t always have to come from medications. A comprehensive management approach involves positive coping strategies to help patients relieve chronic pain in the best way possible. At Advanced Pain Care in Austin, we are in-network with most insurance providers to make the pain management journey as simple as possible for our patients. If you are at a point where chronic pain has become too much to handle alone, consider visiting one of our clinics in Texas.
Our pain specialists will work with you to diagnose your condition and treat chronic pain through the most suitable care plan. If you’re in Texas and looking for chronic pain treatment, contact the Advanced Pain Care clinic near you to get the help you deserve and improve your quality of life.