MANAGING CHRONIC PAIN
The Link Between Chronic Pain & Depression
According to WebMD there is definitely a link between constant pain, mood disorders and depression. The symptoms of chronic pain can create high levels of stress hormones and leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated. Your aching muscles and disrupted sleep patterns lower your mental and physical performance. If the intensity of your pain starts to interfere with your ability to live independently you are much more likely to become depressed.
The emotion pain connection is an important thing to understand. If you are really depressed your pain is simply going to feel worse, depressed people are three times as likely to have chronic pain. The other side of coin is no better, people with chronic pain are three times as likely to become depressed. You need to break this cycle and find the tools you need to enjoy life again.
Coping with the Emotional Impact of Chronic Pain
Clearly chronic pain is a bad thing; you can lose your job, your relationships and become very frustrated when the medical community cannot give you a reason for your suffering. Sometimes they even tell people the pain is all in their head! This can make a person feel alone even when surrounded by family and ultimately it can destroy their self esteem.
So, what can you do to cope with the pain you are in? Some people do self medicate with drugs and alcohol, but there are other more positive ways people can manage their pain. Things like meditation, yoga and deep breathing have consistently shown positives results. Massage therapy, electric muscle stimulation and even the use of essential oils are tools you can use to improve your quality of life while living with chronic pain. A simple hot bath, stretching and a good cry every now and then can also make you feel better.
To help you feel less alone you can join a support group, go to counselling or even use the services of therapy animals. Try googling “chronic pain management support groups near me” if you are not sure where to start. These types of groups can help you come up with a pain management plan. Do not suffer alone. You can get help without even leaving your home; there are numerous online support groups you can join. Here are a few examples…
Some people that have severe arthritis use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to reshape how they respond to pain and change negative thought patterns. With practise it can improve sleep patterns and reduce depression and fatigue.
It is also very important that you keep moving, moderate and /or gentle exercise can actually help you to keep mobile and decrease your overall level of pain. Some good examples are: walking, biking and swimming.
Another possibility is to go alternative, for example you could look at a natural anti inflammatory like Turmeric or Arnica Montana. Herbal medicine and homeopathic remedies can also provide significant improvement in pain control without any of the side effects that common pain treatments may have.
You may not be able to totally eradicate your pain; the goal is to take control and minimize the pain and its impact on your emotional and physical health. Allowing you to live the best life possible. Don’t think you are alone, because you are NOT. Please take advantage of the many links in the article; there is hope for a better life when you have constant pain.