(AscendHealthy.com) – Handling chronic pain is a difficult journey, but with help from the right doctors and mindful choices, a person with chronic pain can create some improvements and adjustments to better live with chronic pain and to minimize their flare-ups. These five tips will help a patient deal with chronic pain, but are also things the chronic pain patient can do to make the inevitable chronic pain flare-ups more manageable and less stressful.
Create a Flare Care Checklist
Most chronic pain sufferers experience flares, which means their condition flares up and worsens for days, weeks, or months at a time. For example, someone with a bulging disc may find that the injury is aggravated after they lift something that was a bit too heavy. When chronic flares happen, it’s important to know how to deal with them, especially if they come with the need to stay in bed, call out of work, or re-delegate responsibilities at home or school.
A flare checklist provides step-by-step instructions about how the chronic pain patient should assess and deal with their pain. Best created with their doctor, this list should include things that help treat the pain. Many chronic pain patients experience brain fog, which prevents them from thinking clearly or remembering well. A checklist could provide tips about which additional medications to take and which environmental factors to change. An example for a migraine sufferer might look like this:
- Have a cup of coffee
- Take my migraine medication
- Dim or turn off lights in the room
- Avoid loud sounds
- Notify work, if weekday
- Call my doctor if migraine persists for more than a certain amount of time
Create and Use a Chronic Pain Flare Care Kit
A chronic pain flare kit includes specific items a chronic pain patient may find necessary. Instead of having to track down all the necessary items while they’re in pain, the chronic pain patient can have them ready to go. This can include emergency meds, a list of doctors’ phone numbers, topical pain reduction creams, over-the-counter pain patches and soothing self-care items.
If the patient’s symptoms include lack of energy or ability to cook, consider including bottled water and a simple snack, such as a granola bar. Make sure to check the expiration dates for perishable items such as food or medication frequently.
Set Boundaries With Others Regarding Unsolicited Advice
One of the most stressful things about navigating chronic pain comes after a chronic pain patient communicates their needs. Because people who care for them want to be helpful, or because a certain remedy has worked for them, they may offer unsolicited advice. The amount of unsolicited advice can be especially overwhelming when the patient first discloses their chronic pain condition (if they choose to). They’ll get dietary advice, advice about supplements, and medical advice from people who are not their doctors.
It’s not always possible to minimize stressors that exacerbate chronic pain. However, the person experiencing chronic pain can prevent future problems by setting boundaries. If they post on social media, they can clearly say “I’m just venting,” “I’m only looking for advice from other chronic pain patients,” or even most directly, “I am looking for support, not advice.”
Speak With a Doctor
This tip may seem obvious, but it’s often not the best idea to suffer in pain alone or without diagnosis or resolution. For most people, pain can be managed. Before going to a doctor, especially if healthcare access is an issue, many chronic pain patients take nonmedical advice instead of getting checked out. However, they can lessen suffering as soon as they speak with a medical professional about a remedy or treatment option to manage the pain.
With the help of your doctor, a patient can address conditions that create pain, as pain is usually a symptom. Remember: what works for one person will not work for every pain patient.
Make Plans for the Future
Mental health side effects are very common when it comes to chronic pain. Mild to major depression, anxiety, and even suicidal ideation can occur when someone is in physical pain and they just need the pain to stop. By keeping a realistic but manageable schedule and making plans with friends who are understanding of chronic pain causing unpredictability and schedule changes, a realistic calendar of events in the future can help the pain patient focus on something positive that will happen in the future.
While there’s much more to physical pain recovery than thinking with a positive mindset, having future plans means one more reason to hang on.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension!
Copyright 2023, AscendHealthy.com