How do you handle chronic pain?

Pain is a word that probably reminds you of injuries you've had throughout your life. It might remind you of a head injury, that back pain that has lingered for years or the nerve pain that you deal with on a daily basis.

There's no question that dealing with pain changes the way you approach life. Pain affects you both mentally and emotionally. It can result in depression, anxiety and fear. Some people deal with post-traumatic stress disorder because of pain.

Bodies that are constantly in pain drain their energy quickly. The constant pain is exhausting, making people who deal with pain less likely to enjoy or participate in the things that once made them happy.

People struggling with chronic pain don't have endless energy. Understanding how each movement you make affects your pain overall can help you get a handle on your life.

For starters, imagine a jar of jam. Each time you complete a task, the jar becomes a little more empty, until it eventually runs out. Patients with chronic pain may start with only a half jar of jam or a fourth of a jar, depending on the day. Allocating their activities according to their energy levels helps them do more with less fear of triggering episodes of anxiety, depression or worsened pain.

Planning your day is just one way to help you manage chronic pain. After a personal injury, the person responsible should be covering your medical bills and other financial needs. Recovery can take time, and you may need to learn new ways to handle old problems, so you can live your best life.

Source: Pain Doctor, "How Pain Affects Your Life," accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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