Practical Tips for Managing Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain can be draining and feel as though the battle is ongoing without a clear end. Fatigue sets in, moods change and simple tasks feel like mountains to climb.

We understand the drain and hear you! 

Below are some of the tips we have found useful for the patients we see who manage chronic or ongoing pain. Our team of Physiotherapists at Kelvin Grove and Nathan share some practical tips to help you manage chronic pain and claw back some control. 

  • Acknowledgement:

It can be empowering to firstly and simply acknowledge your pain. Listen to it rather than ignore it. We don’t encourage you to push your body through the pain (except for very specific and controlled scenarios). Take breaks when you need them and plan those breaks by pacing yourself. 

  • Move It or Lose It: 

A consistent barrier to starting exercise is pain and the fear of making things worse. But did you know that exercise is crucial in your self-management? IT helps improve strength, range of motion and overall robustness for daily tasks. Beyond this, exercise has an effect on neurochemicals that act to dampen down pain (i.e. provides an element of pain relief). Talk to your physio about what might be effective for you.

  • Mind Over Matter: 

Stress and anxiety can hinder your ability to get on top of the pain. Cortisol acts to increase our nervous systems sensitivity to harm, which is what we feel when we feel pain. In other words, pain is the result of our nervous system sending alert messages to the brain and cortisol has put those messages on high alert! Exercises for relaxation, meditation and mindfulness are common tools to combat this. But, so is a short walk to a cafe to enjoy a beverage with a dear friend! Do things that bring you joy and a quiet mind. 

  • Sleep Well, Feel Well: 

In Chronic Pain, there is an alteration of normal brain chemistry which can affect our ability to wind down and relax or stay asleep. Even worse is that poor sleep can support that same process. There are many tips for improving sleep but the simplest are easy changes to your night time routine. Check out our blog on improving sleep for more detail. 

  • Become a Pain Detective: 

Sometimes we recommend keeping a pain diary for a week or so to track your fluctuations in pain or symptoms as well as what might trigger and what might feel good. In complex cases, this information can help you better understand your pain but also direct a course of action for your personalized management plan. This information can often be invaluable for your physiotherapist appointment, so ask your health care professional if it is worthwhile for you to complete.

It is a challenging and tiring job trying to manage chronic pain, but it doesn’t need to be what controls you. Let us journey together in the efforts to regain control for you! By connecting with your Brisbane Physiotherapist, you will learn to manage your pain and fulfill those dreams!

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