How to Live Well with Chronic Pain?

Written by: Iti Shukla – MA (Clinical Psychology)

Last updated date : February 13, 2023

Living with chronic pain is difficult but what seems more difficult is to manage the pain. You know that pain is an integral part of human life. But sometimes your pain lasts longer than expected which makes it chronic. In other words, your body is in pain even after the injury has healed. The urge and need to adjust your daily living according to your pain also becomes chronic. Every area of your life grows dependent on the current levels of your chronic pain. Chronic pain grows its roots not only in the body but in other areas of life. When chronic pain becomes too much, it starts affecting your daily living, relationships, work-life, social outings, and everyday decisions. To manage and start living well with chronic pain, it is crucial to understand your chronic pain and where it emerges from. Balancing is the key to living life to the fullest even in the face of chronic pain. Here are some tips and techniques to help you strike a balance. This article will focus on what to do when chronic pain becomes too much for living comfortably, what chronic pain does to you, and what influences chronic pain.

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Chapter 1:

Things That You Need to Know About Chronic Pain

What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is when you have pain in some part of your body for a long period. It remains even after healing and recovery. Sometimes it goes away and comes back again. This happens when the nerves that send signals to the brain become dysfunctional. These nerves keep sending the information that the brain misinterprets as dangerous. It is more like a pattern of the brain. The formation of this pattern is based on many reasons. They affect how you experience the pain.

What Affects Chronic Pain?
  • Your pain-related experiences
  • When pain lasts for long time, you have pain-related memories. These memories makes it hard to live with chronic pain. You might think how could my pain fade away so easily, it is so severe.
  • Social and cultural environment such as family, friends, the culture you belong to, etc.
  • My aunt had the same problem all her life; she used to say it was not manageable.
  • What you learn influences your thoughts and beliefs.
  • I cannot do it. I have a joint problem.
  • Your expectations are based on your belief system.
  • No one will listen to my concerns because they think my pain is an excuse.
  • Emotions such as fear, fatigue, irritability etc.
  • You feel frustrated when you restrict yourself because pain is too much, for instance.

Chapter 2:

Impact of Chronic Pain on Daily Life

Psychological Problems
  • Experiencing the same pain for years takes a toll on mental health. The psychological burden increases with chronic pain.
  • There is always a fear of pain which makes you overcautious.
  • A sense of uncertainty bothers you because you are unable to understand what triggers the pain.
  • Thoughts of helplessness arise as you are not in control of the situation.

Social Problems
  • You want to go out, but you keep wondering what if it starts to hurt.
  • Fear of spoiling others’ fun with pain-related complaints holds you back.
  • Self-isolation makes you bitter.
  • Harsh reactions from others hold you from sharing your concerns about pain.
  • You feel distracted by your pain even if you want to pay attention around you.
  • You don’t feel good about yourself because you doubt your abilities.
  • Feelings like no one understands you; no one knows your pain; no one values your presence, etc. bothers you.
  • Others’ reactions hurt you easily.
  • Small things irritate you; for example, music feels like noise.
  • Mental fatigue becomes regular.

Chapter 3:

Tips to Ease Your Chronic Pain

Seek Professional Help
  • It is good to talk to the experts in order to gain an understanding of the source of your problem.
  • Report your concerns to the doctor.
  • Keeping a record of your pain guides you to gain control over it.
  • Make sure to avoid the overuse of medicines.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
  • To begin with, an exercise routine makes you flexible and happier.
  • For healing and repairing damaged tissues, it is necessary to have a healthy diet.
  • Bad sleeping habits may trigger stress on your body; hence sound sleep benefits people with chronic pain.
  • Stress and chronic pain affect each other; therefore it is important to learn stress-coping strategies.

Keep a Check on Your Emotions and Stress
It becomes difficult to handle stress when chronic pain becomes too much. Here are some ways to manage your emotions and live healthily.

Understand the Stress
  • Identify your stressors- question yourself, what troubles you, how much it affects you; is it the pain or something else, is there any way it can be reduced?
  • Understand what makes you happy; for example, what do you love doing; when did you do it the last time; how can you do it more often?
  • Look into your emotions by asking yourself when do you experience fear or anger, what irritates you the most, do you feel alone in your pain?
  • Adapt and try new things- when did you try something new, what relieves your pain, what is the level of your pain?
  • Practice a few relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, relaxed breathing etc.
  • Monitor the level of your pain during stress, such as what increases your pain, when is it bearable?
  • Balance your activity with rest.

Engage in Self-Entertainment
  • Give time to your hobbies such as reading, dancing, singing, listening to songs, and so on.
  • Design a happiness plan.
  • You can also choose the exercises as per your hobbies.
Remain Social
  • Spend time with your loved ones.
  • Do not avoid outdoor fun. You deserve free time.
  • Volunteer more in what you like.
  • Show up when you make plans.
  • Do not limit yourself.

In a nutshell, chronic pain is manageable like any other chronic disease such as diabetes. When chronic pain becomes too much, simple changes can make a big difference. The brain and body are interconnected. Since your brain is trainable and elastic, it keeps on molding all your life. As it learns new things, new connections begin to build in your brain. Therefore, it begins to learn what you believe and how you adapt to changes. Such changes certainly control how your body behaves. With these modifications, you can train your brain to calm the nerves and eventually lessen your pain. Supplementing these techniques can go a long way with professional help.

Since being informed is the path to self-care, you may want to read up a bit more on chronic pain. To find more self-help courses that we offer at epsychonline, please visit our Courses page.

"Quick online learning, thanks!" Susan

92 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount