Solution Name: Basic Movement Techniques for Chronic Pain
Cold and heat. These two tried-and-true methods are still the cornerstone of relieving pain for certain kinds of injuries. If a homemade hot or cold pack doesn't do the trick, try asking a physical therapist or chiropractor for their versions of these treatments, which can penetrate deeper into the muscle and tissue.
Exercise. Physical activity plays a crucial role in interrupting the "vicious cycle" of pain and reduced mobility found in some chronic conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia Try gentle aerobic activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling.
Mind-body techniques. These techniques, which include meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises (among many others), helps to restore a sense of control over your body and turn down the "fight or flight" response, which can worsen chronic muscle tension and pain.
Yoga and tai chi. These two exercise practices incorporate breath control, meditation, and gentle movements to stretch and strengthen muscles. Many studies have shown that they can help people manage pain caused by a host of conditions, from headaches to arthritis to lingering injuries.
Music therapy. Studies have shown that music can help relieve pain during and after surgery and childbirth. Classical music has proven to work especially well, but there's no harm in trying your favorite genre — listening to any kind of music can distract you from pain or discomfort.
Therapeutic massage. Not just an indulgence, massage can ease pain by working tension out of muscles and joints, relieving stress and anxiety, and possibly helping to distract you from pain by introducing a "competing" sensation that overrides pain signals.
Track your pain level and activities every day.
To effectively treat pain, keeping a log or journal of your daily "pain score" will help you track your pain. At the end of each day, note your pain level on the 1 to 10 pain scale.
Find ways to distract yourself from pain so you enjoy life more.
Focusing on pain, it makes it worse rather than better. Instead, find something you like doing -- an activity that keeps you busy and thinking about things besides the pain. You might not be able to avoid pain, but you can take control of your life.
Relaxation Techniques to Decrease Stress
Several techniques can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Listening to soothing, calming music can lift a mood and make living with chronic pain more bearable. There are even specially designed relaxation tapes or CDs for this. Mental imagery relaxation (also called guided imagery) is a form of mental escape that can help you feel peaceful. It involves creating calming, peaceful images in your mind. Progressive muscle relaxation is another technique that promotes relaxation.
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