How to live well with chronic pain and illness
Chronic pain affects many people. In fact, it’s estimated that 15.5 million people in England may be living with chronic pain. Pain is considered to become chronic when it lasts for more than 12 weeks despite treatment.
Chronic pain can occur for a number of reasons, such as after an injury, infection or surgery. Neck, shoulder and back pain is the most common type of pain: 84% of people with chronic pain experience pain in these places. Illnesses that can lead to chronic pain include arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and nerve damage.
Regardless of the cause of your pain, living with chronic pain can be an extremely debilitating. Fortunately, there are ways to help you live well with chronic pain and illness.
Try some gentle exercises
When you’re living with chronic pain, it can be hard to keep active. It’s natural to feel hesitant about it at first, and you might be worried that you’ll end up doing more harm than good. But taking part in some physical activity can help to reduce pain. Gentle exercises can also improve your muscle strength, reduce stiffness in your joints, improve your balance and boost your mood!
Low-impact exercises you could try
- Take a short stroll.
- Go for a relaxing swim.
- Try a yoga or Pilates class that’s tailored to people with chronic pain
- Try to be active every day, but make sure not to over do it.
For advice on which exercises are best for you, you should speak to your GP.
Improve your sleep setup
Sleeping can become a huge problem when you’re suffering with long-term discomfort. Getting comfortable at night can be extremely difficult if you’re in physical pain, so much so that you might even dread going to bed. The truth is, sleep deprivation could actually make your condition worse, so it’s crucial that you get the rest you need.
If your current sleep setup isn’t working for you, it might be time to make some improvements. Ideally, you should have a comfortable, supportive mattress, so if yours is looking saggy and worn, you might want to consider buying a new mattress. To really up your comfort, you could even replace your entire bed with an adjustable model.At Adjustamatic, our mobility beds specialise in designs that can be moved into different positions, making it easier for you to have a good sleeping posture. This is especially useful if you suffer with pain in areas such as your back, neck and hips.
“The Adjustamatic brand is something I have become accustomed to, recently replacing an old Adjustamatic bed with a new one, the Royal bed. I suffer from lymphedema and the NHC Cyclo-Therapy massage system built into my Royal adjustable bed has been extremely helpful.
It’s allowed me to elevate my legs and provided me with a feeling of comfort. I also find the NHC Cyclo-Therapy massage system very much relieves the nasty aching feeling I experience from having chronic lymphedema of both legs”— Miss Hampton, from Winchester
Take time to relax
Being in a lot of pain can cause your muscles to tighten and tense up, and as a result, you could find that you’re in even more agony. So, to keep your pain under control, it’s important to let yourself relax, both physically and mentally. There are a variety of things you could do to help yourself unwind. For example, you could try some deep breathing exercises or have a go at meditation. Some people find getting a massage to be highly effective way to reduce stress and relieve tension, especially if it targets the problem area, such as the back or neck.
Take your mind off things
It might seem to be easier said than done, but keeping yourself distracted could help take your mind off the pain. Shifting your attention to something else, even for just a short period of time, could work wonders for you. There are a range of things you could do. For example, why not try your hand at a new hobby? Whether it’s practising your photography skills or getting to grips with knitting, there are many different activities you can have a go at, even if your mobility is restricted as a result of your health condition.
Spend time with your family and friends
It can be easy to allow yourself to become distant from those around you when you’re suffering, so make sure you’re careful to not let your chronic pain come between you and your family and friends. Whether you invite a family member over for dinner or you chat to a friend on the phone, keeping in touch with people is great for your health and it’s a guaranteed way to lift your spirits if you’re feeling down.