Daily Life (more coming soon)

Impact on Quality of Life

From a survey of chronic pain patients.1
• More than three quarters of patients reported feeling depressed.
• 70% had trouble concentrating.
• 74% said their energy level is impacted by their pain.
• 86% reported serious insomnia.
• More than half felt they had little or no control over their pain.
• Six out of ten patients have breakthrough pain every day, severely impacting their quality of life and overall well-being.

Ten Pain Tips

Regardless of whether you are receiving pain treatment from a health care provider, it’s important to take an active role in your own pain care.

1. Pace yourself. Come up with a schedule for completing daily activities so that you can stay active without overdoing it. When you can, break tasks into smaller parts, work at a slower pace, gradually increase activity levels, and alternate between different types of tasks to avoid placing too much stress on your body. By performing tasks in moderation you should be able to accomplish a few activities every day without becoming fatigued or triggering a pain flare.

2. Manage medications. Taking your medications as directed can be one of the most effective strategies when it comes to managing your pain. But it can be hard to remember when and how to take your medicines, especially if you are juggling multiple medications. Try linking the medication to a routine activity that you do each day (eating a meal or brushing your teeth), using a pill box with appropriate doses sorted out for each day and time the medication should be taken, or setting a timer or cell phone alarm to remind you when to take your medication.

3. Sleep. Lack of sleep can be physically and emotionally draining, often worsening pain and depression. You can improve your chances for a restful night by sleeping in a quiet, dark and comfortable environment; going to bed at the same time every night; skipping long daytime naps; and limiting caffeine, alcohol, large meals, an vigorous exercise before bed time.

4. Eat wisely. Eating a high fiber diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of fluids, and limiting your consumption of beverages containing sugar and caffeine also play a role in managing pain and staying well. You should also avoid smoking, which can impair healing and interfere with your body’s ability to manage pain. Drinking alcohol can also interfere with certain medications.

5. Keep moving. Participating in regular movement and exercise can help keep pain under control by improving the body’s strength, flexibility and endurance. Ask your health care provider to recommend exercises and activities that are appropriate for you.

6. Try to stay positive. Your attitude, emotions and self-talk can have a big effect on how well you are able to manage your pain. You can work to develop beliefs and thoughts that will help you cope with your pain in a more useful way. Be proud and celebrate every step you take to manage your own pain. This will help you stay positive. You will also begin to feel more motivated and empowered to play an active role in your own pain care.

7. Work smart. Think about the tasks and activities you perform on a daily basis and whether or not there are ways you can minimize the physical stress and strain on your body. This can be as simple as improving your posture or adjusting the shelf height in your kitchen to make it easier to reach for or move objects. There are also many ergonomically designed tools available to ease the stress of household chores such as cooking and yard work.

8. Ease stress. You may have noticed that your pain levels increase during periods of stress. To help manage your stress level, practice relaxation and stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, writing in a journal and spending time in nature.

9. Stay social. Don’t give up on your social and recreational activities just because you feel like you can’t keep up at the level you are used to. Withdrawing from activities you love can lead to depression and an increased focus on your pain. Think creatively about how you can stay involved in your favorite social activities — even for just an hour each week — while still managing your pain and discomfort.

10. Find support. Don’t be afraid to share your feelings and needs with trusted family members and friends, especially at times when you are stressed and overwhelmed. You will likely feel less isolated if you connect with other people who have chronic pain — whether it’s through community-based or online support groups. Ask your health care provider to recommend a local support group, or find online support

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