Chronic pain is unfortunately common. More than 20% of Americans suffer from some degree of chronic pain. Despite our long-term experience with chronic pain treatment, we are not much closer to finding any solution to the problem. However, we do have many approaches to managing the condition.
Here are some tips to managing your chronic pain:
Find a Doctor You’re Comfortable with
Pain is highly subjective, and that means there’s only one way for your primary care doctor to know how you feel: you have to tell him. To do that, you have to find a doctor who makes you comfortable sharing information about your pain. It may also require you to talk about many details of your life such as diet, recreation, work, and intimate life. If you don’t feel comfortable telling your doctor about these things, his ability to get you the right management technique will be limited.
You also have to trust your doctor’s advice. Being resistant to treatment will reduce your benefit (see “Be Open-Minded” below).
Be a Partner in Your Treatment
The next thing you have to do is take an active role in determining what pain management techniques work for you. This goes beyond just reporting to your doctor about the impact of treatments on your pain—you should be on the lookout for potential treatments that appeal to you.
You also have to follow your doctor’s instructions as best you can. This may include modifying your lifestyle in terms of sleep, diet, and exercise. Make a firm commitment to the changes and work hard to make new habits and maintain them.
Your mind is a powerful force in your pain and in your treatment. Make it your ally when it comes to trying new treatments. Many alternative treatments have proven very effective in treating chronic pain, but they tend to be less effective if you try them assuming they won’t work. Don’t get in the way of your own recovery!
Use a Variety of Approaches
Chronic pain is a complex condition, and it’s often best if we use an equally complex treatment to match it. We often recommend traditional approaches such as medication, which may be delivered orally, by injection, or other means, with complementary approaches, such as meditation, biofeedback, TENS (a kind of electrical massage), and others.
Often, we can get better results with a variety of noninvasive techniques than we can achieve with surgery. For help managing your chronic pain in Littleton, CO, please contact Dr. Andy Fine, a doctor dedicated to forming positive long-term relationships with patients.