Chronic pain is pain that lasts for 3 months or longer, or beyond a healing time that is considered typical. It can range from mild to severe and can affect many areas of the body, including the nervous, skeletal and muscular systems. Below we’ll discuss some expert tips on coping with chronic pain and living your best possible life.
1. Put together a medical team that can provide optimum treatment and advice
Your first stop should be a visit to your GP, filling them in on where you are feeling the pain, what this feels like, what brings it on, and how it affects your day-to-day activities/ mood. It is important to find an understanding and supportive doctor, as they will be your primary point of contact for your condition. You can use My Health Plan (developed by NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation) to record information about the pain you are experiencing, how the pain affects you and what your personal goals are for treatment. It’s a good idea to take a copy with you to your appointment. If need be, your doctor can then refer you to a range of specialist health professionals based on your symptoms and/or diagnosis. A multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary approach is considered the most effective when treating chronic pain, and can include a range of doctors, physiotherapists and mental health professionals. Take a look at these resources for more information.
2. Make sleep a main priority
Pain and sleep are intrinsically connected in that pain can affect your ability to sleep, and lack of sleep can make your pain seem worse, creating a vicious cycle. Therefore, a healthy sleeping routine (consisting of around 7-9 hours each night if you are aged between 18-64) will improve your pain threshold, so you will ache less and have a better quality of life. So how can we achieve this without medication, especially when pain can seem even worse at night? Practising good sleep hygiene is key!
3. Exercise & diet
4. Pace yourself
5. Support network – family/friends, psychologist
Chronic pain makes you exhausted from trying to be stronger than you feel. Our psychologist, Cleo, can help you to feel capable and in control. Book your appointment today, online or by phoning us on (07) 3162 8448. Cleo offers bulk-billed sessions for clients referred to Scope by the General Practitioner under a Mental Health Care Plan. Sessions are available face-to-face or via videoconference.