If you are suffering from chronic pain there are some things that you can do, including:
1. Seek medical help as soon as the pain starts to interfere with the quality of your life. Keep at it until you find a doctor that takes your symptoms seriously and who is willing to work with you. Start with your primary care physician but if this does not help then you should ask for a referral to a pain specialist. You should know that finding a doctor who takes your symptoms seriously could be problematic, especially if your pain is elusive. Some doctors will even tell you that your pain is all in your head and that you are a drug addict. The reality is that the likelihood of addiction amongst pain patients is extremely low. These people are only looking for some way in which they can get on with their lives.
2. Most treatment programs start out conservatively. These programs suggest light exercise including stretching, weight training and massage instead of prescription painkillers. They stress the importance of regular exercise. While this may seem counterproductive, increasing your activity can actually be very helpful in relieving pain. This is because exercise stimulates the release of natural pain relievers called endorphins. Chronic pain patients tend to have lower-than-normal levels of endorphins. Furthermore, exercise also boosts a person’s energy level and improves their mood. Of course, exercise and other such activities should not be done all in one day or even all at one time. Try to spread these things out over the course of the day and week.
3. Make sure that you practice good sleep hygiene. Get up and go to bed at the same time each day, avoid caffeine and alcohol for at least four hours before going to bed and do not watch television in bed. As someone suffering from chronic pain, you probably also suffer from non-restorative sleep. This will leave you feeling not rested in the morning, thus making your pain even worse and causing you to have even more problems sleeping the next night. As such you begin a frustrating cycle wherein you have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
4. While you definitely need to seek medical attention for your chronic pain problems you also need to accept the pain. This means that you need to learn everything that you can about it. You should not continuously be searching for a cure, as this is counterproductive, causing you to place your life on hold. Even with treatment you may not ever find 100% relief from your pain. Nevertheless, you should still seek to reduce your sense of suffering and increase your quality of life.
Chronic pain does not have to permanently sideline you. While your pain may not completely disappear, you can make the choice to not allow it to completely control your life. Your new philosophy for life should now be to do whatever you can, whenever you can.