When someone is in pain, their whole family is impacted. I was reminded of this truth recently as visitors approached my booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I was struck by how many people were stopping by my booth on behalf of somebody in their lives who was having a difficult time with chronic pain. The most memorable was when a brother and sister, probably about 5 and 6 years old, dragged their mom over to talk to me about their grandfather, who was struggling with neck pain.
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To truly understand the dangers of opioids we need to understand what opioids are. Are opioids more dangerous than they are effective? And what are the alternatives? If you’re someone who suffers from chronic pain, it’s likely that you’ve thought of every potential avenue to ease your suffering. But there are a few pain relief avenues that can cause more harm than good, and opioids are one such example. Opioids can be prescribed by a doctor to treat chronic pain caused by a wide array of things like arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, sports injuries, migraines, and more. They’re highly effective but equally as dangerous.
Our experience of pain can have a lot to do with our past – especially when our past includes trauma. Research is showing us that the severity of a pain problem, even including levels of physical disability, can be influenced by traumatic events from earlier in life without us even knowing it. In fact, studies on this subject have found that the presence of past trauma was associated with a two-fold to three-fold increase in the subsequent development of chronic widespread pain, and reports of abuse in childhood were associated with as much as a 97% increase in risk for chronic pain in adulthood.
You don’t need to “run a marathon” or do anything strenuous to feel super fatigued. Even after a good night’s sleep, you can wake up feeling very tired and heavy, like you were run over by a truck. It can force you to cancel or reschedule your plans and stay in bed all day. It’s frustrating at times when the people around you don’t understand what fatigue feels like. Or even worse, when they think they understand and try to relate to you and say: “I know, I feel like that sometimes, too,” or “Just sit down for a little bit, you’ll be fine,” or “Did you sleep last night?” And when you explain to them, they still don’t get it.
What is mindfulness meditation and how can it help to relieve chronic pain? Emotions, thoughts, and perspectives can all have an impact on the way we experience pain. Non-pharmacological interventions such as mindfulness are becoming more widely researched and are viable alternatives or adjunctive therapies for individuals living with chronic pain. Mindfulness-based approaches have been found to positively impact individuals with various pain conditions in terms of decreasing pain, improving quality of life, functioning, and pain acceptance.
Engaging in a routine yoga program targeted to treat scoliosis may help reduce the severity, correct your spinal posture, and/or improve balance. To help you kickstart a yoga routine, here are 4 easy yoga poses that you can try at home with a yoga mat or a thick towel. It is important to start slow and easy, and as with any exercise, always check with your doctor or therapist first.
1. Mountain Pose - This is a great pose for beginning your yoga practice. It helps with balance and core strength, and it is a pose that requires you to stand tall and steady, like a mountain.
Set Yourself Up for Success - Although you may be able to get your work done at a cramped desk, in poor light, or while you peer at a far-away computer screen, none of these things is great for your body. When you hold yourself in awkward positions, you may get problems with your muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves. If you already have a condition like arthritis or diabetes, you may be at higher odds of that happening.
Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. Let’s take a closer look at this old adage. One of the things that makes pain different when compared to other sensory systems, such as vision, hearing, and touch, is that pain is often directly associated with suffering. While you can get annoyed with a bright light, or irritated with an annoying sound, pain is unique in that prolonged experience with pain in most cases results in at least some degree of distress or suffering. Suffering by its nature encapsulates negative affective or emotional phenomena. A brief look at synonyms for suffering is telling: distress, anguish, hardship, torment, and adversity.
ACT focuses on accepting what is happening in the present that may cause a flare-up in symptoms and facing things head-on. Let’s see how ACT can help you. ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) stems from some of the same concepts as CBT; it helps you to understand your pain, to come to a state of acceptance, and to commit to taking action to live with your chronic condition more effectively. As with CBT, it helps you to empower yourself and improve your life while living with your illness.
Talking about and explaining chronic pain is extremely difficult for most. Here are some tips on how to make the conversation easier. A broken leg in the cast automatically triggers sympathetic glances and supportive actions. People rush plump pillows, fetch a glass of water, and do anything else they can do to help the poor fellow with the broken leg. There is no doubt in their mind about the pain he is experiencing.
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