Everyone experiences pain but, for many, it goes away after several weeks or months. Unfortunately, some continue to feel aching long after an injury has healed. Chronic pain is a type of pain that lasts for at least 12 weeks. It comes as either a dull or a sharp ache that comes and goes without any apparent cause or reason. For people who suffer from it, going through their daily tasks and responsibilities may be challenging.
The severity of the ailment varies from person to person. It is best to consult a doctor about the discomfort you feel so they can develop a plan that will address the problem effectively. There are neuropathy clinics, for instance, that specialize in chronic pain treatment in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Here are other few things you can do to help manage chronic pain:
Start Practicing Yoga
Yoga is a great exercise for people who suffer from chronic pain. It focuses on strength and flexibility by combining movement with breath control and meditation. Its emphasis is both on physical and mental health. Studies have proven that yoga can help alleviate chronic pain. In one study, participating in weekly yoga classes has improved mobility among 313 people who have chronic lower back pain.
Catherine Bushnell, a scientific director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institute of Health, explains that chronic pain alters the structure of the brain, particularly in the gray matter volume and white matter connectivity.
The gray matter is home to neurons in specific regions of the brain. Meanwhile, the white matter is responsible for creating a communication line between various regions of the brain. Reduced gray matter leads to impaired memory, a decline in cognitive functions, and emotional problems. Changes in the white matter might cause difficulty when thinking and decreased physical functionality
Yoga has the opposite effect. Practicing yoga has been proven to slow down the decrease in gray matter volume in the brain through neurogenesis and help maintain the integrity of white matter through neuroplasty.
Quit Your Vices
Smoking has been proven to worsen the symptoms of chronic pain. Researchers have found that it affects the nervous system, increasing sensation and making people perceive pain more acutely. Smoking can also interfere with medication used to manage pain.
Get a Massage
A massage works by relaxing the affected muscles and tendons to alleviate pain and inducing relaxation by relieving stress and anxiety. There has also been evidence that suggests that therapeutic massage may “close the pain gate” by impeding pain signals from going to and from the brain. In one study, people who underwent 60-minute therapeutic massage sessions two to three times a week reported improved chronic neck pain.
Stress is bad not just for your mental health, but also your physical well-being. When you are stressed, your body is on alert: your breathing becomes shallow, your heart beats more rapidly, and your muscles tighten. Stress, especially among those who experience it often, takes a big toll in the body. People who have chronic pain may find that, by relieving stress, their symptoms may improve. Participate in activities that promote relaxation such as listening to calming music and meditation.
While these tips may improve symptoms, if you are experiencing chronic pain, it is best to see a doctor and explore the treatment options that are right for you.