Other ways to manage pain
It may not be possible to completely remove your pain, however you can be supported to cope better with it. Things such as anxiety and stress can make your ability to manage your pain worse, and things such as healthy diet, good sleep, gentle exercise and mindfulness can help calm down your body’s sensitivity to pain and make you better able to manage your pain.
Reducing the side effects from your pain medication can help you feel more alert and proactive about managing your pain, and may improve your quality of life.
Speak to a pharmacist or GP at your practice for support, especially if you are thinking about reducing your pain medication as it can be dangerous to reduce this too quickly on your own.
“Medicine are only part of the solution to managing pain”Dr John Williamson, Northumberland
Work with your GP or Health professional if you find you are needing opioids for a longer than 3 months.
Understanding your pain
Pain can be described in 3 ways:
- Short-term, such as a sprained ankle. Also known as acute pain.
- Long-term pain, such as a bad back which lasts for months or years. Also known as chronic pain.
- Pain that comes and goes, like a headache. Also known as recurrent pain.
It’s important for you to understand your pain. Short-term pain is easy to understand as it is often the result of something that has gone wrong. Long term pain can be more confusing and can negatively impact your physical and mental health as well as your quality of life.
By understanding your pain, you can begin to use self-management tools live with your pain.Additional support
If you’re living with long-term pain, you can access support through a pain clinic. Your GP can refer you.
A pain Management Programme (PMP) is a psychologically based rehabilitative treatment where healthcare professionals work closely with you to teach you how best to cope with your pain to live a more active live. You will be taught physical, psychological, and practical techniques to improve quality of life. A referral to a Pain Management Programme is through your local pain clinic.
Managing your painAdditional resources
To help you manage your pain there are a number of techniques to explore. Some are:
Goal settingSetting, tracking and achieving goals will help you to recognise that you’re making progress.
Deep breathingWhen you breathe deeply it helps regulate your heart rate and blood pressure, which helps to regulate the pain response in your brain.
RelaxationThe feeling being calm helps the body to release tension and reduce pain by decreasing muscle tension.
Share your experienceOpening up to family and friends will mean they can help you with your pain management.
Positive imageryalso known as visualization, is a relaxation technique that aims to help lower the levels of stress hormones in your body
Thought distractionDistraction means shifting your attention away and use your brain to focus your attention onto something else.
Reducing stress in your lifeStress and make it harder to deal with your pain and the problems caused by that pain.
Remaining positiveWith a positive mindset it’s easier to stay motivated and look ahead.
ExerciseFind something you enjoy that an keep you active.
Mindfulness techniquesMindfulness encourages the acceptance of the pain and can calm your natural instinct to tense up.