Chronically ill people do best when they take charge of their own health and treatment. No matter how good your doctor is, it’s your life that is at stake. In this 4 part series on constructive pain management, I discuss the need to diversify the methods which allow clients to live better, despite pain or sickness. A fundamental concept of my pain coaching programs is active engagement in all aspects of your own healthcare. Proactivity is one of the driving factors towards life improvement.
Chronic pain and illness often induces learned helplessness. Patients lose hope and feel victimized by their pain. After many failed attempts at treatment, they resign themselves to simply maintaining the status quo and not even trying to get better. Most patients simply acquiesce to following whatever treatment their doctor decides is best for them. In 9 out of 10 cases, this means becoming a slave to pharmaceutical therapy.
Drug products can be great for some health issues. However, for chronic pain and illness, these substances must be used long-term and can have dramatic negative effects on the general health. Risk factors include the disposition towards addiction for many drugs, the risk of organ or blood damage and the risk of problematic interactions with other drugs, herbs or food products, among others.
People who use pain management drugs, and other types of symptom-managing agents, might also suffer cognitive and emotional problems, chronic fatigue, nausea, headaches, bleeding ulcers and many other complications.
There is no doubt that the ongoing utilization of drug therapy for chronic pain and illness places the patient at heightened risk for a great number of negative health issues. However, most patients cite a need for pain management and do not know what else to do to find any semblance of relief.
It is vital to understand that active involvement in your own care is of paramount importance. You are not helpless and you do have many options when it comes to providing yourself with effective relief from a diversity of symptomatic expressions, including chronic pain.
Encouraging and supporting the client while they explore constructive pain management is one of the major successes of my coaching programs. Constructive is the key word here, since the term denotes techniques that do not have any inherent risk factors to consider and also help to improve overall general health and wellness of mind and body. In essence, these practices are actually good for you, unlike injury and disease treatments that masquerade as health practices.
Better still, these methods are nonpharmaceutical and have been scientifically proven to be extremely effective for controlling the severity of pain, reducing the duration of pain and increasing overall client functionality, with no risk or downsides.
It is crucial to understand that the way that these methods work is completely different that what many patients are used to. You can not simply take a pill and feel numb using any of these mindbody therapies. However, with time and practice, many patients report far better results from these techniques than they ever enjoyed using prescription drugs or other classic medical pain management therapies.
It must be noted that these techniques are not substitutes for proper medical care and should be never used as such. These are simply complementary practices that can improve life quality, without risk. It is always necessary to speak to your doctor when changing any aspect of your treatment program.
Constructive pain management falls into several categories:
Lifestyle changes are self-initiated alterations that can enhance general health and reduce the effects of chronic pain or illness.
Self-managed treatments can be provided by the patient and can be just as effective as professional medical care in many instances.
Professional treatment practices are offered by doctors and complementary caregivers. There are many useful alternative care therapies that do not involve health risks.
Listed below are some of my favorite constructive pain relief practices. You might choose to implement some of these in your own constructive pain management program or you might choose to select from many other possible techniques. We will examine some of these selections in detail in future blog posts.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Reduce Pain:
Do not smoke
More physical activity
Self-Managed Pain Reduction Practices:
Amateur massage / Self-massage
Self hypnosis / Affirmations
Yoga / Tai chi
Heat / Ice
Progressive muscle relaxation
Distraction and coping
Professional Pain Management Interventions:
Of course there are many, many more methods of self-managed and professional care that can provide satisfying results. I recommend investigating all of these choices, as well as researching other self-managed, holistic and constructive pain management options.
It must be noted that practice makes perfect in all things, including efforts towards constructive pain management. These methods take time and effort and will not provide satisfying results overnight. However, time and effort is the exact goal of coaching, inspiring clients to invest in themselves, thereby becoming evermore self sufficient and healthy.
Stay tuned for 3 more parts to this series on constructive pain management.