5 Of The Best…....Ways To Help Relieve Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is often described as any pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. It is different to acute pain which can be sharp and extremely painful, but is the bodies natural method to alert us to a possible injury. Chronic pain doesnt go away and can often last for months or more. Here are 5 ways of helping to relieve and manage chronic pain:

1. Learn deep breathing or meditation to help you relax

Deep breathing and meditation are techniques that help your body relax, which may ease pain. Tension and tightness seep from muscles as they receive a quiet message to relax.

Although there are many ways to meditate, the soothing power of repetition is at the heart of some forms of meditation. Focusing on the breath, ignoring thoughts, and repeating a word or phrase -- a mantra -- causes the body to relax. While you can learn meditation on your own, it helps to take a class.

Deep breathing is also a relaxation technique. Find a quiet location, a comfortable body position, and block out distracting thoughts. Then, imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, then let it out, like deflating a balloon.

2. Exercise

If you are already in pain, it may sound odd to suggest doing exercise, however, the NHS says that doing some activity is usually better than resting. Consider options that won’t be too much of a strain, and can fit in with your life - on the good days and the not so good ones. Good choices include hydrotherapy and swimming, walking, yoga or an exercise bike. Don't overdo it, and ask your doctor or physiotherapist for recommendations that are right for you.

Exercise can help take your mind off pain and releases brain chemicals called endorphins that lift mood and may also help to block pain signals.

Keeping active also reduces the risk of developing other health conditions - some of which could make pain worse.

3. Join a support group

Sharing your experience of long-term pain gets you in touch with other people who are going through what you are going through. You may be able to share tips - or it can just help to talk to people who understand. NHS schemes such as the Self-Management Programmes (SMP) and NHS Pain Management Programmes (PMPs) may also help.

4. Cut down on smoking

Some smokers find temporary relief from stress and pain by lighting up a cigarette. However, smoking may actually contribute to pain in the long run. It slows healing, worsens circulation and increases the risk of degenerative disc problems, a cause of lower back pain. Relieving pain is another good reason to seek help to quit smoking.

5. Listen to music

The pain-relieving effects of music were first documented in 1914. A more recent review of 73 studies suggests it may help to reduce pain after an operation as well as reducing the need for painkillers.

It's thought listening to music releases a chemical in your brain that helps control feelings of discomfort. One small study showed just 20 minutes a day gave relief to people with arthritis. Research is currently underway into the effects of music during gynaecological procedures such as caesarean sections. As there doesn't seem to be any negative effects, you may want to try playing your favourite sounds before a medical procedure or operation.