We asked for your ideas on what helps manage pain. Here's what you told us.
If I told you there’s an effective treatment for chronic pain that doesn’t involve drugs or surgery, a treatment that’s as easy as eating apple pie (with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream on the side), would you tell me I’m crazy?
OK, you’d be right: that would be crazy. If anyone proposes anything is as easy as apple pie, and they’re not talking about actually eating apple pie, your scam-detector should probably go off. BUT… there is actually a non-drug, non-surgical method of managing chronic pain with lots of supporting studies to back it up. Though not as easy as eating apple pie (what is?), this program is very doable.
When you are in the middle of an awful pain flare-up, do you ever get excited to jump on a treadmill and get some exercise? My guess is probably not. Though exercise might be the last thing on your mind when you are experiencing a pain flair-up, it should be an important part of a long-term pain management strategy. Research demonstrates that regular exercise can actually lessen the amount of pain you feel on an ongoing basis. Let's look at why.
Do you ever suspect that your doctor thinks you are a pain, rather than in pain?
Hint: it’s highly unlikely your doctor feels that way. Still, I often hear from patients who feel like their chronic pain endlessly frustrates their doctor. I’m not a doctor myself, but I happen to come from a family almost drowning in them – parents, brother, uncles, aunts, cousins, maybe even an evil twin I don’t know about. If someone gets a paper cut or a bruise at a family reunion, it’s like someone pushed the Doctor SWAT Team Button and physicians start swarming from all sides. So while I can’t speak directly for physicians, between my family and my career in healthcare, I can offer some educated guesses about why doctors sometimes behave the way they do when it comes to chronic pain.
Have you ever been told by someone that the pain you experience, that changes so much about your life, is all in your head? Or maybe the person doesn’t say it directly, but you can tell the person is kind of thinking it?
The truth is that they’re dead wrong… but also kind of right, in a misleading way.