Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Dr Lachlan Soper on Managing Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can disrupt lives and change them forever. Living with chronic pain isn’t easy for those suffering from it or for their loved ones. Injuries and illnesses as well as prolonged physical, emotional, or social stress can be the causes of chronic pain, and everyone experiences that pain differently. 

Depression, anxiety, stress, anger, fear, intrusive thoughts, isolation, and overdoing things can create more pain signals in the body and make the pain feel even worse. But there are ways to manage chronic pain so that it doesn’t overtake your life. 

Breathing or Meditation

To help ease chronic pain, deep breathing and meditation can help your body to relax. There are many ways that you can meditate in order to relax. As long as the soothing power of repetition is at the heart, then you are meditating. When meditating, try to only focus on your breathing, and ignore intrusive thoughts. If you’re having trouble with meditating on your own, a class can be a great help.

Stay Active  

Staying active may seem like the last thing you want to do when dealing with chronic pain, but it’s a great way to alleviate some of that pain. When we exercise, our brain releases endorphins which help improve our mood while also blocking pain signals. Exercise also strengthens muscles, which is another pain-reducing effect that helps prevent re-injury or further pain. When staying active with chronic pain, it’s essential to find the right exercise or activity for you. Some sports put you in positions that make pain worse (depending on your specific pain). Walking is generally a good activity for most pains – the subtle movements and lack of impact help lubricate the joints. Talk to your doctor beforehand to discuss what is right for you.

Start Tracking Your Pain Levels and Activity

Effectively treating your pain requires tracking your pain levels and activity every day. This will provide your doctor with the information they need to treat your pain. An easy way to track this is by keeping a log or journal of your daily “pain score”. Write down your pain level on a scale of 1 to 10 at the end of each day as well as the activities you did that day. Sharing this with your doctor will give them an understanding of your chronic pain. 

While this is helpful, there is another train of thought, which is that you need to re-frame / distract yourself from pain. For example the recent winner of Australian Survivor was a pain researcher, when doing a difficult challenge and asked about the pain, she deflected the question. Rather than acknowledging that she felt pain, she would say things like “I’m fine”, or “I can keep doing this”.

Save Energy for Loved Ones

Chronic pain, whatever the source, is tiring. You only really realise this when you have chronic pain, and others without chronic pain don’t quite get that exhaustion. When you’re having a good day, be sure to share it with your friends and family. When dealing with chronic pain, time management is essential. Start saving your energy during the day to be both physically and emotionally present for your family. Try not to be so giving to others during the time that you’re not with loved ones by simply learning to say ‘no’ and setting boundaries. This will allow you to spend that limited energy on the things and people you love the most.

DISCLAIMER

All content provided on the www.lachlansoper.com.au website is general in nature and for informational purposes only.  It does not take into consideration an individual’s circumstances and it is not advice and should not be used as a substitute for advice from an appropriately qualified professional.

Opinions are my own. Links to external websites do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation.

No responsibility is accepted for any liability, loss or risk which is incurred as a consequence of the use of any of the material or links on this website, nor for any errors or omissions in the information.

All content on this website © Lachlan Soper (unless otherwise specified)

Published by lachlansoper

Lachlan Soper lives in Mosman, Sydney, Australia as a caring general practitioner to his patients, a committed cyclist to his biking companions, and, most importantly, a father to his three beautiful children. With over two decades of experience as a doctor, he is continuously fascinated by medicine and the human body. Infusing a bit of his parenting style into his work, he takes the time to listen to his patients so that he can make informed and comprehensive management plans that link into their lifestyle and personal preferences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: