For chronic pain sufferers, it can be difficult to find any pain relief at any given time. The one place they wish they could minimize pain to relax and be comfortable is at home. While it is difficult to manage your environment away from home, you do have more control over your home and the ways in which it either alleviates or aggravates your pain. That’s why we share the following 4 steps you can take at home to minimize your chronic pain.
Some chronic pain sufferers inadvertently feel even worse when they focus on the pain itself. To minimize your pain at home, avoid sitting around and thinking about your pain. It is much better for you and your perceived levels of pain if you stay busy by finding distractions. One way to distract yourself is to engage in activities that you enjoy and that keep you busy. You may enjoy gardening or reading. You may enjoy baking and delivering your treats to neighbors.
Or, you may start a hobby. Some people find that scrapbooking provides a good distraction because you enjoy going through family memories and feel pleasure reliving favorite moments. Others find that working on model planes and cars provides a good distraction from the pain. Still others enjoy knitting, painting, drawing, and writing. The distraction is less about the hobby itself than it is about the benefits of actively engaging in an activity that you enjoy. When you engage in enjoyable activities, your brain releases chemicals of pleasure such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These chemicals counteract pain, anxiety, and depression.
Sometimes, minimizing chronic pain at home means getting some help. If you have been trying to clean your home but vacuuming your carpets and stretching to clean your windows is too painful, you should consider making your home life easier and hiring a housekeeper as needed. You may hire a housekeeper to do as little or as much of your housework depending on your pain level.
When interviewing a housekeeper, be sure to discuss your needs with applicants. Make sure they understand that you may need different tasks completed each time they come to clean and can be flexible as your needs change. It’s also helpful if you discuss schedules with applicants. You may need some flexibility with scheduling for doctor’s appointments or for days when you don’t feel well enough to have a housekeeper enter your home. Getting some help to maintain a clutter-free home can also help with stress, and stress reduction itself can help with pain as well.
By adding meditation to your daily routine at home, you will reduce your chronic pain and better manage your symptoms. Research shows that training your brain via meditation is one effective way to deal with chronic pain. Begin with breathing exercises to reduce your perception of pain.
The 4-7-8 breath is one breathing exercise nearly anyone with chronic pain can begin doing immediately. Find a comfortable position and place the tip of your tongue behind your upper teeth. Exhale through your mouth and make a gentle “whoosh” sound. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose as you count to four. Then, hold your breath while you count to seven. Last, exhale through your mouth with the “whoosh” sound again while you count to eight. Inhale and repeat three times.
One study shows that chronic pain sufferers, especially those with osteoarthritis, who consume an average of 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day report having less pain. People who consume more vitamin C also are less likely to experience more symptoms over a period of seven to ten years than those who consume the least amount of vitamin C. The theory is that vitamin C protects cartilage and bone. If you don’t want to take vitamin C supplements, begin adding vitamin C-rich foods to your diet. Guavas, citrus fruit, and red peppers are some healthy choices.
Living with chronic pain is not easy. But, you can minimize your pain by taking four steps at home: find distractions like hobbies, hire a housekeeper, meditate with breathing exercises, and consumer more vitamin C.