Keeping positive with chronic pain

I have a condition with my back that I will have to live with the rest of my life and just learn how to manage the pain. This can challenge me on bad days and it can be hard to remain positive when it limits my activities. I have learned that I have some days without pain and other days where it is painful to move. It can be disheartening as I think my condition has improved then I have a really bad day. Millions of people suffer from chronic pain conditions. Chronic pain can make people more likely to develop depression and anxiety as so much of it is out of our control. It can be hard to focus and stay positive when our pain is talking to us and distracting our minds from what we need to do.

  1. Distract yourself: I find the more I sit around moping about the pain, the worse I feel both physically and mentally. I usually have to make sure to engage myself outside the working day by meeting out friends, working in my garden, watching a really good movie or reading a book. The more I can engage with others the less likely I am thinking about the pain and letting it be the center of my attention.

  2. Continue to do some form of exercise. Always consult with your Dr. to see what kind of exercise you can do for your particular condition but staying in bed and/or being a couch potato is not in your best interest. If you can walk, go for a short walk. If your legs are a source of pain, do some upper body exercises. If your upper body is in pain, do some lower body exercises. Stretch at the very least to keep your body in motion and your mind away from your pain.

  3. Keep up with your treatments and Dr. visits. I have developed a daily yoga program based on a class I went to for bad backs. I try to do the program every day but there are some days where time is short, I am exhausted and don’t feel like doing the exercises. I make myself do at least some of them to keep my body stretched and relieve some pain. Even when you don’t feel like doing your Physical therapy exercises, remind yourself of the positive benefits from doing them. Take your prescribed medications to help with the pain.

  4. Keep an open mind to alternative treatments and remedies. Traditional medicine may not work for you to completely keep you pain free. Consider trying some alternative treatments to see what works best for you. There are natural anti-inflammatories like fish oil, cherry extract as well as turmeric. Consider all possible side effects and interactions with your current medications with your Dr. before starting any supplements.

  5. Find some sort of support group to help you realize you are not alone. With the internet you can easily find message boards, chat rooms and groups to help support you and offer additional strategies for handling your particular condition. These people understand completely what you are going through and it can be very validating to know that you have others to talk too and their support can be invaluable.

Know that you are not alone! You can make it through, if you are struggling with depression from chronic pain, therapy can help. Call today (919) 618-6526 or email me at