6 Science-Based Tips for Coping with Chronic Pain

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 27 April 2020
  • 3 minute read
6 Science-Based Tips for Coping with Chronic Pain | The Health Sessions

This article is written in collaboration with Asbestos.com.

If you’re coping with chronic pain, you’re no stranger to the everyday challenges that come along with it. Chronic pain — defined by persistent pain that lasts at least three months — is the number one cause of disability globally.

Chronic pain is typically caused by an underlying condition. The four most common sources of pain are joint pain and arthritis, neuropathic pain, headaches and migraines, and back pain. People with cancer, fibromyalgia, and digestive issues may also experience pain.

Tackling your specific pain depends largely on the cause of it. The science of pain management has increased greatly in recent years, and no one should have to live in pain. Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan that’s right for you. Don’t be alarmed if the plan includes prescription pain medication. There is a negative stigma around pain medication — but according to the American Addiction Centers, responsible use of prescription medications help nearly two-thirds of chronic pain patients.

In addition to doctor-recommended medications and treatment options, there are some simple lifestyle choices you can make to boost your health and quality of life:

  • Get moving. In one study, exercise reduced pain sensitivity by 60%.

  • Seek emotional support. Chronic pain patients are three times as likely to develop depression, so being open and honest about your pain with friends and family will help reduce feelings of isolation and stress.

  • Avoid tobacco. If you smoke, get help with quitting. Tobacco causes a myriad of health complications and increases your risk of cancer.

  • Eat a balanced diet. Healthy plant foods rich in antioxidants can help reduce inflammation that causes chronic pain.

  • Get quality sleep. Sleep and pain are related. In one study, only 36% of chronic pain patients reported having “good” or “very good” sleep quality.

When you’re living with chronic pain, your focus should be on holistic, healthy living to improve your quality of life as much as possible. Remember to work closely with your doctor on the best treatment plan possible and keep your loved ones looped in on your situation. Remember that no one understands your pain better than you, and to put yourself first in every situation — even if that means saying no to certain people or situations.

The visual below provides more insight into the state of chronic pain and how to treat it:


What helps you to cope with chronic pain?

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