6 Tips for Living With Chronic Pain Through Quarantine

Pain Management Jun 30, 2020

The Center for Disease Control reports that over 50 million people in America suffer from chronic pain. Living with chronic pain during the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult, especially during quarantine and stay at home orders. Here are 6 tips to help.

That means one out of every five people is struggling. And out of that number, 19 million have severe chronic pain that interferes with their functioning in daily activities.

If you are living with chronic pain, you know how pain can ease one day and then be debilitating the next. You may experience breakthrough pain or flare-up pains at times. Many doctors advise patients to manage chronic pain by getting a professional massage, acupuncture or acupressure, attending counseling, or staying active.

Now what? Since you are stuck in quarantine due to COVID-19, you cannot go to appointments with professionals who help manage the pain. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help your pain during the quarantine. Before we get to the tips, though, we want you to assess your quality of life.

We know that sometimes your struggle with pain can be so consuming you don’t even realize just how much it affects your lifestyle. Knowing this information, however, can help you create the right plan for pain management.

Assess Your Quality of Life When Living With Chronic Pain

The American Chronic Pain Association has developed a Quality of Life Scale to help you track your pain and its effect on your life daily. You can download and print the scale, or you can enter your information online. There are three types of tracking logs:

  1. General pain
  2. Migraines
  3. Opioid-related constipation

You can pick one or all to complete to give you a better snapshot.

Tracking the effects of your pain gives your doctor a better idea of what you go through daily, not just how you appear or what you report in your short visit together. Having detailed information can help your specialist create an at-home pain management plan specific to your lifestyle.

Your plan will likely include activities like the ones listed below.

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is talk therapy between you and a counselor. Treatment is recommended because physical pain leads to mental distress. Sufferers of chronic pain report side effects like depression and anxiety. You should not have to overcome psychological and physical health issues all by yourself.

And in quarantine, you can meet with a mental health professional online. Counselors can meet with you virtually on a schedule that can be adapted for your stay at home. You may need more than one session a week while in quarantine, and that’s okay.

2. Massage Therapy

Even though you can’t leave home and go to the office of a professional massage therapist, there are massage techniques you can use at home when you are living with chronic pain. Have someone in your home provide the massage, or you can buy a device that massages your pain.

Massage releases endorphins in your brain. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain relievers. Massage also reduces stress, which is a common side effect of chronic pain. Stress increases muscle tension, which can worsen your pain.

There are many inexpensive massage and pain management devices on the market today. If you can’t decide, call your pain management specialist for advice. During quarantine, these can be a big help in managing your pain.

3. Medical Foods

With chronic pain, you probably don’t feel like eating much. Your appetite is suppressed because all you can think about is the pain, which is louder than a growling empty stomach. A lack of appetite can lead to malnourishment. You must take steps to ensure your body gets the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs, especially during the quarantine.

Your pain management specialist can provide you with the right medical foods and supplements to nourish your body. With proper nourishment, your body can better handle the pain by reducing inflammation and strengthening immunity.

4. Don’t Sit Still

When your pain management doctor recommends staying active, they don’t mean start prepping for a marathon or become a beast of a weight lifter at the gym. Staying active can mean simple movements to keep your muscles and joints flexible for those of you suffering from chronic pain.

The stiffer your body gets, the more pain you may feel. Therefore, forcing yourself to stretch, walk around your backyard, go up and down your steps slowly, or cleaning the house can produce positive results with managing pain.

5. Drink More Water

Because you aren’t as active during quarantine, that doesn’t mean your body needs less water. Continue to drink eight glasses or more of water each day.

Think of your pain in terms of inflammation. Your joints may feel like they are on fire. Now, think of each glass of water as a fire extinguisher. Ensuring your body receives the fluids it needs allows your body to fight the sources of pain.

Water flushes out toxins in your body that cause inflammation. It also helps flush them out through your kidneys and liver. Water, for some, is considered medicine.

It can even help alleviate constipation issues that you may face if you are prescribed opioid type drugs. If you have ever had to use a laxative, you may already know that they work by attracting water into the colon through osmosis so your system can unblock and eliminate waste.

The more water you drink, the more hydrated your system will be, and the less you will need to rely on products to help with digestion.

6. Don’t Avoid Your Doctor

Being on lockdown doesn’t mean living with chronic pain is impossible. Instead, they have adapted their practices to meet the requirements of the quarantine. Depending on your level of pain, doctors can communicate with you online, or admit you to a hospital.

The key is communication. Your doctor cannot help you if they do not know how you are feeling.

The last thing you need during a quarantine is to feel like help is not available. Doctors are ready to help you. Go ahead and call your pain management specialist today to get information on how to prepare for home pain management.

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