Make a plan to deal with chronic pain

Combining therapies can help you live well with chronic pain.

How would you describe the pain? When you see a doctor because you are in pain, they will ask you to give specific descriptions of the pain. Some words and phrases that people use are shooting, sharp, dull, pins and needles, constant, intermittent and more. There are different definitions of pain. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines pain as an unpleasant physical sensation that causes discomfort and emotional distress related to injury or illness. The Medical Dictionary, however, recognizes that pain is more than a sensation and can be influenced by how people perceive pain intensity. Regardless of how you define or feel pain, the most important thing may be to find reliable recommended strategies to help you cope.

Most individuals will experience pain during their lifetime. It can affect your mood, relationships, work performance, and interfere with the ability to perform activities of daily living. Scientists recognize a link between the experience of chronic pain, depression and anxiety. For example, symptoms of depression or anxiety may be associated with increased pain intensity.

Mindfulness can be a protective factor against the mental and emotional characteristics of pain. Mindfulness means paying attention to the here and now and learning to accept each moment without judgment. In other words, it is. Even after just four sessions, mindfulness training has been shown to improve quality of life and psychological functioning. Additionally, mindful self-compassion encourages a self-care mindset and includes improved anxiety and pain acceptance.

Researchers now encourage a multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain management, such as combining mindfulness training and education. The combination of approaches can prolong improvements in quality of life and reduce pain intensity. Two of these approaches are provided by Michigan State University Extension, both in person and online. Many participants have completed one or the other. We encourage participants to consider both as an approach to improving their quality of life while living with chronic pain.

mindfulness approach

Stress Less with Mindfulness is a research-based program offered by MSU Extension in conjunction with West Virginia University Extension. This series of five sessions introduces participants to the experience and practice of mindfulness. Skills introduced include conscious breathing, movement, eating, walking, thinking and laughing. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness is effective in reducing stress-related symptoms such as worry, depression, and physical tension, and may be helpful in managing chronic conditions such as heart disease and depression. diabetes. By providing adults with alternative ways to deal with everyday stressors, including thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and events, Stress Less with Mindfulness teaches and encourages the use of mindful self-care skills. to help you feel better and enjoy life more.

Pedagogical approach

Another approach offered by MSU Extension is the Evidence-Based Personal Action on Chronic Pain (PATH) series, a self-management resource program. Chronic Pain PATH is a six-week self-management workshop designed to help people take an active role in chronic pain management. Adults of any age interested in chronic pain management are welcome, including those living with chronic pain, family members and caregivers. Participants learn strategies and skills for managing chronic pain such as:

  • Dealing with difficult emotions, lack of sleep, fatigue and stress.
  • Plan and schedule activities.
  • Developing exercise and healthy eating plans.
  • Medication management and medication abuse prevention.
  • Communicate with family, friends and health care providers.
  • Decision making and evaluation of treatment options.
  • Goal setting.

Since pain is not just physical and can also affect your mental, emotional, and social health and well-being, combining several approaches to managing pain can provide optimal benefits. If you or someone you know has chronic pain and want to find ways to cope with it and improve your quality of life, start by signing up for classes today by filling out a self-help form. -online reference.

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