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Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain is pain that extends beyond the expected period of healing.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic Pain is pain that extends beyond the expected period of healing.
The pain lasts for longer than 6 months and the patient will feel discomfort all the time. The pain can be mild and severe and doesn’t go away.
Chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments. Pain is described as shooting, burning, aching or electrical.
The causes of chronic pain might be because of previous trauma and injury, illness, normal aging or nerve damage.
There is no test that can measure and locate pain with precision. The goal is to provide symptom relief, to reduce pain and improve function. Chronic pain cannot be cured, but can be managed.

Medication is the most powerful pain relief tool. Taking your medication on a daily basis as prescribed by your doctor is the best treatment for pain, because it will ensure continuous relief. Always take your medication with a full glass of water, as
this helps distributing the medication to reach the areas of pain.

SLEEPING POSITIONS WHICH COULD ALLEVIATE BACK PAIN [1;2]

  • Sleep on your stomach with your back facing the ceiling. Have a pillow to support your head and neck and one under your lower abdomen.
  • Foetal position: lie on your side and draw knees to your chest. Have a pillow to support your head and neck and you can also have a pillow between your knees.
  • Sleeping on your back with you facing the ceiling. Have a pillow to support your head and neck, one under your lower back and one under your knees.
  • Sleep on your side. Have a pillow supporting your head and neck and one between your feet.
  • Reclined position: can invest in a bed that reclines or find ways to put your feet higher than your body. This can be done with pillows or blankets.

RELAXATION EXERCISES [3;4]

  • Breathing exercises: breathe deeply repeatedly for about ten cycles. Breathe in for a count of three, hold breath for a count of three and then breath out for a
    count of three.
  • Meditation: this is by sitting or lying down. Block all noises and thoughts and concentrate on your breathing without controlling it. Start with a period of
    five minutes and increase as you get better at it.
  • Stretching exercises and muscle relaxation exercise: do simple stretch exercises for the various muscle groups. Focus on also tensing and relaxing these
    muscles groups after the stretch exercises.
  • Mental imagery: Close your eyes and focus on an image that helps you feel, safe, comfortable and relaxed. This can be a place, noise, sound, smell,
    taste, event or memory and can be a feeling. Focus on this with a period of 5 minutes as a start then increase as you master the technique.

HOW TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE LIVING WITH CHRONIC PAIN? [5]

  • Counselling for emotional and mental problems that you may be facing due to the chronic pain.
  • Exercise: which releases natural endorphins which help improve your mood.
  • Managing stressors: if you can avoid stress do so, however, find techniques to relieve some stress like listening to music which can lift your mood, mental
    relaxation imagery, meditations, etc.
  • Socialise more, whether it be with family or friends. Having the support helps you cope emotionally and mentally.
  • Speak to the doctor about cognitive behavioural therapy which can help with the negative thoughts that may increase emotional problems such as
    depression, anxiety, etc.

Medical References

1.Gill, S. [Internet]. How should you sleep if you have lower back pain?. United Kingdom: Health Media; [updated 2018 Feb 10; cited 2019 Aug 15]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320870.php.
2. Mayo Clinic staff. Slide show: Sleeping positions that reduce back pain. America: Mayo Clinic; [updated 2014 May 21; cited 2019 Aug 15]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/backpain/ multimedia/sleeping-positions/sls-20076452.
3. Pain Management Network [Internet]. Segment 5- Relaxation techniques and mindfulness. Australia: Agency for clinical Innovation; [updated 2019; cited 2019 Aug 15]. Available from: https://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/chronicpain/painbytes/pain-and-mind-body-connection/relaxation-techniques-and-mindfulness.  

4. WebMD [Internet]. Stress Relaxation and Natural Pain Relief. Atlanta, US: WebMD LLC; [updated 2017 Aug 24; cited
2019 Aug 15]. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/stress-relief-for-pain.
5. WebMD [Internet]. Quality of Life Scale for pain. 11 Tips for Living with Chronic Pain. Atlanta, US: WebMD LLC;
[updated 2018 Jun 14; cited 2019 Aug 15]. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/11-tips-for-living-with-chronic-pain#1