Pain Management Journey: Everyone has a different pain management journey, so medical professionals and patients must work together to find what works best for each situation. Chances are dramatic results will not occur overnight but can happen over time. Trying out different tips, such as the ones below, can help limit the stress in a pain management journey while increasing the chances of positive results.
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Create a Diary
Creating a diary of your pain management journey can benefit you and any medical professionals you see. Use a notebook that is small enough to keep in your purse or bag, so if there is ever a medical emergency where you cannot provide details of your medical history, it is still easily accessible by medical professionals.
Break down your diary by day. Leave space at the top of each day for a TL; DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) section. Consider this a bullet point passage summarizing the day’s main aspects, an easily scannable option for medical professionals.
Know Your Limits And Stick To Them
At some point, we have all known our limits and pushed past them anyway, such as if we tried to carry in too many heavy bags at once or intentionally stayed up hours past bedtime when our bodies were screaming for sleep.
Part of the pain management journey is paying attention to indicators our bodies are giving us and not blowing them off. Stick to your limits; if you want to push them, speak with your doctor about safe and effective ways to (slowly) do so instead of going about it alone.
Ask for Help
Many of us want to do things ourselves, and it can often be challenging to ask for help. However, that is one of the quickest ways to exasperate pain.
Feel free to request help, including assistance from loved ones and neighbors, from your community, and even while you are out and about.
For instance, if you are staying at a hotel and have a heavy bag to carry to your room, ask if someone can bring it up. At the grocery store, ask an employee if they can help you get something from a higher shelf you cannot easily reach. There is nothing wrong with asking for aid when needed, whether in that moment or the future.
Eliminate And/Or Decrease Certain Substances
It can be helpful to eliminate and/or decrease certain substances that may worsen your pain, including but not limited to – cigarettes, vaping, cigars, sodium, alcohol, and caffeine. Your doctor can help you make a plan for how to cut back and/or how to eliminate them.
Start a Medical History Binder
Creating a medical history binder is different from starting the previously mentioned diary. However, this can be strictly for your medical history instead of how you feel and what you do throughout your day. For instance, include receipts of your prescriptions, business cards of all your doctors, a detailed list of medical appointments, and any other relevant information. Keep this along with the diary. It makes it easy to show medical professionals when they ask about your medical background.
Meet With a Dietician
Dieticians can play a significant role in helping you with your pain management journey. For example, they can suggest when to add or eliminate certain foods or beverages from your diet that could impact your daily wellness. Ask your primary care doctor for a recommendation from someone they trust.
Get a Pet
There are many benefits to getting a pet, one of which is that it may help with your pain management. For example, a dog can get you into your backyard or for a walk. Pets can also help you relax, whether you are petting them or playing together. Choose a pet that complements your lifestyle and that you can easily manage.
Build up Your Social Circle
Friendships could help with everything from reducing stress to assisting when needed. However, when you are dealing with pain, it is easy to want to cancel plans or avoid making them in the first place.
Do what you can to try and build up your social circle. For instance, you can join a local support group, see if your community has any clubs you would be interested in joining, and reach out to friends you spoke to a while ago. Make an effort to stay connected to people who are genuinely kind to you and who make an effort to be part of your life.
Improve Your Sleep
Sleep can often be hard to come by when you are in pain. However, trying to get the high-quality sleep you desperately need is essential. Get a bed and bedding that provides the ideal amount of comfort, turn off distracting lights, use blackout shades, and set your thermostat to the right temperature. If you are not getting the right amount of sleep, no matter what you try, speak to your doctor, who can make personalized suggestions.
If you are in or near Tulsa, Oklahoma, and struggling with pain, Dr. Brandon Claflin and the Oklahoma Interventional Spine & Pain team can help. Schedule an appointment today for personalized tips to help you better navigate your pain management journey.