Navigating through prolonged discomfort can indeed take a toll on your emotional wellbeing. Whether it’s a temporary setback lasting a week or an enduring struggle with chronic pain, maintaining a positive mindset becomes crucial. Picture this: waking up each day with no relief in sight. It’s in these moments that small gestures, such as receiving thoughtful gifts like get well cookie baskets, can bring comfort and brighten your spirits.
But what is emotional wellbeing?
Emotional wellbeing is awareness of your emotions. It’s how well you can cope with and manage those emotions as you face the different challenges life brings. Emotional wellbeing is your ability to produce positive emotions, moods, thoughts, and feelings when confronted with stressful and unexpected situations. Your emotional wellbeing is something that can affect how you function on a day-to-day basis. When you are emotionally well, you can learn and grow from experiences, and it can encourage autonomy and proper decision-making skills. There are various components of emotional wellbeing: self-care, relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and stress reduction.
What is chronic pain?
Pain is normal, and everyone will experience it in some part of the body at some point in life. When your body experiences an injury or illness, it lets you know – with pain. Once the body has healed itself – with time, medication, physio, massage, etc. – the pain goes away. However, if the pain lasts more than 12 weeks/3 months, then it’s no longer just described as pain but as chronic pain.
How are chronic pain and emotional wellbeing linked?
It’s estimated that around 25% of people with chronic pain develop a condition called chronic pain syndrome (CPS) which involves symptoms beyond just pain. Anxiety and depression are common for those experiencing CPS. And this is how pain affects your emotional wellbeing, as well as your physical health. Neck pain can impact your day-to-day activities such as working, your social life, exercise, sleeping patterns, taking care of yourself, and for some, taking care of others. Someone may encounter all these interruptions or just some, but either way, it will take a toll on your mental health. And in turn, your emotional wellbeing.
If you’re unable to do the things you’re used to doing for a long time, you may find it harder to sleep, which could increase your stress. If you are unable to relax, you could get anxious, and so the cycle continues. Chronic pain can be hard to treat but it’s not impossible.
How to relieve chronic pain
Relieving chronic pain requires a combination of treatments. It’s not a one size fits all approach. What works for you may not work for someone else. Exercise and continuing to work are two of the main ways to help manage chronic pain and your emotional wellbeing.
But here are some of the things you can try:
- Physical therapy
- Counselling/Talking therapies
- Relaxation techniques
One of the most helpful things to try is being active every day, not just on the good days. It will help you feel in control of your life and ultimately reduce the number of bad days.
Try not to lie in bed for long periods of time. It can make the pain last longer, and the lack of movement can contribute to stiffness and trouble sleeping.
Exercise doesn’t have to be going for a run, to the gym, or to a class. It can be as simple as going for a walk. Good for the body, good for the pain, and good for the mind.
If you choose to go down the physical therapy route and see a physical therapist, they will give exercises to do at home that will be specific to you and your pain.
Physical therapy for chronic pain can involve stretching exercises, pain-relief exercises, and manipulations. It’s usually performed/delivered by a physiotherapist (physiotherapy), at a family chiropractic clinic (chiropractic treatment), or osteopath (manipulations), or an occupational therapist (massages, cupping, and holistic therapies). Older individuals may benefit from senior physical therapy to help relieve chronic pain. Also, here’s how to hire in chiropractic by Chiro Match Makers, a great staffing agency.
Seeing a physiotherapist is a fantastic idea if you are suffering from chronic pain. Not only will they help assess where the pain is and help relieve it there and then. As qualified specialists, they’ll be able to give you exercises to do at home that are specific to you, as mentioned above.
A certified and well-experienced occupational therapist can address musculoskeletal issues and help provide immediate relief with techniques such as massage/remedial massage.
Here are some common musculoskeletal imbalances and injuries that can be treated using remedial massage:
- Stiffness and pain associated with poor posture
- Sporting & occupational injuries
- Shoulder pain, impingement syndrome, frozen shoulder
- Headaches / migraines
- Acute pain and chronic stiff and painful neck
- Chronic overuse syndromes – tendonitis, RSI, tennis/golfer’s elbow, carpal tunnel
- Acute & chronic back pain / ‘sciatica’
- Arthritis / Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia
By focusing on relieving trigger points, remedial massage can help to relieve chronic pain. As well as reducing the pain, massage therapy can also help you to relax, which may help with your emotional wellbeing too. You might also want to explore laser therapy as an alternative option for managing chronic discomfort.
Chronic pain impacts your moods and emotions because it causes chronic stress. There are many ways to relieve chronic pain and we’ve only touched on a few here. If you are experiencing chronic pain, please seek medical attention.