5 Strategies to Help You Take Control of Your Pain

My name is Bill, and I suffer from chronic pain.

There...I said it.  I've come to terms with the fact that chronic pain is a part of my life and will probably be a part of it forever, but I REFUSE to let chronic pain own me.  If I am going to deal with pain, it's going to be on my terms.  To that end, I have come up with a set of 5 strategies that have helped me lessen my pain and avoid surgery.
Man walking his dog on a forest path.

  1. Diet matters.  Eat better, lose weight, and your pain will likely lessen.   I started with a cleanse that helped me jumpstart a healthier approach to food and have since gone on to a modified gluten free diet that helps keep inflammation down.  I'll write about anti-inflamatory diets in a later post
  2. Move.  That's right.  I know you hurt, but movement helps your joints.  I have tried jogging, Pilates, and yoga, but I settled on walking with the dog every morning mixed in with the occassional "all of the above."  At first it was hard, but after a couple of weeks, I had less pain and wanted to increase my activity.
  3. Stretch.  Every morning before I walk, every afternoon to break up my time at my desk, and every evening before I go to bed, I do 5stretches. It takes about 5 minutes. I use the 5 back pain stretches found here on SpineUniverse. 
  4. Fix your ergonomics.  We just had an ergonomics expert come to the office, and for the CEO of a company that educates on spine health, I was appalled by how bad my desk ergonomics were.  No wonder I have chronic pain, my posture at work is awful.  We have plenty of articles on ergonomics to help you learn more (follow that link to get to a list of them).  As an aside, I had a physical therapist use physio-tape to help me learn better posture, and it worked pretty well.  
  5. Change your mindset.  George Washington Carver said, "Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses."  This could easily apply to overcoming chronic pain.  Change your mindset from that of a victim to an empowered patient.  Take control of your pain by accepting it as a part of who you are and finding what works to help minimize its impact, even if that ultimately means a surgical solution.  

This list could easily have been 10 strategies or even 20.  That's not the point.  The point is I found what works for me, and you should find what works for you.  Tweet me your strategies for coping with pain (@BillPaquin), or you can share them via our Facebook page, and I'll share them in a future post.