The 3-Step Plan to End Chronic Pain

Approximately 100 million people suffer from constant pain for six months or longer. Try this plan to get relief from Dr. Natalie Azar, MD.

The 3-Step Plan to End Chronic Pain

Step 1: Find Pain Medications That Really Work

The traditional belief is to give an opioid for chronic pain, but this may not be the right thing to do. Opioids can raise the pain threshold even more, which may cause a dependence on them as well as make the pain feel even worse that it actually is. Opioids give you quick relief, but when they wears off you may find you're a step behind then where you started. Instead, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) increase serotonin and norepinephrine to help alleviate abnormal pain signaling and the brain's sensitization to pain signals. SNRIs are not addictive and can be used to help treat chronic pain.

Step 2: Evaluate Your Sleep

Many people with chronic pain sleep poorly. Insomnia and poor sleep are often directly related to chronic pain in many wide-scale studies. Once you start sleeping better, the pain starts to go away. Rather than resort to a sleeping pill or herbal medication, see if you can become involved with a sleep study that is covered by your insurance. Depending on your specific issues, the study can find ways to help you achieve better sleep. To lessen the effects of bad sleep, make sure to stretch 10 to 15 minutes in the morning as movement can also help ease chronic pain. A 10-minute hot shower to loosen muscles can also help after a restless night's sleep.

Step 3: Establish a Mind-Body Connection

Stress, anxiety and depression can also be directly linked to chronic pain. New studies on tai chi and acupuncture have shown to help with almost 50% of chronic pain sufferers. Find something that works for you, such as one of these techniques or yoga, meditation or therapy. Once you start to get into a routine to help manage your daily stress and anxiety the pain will start to get better. 

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