First, know your diagnosis. How can you treat a problem that has not been diagnosed? You will not know your traditional or alternative medical treatment options unless you have a specific diagnosis. Whether the condition is fibromyalgia, arthritis or cancer, there are treatment options available for you. Without a diagnosis, you will not receive adequate treatment. So pursue finding the answer for why you have chronic pain, which gives you the opportunity to accept the truth about your body. In that case, you can learn to live and thrive despite a painful diagnosis.
Second, know your body. You must identify the specific activities and movements that increase and decrease your pain and symptoms. You should be able to readily list your aggravating and relieving factors. That is helpful first for your physician, therapist or other healthcare practitioner as they develop your diagnosis and treatment plan.
Third, modify your lifestyle based on your list from #2 (aggravating and relieving factors). Here are some examples.
a. Lie down on on your back for 10 minutes without a pillow and place ice on the painful area. This may give enough pain relief to get you through the afternoon of chores.
b. Avoid the chair that causes your back to hurt. Find another chair. Or if sitting in that chair for 1 hour causes your back to hurt, stand up and stretch every 30 minutes.
c. Sit in the back row of church so that you can stand up as frequently as needed. This may be the modification that enables you to get back to church again.
d. Do a specific exercise that decreases your pain, and repeat it every hour.
e. Consistently walk for 30 minutes per day because that keeps your pain better controlled.
f. The next time you buy a car, get one that is higher off the ground because getting in and out of a low car always aggravates your pain.
g. Cook for 15 minutes at a time if standing too long aggravates your pain.
Fourth, take medication as prescribed for a time period. If it is ineffective, follow up with your doctor to see what other medicine may be appropriate. Some medicine is most effective when taken consistently, so do not skip doses or days.
Fifth, comply with doctor’s orders. This includes lifting restrictions, activity restrictions, lifestyle modifications, prescriptions and other medical treatments (such as Physical Therapy or chiropractic care). If you truly want to get better, what are you doing to make that happen? Are you doing the home exercise program from your PT?
Sixth, be sure you have exhausted your treatment options. Have you tried Physical Therapy, Aquatic Therapy, Chiropractor, Accupuncture, Massage Therapy, Exercise, Weight Loss, Medication, Natural Remedies, Vitamins/Supplements, Topical Rubs/Creams, Ice/Heat, Over-the-counter treatments, Injections, Diet changes, etc?
Lastly, do your own research and be your own advocate. If you know the answer to #1, then find support groups, websites, books and articles on your diagnosis. Find out the best local or national specialists in your area of chronic pain.
Chronic pain is very difficult to live with, but you ARE still alive! God has blessed you with this life, so learn to best manage your pain so that you can fulfill your purpose for living!