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Living with chronic pain can be quite stressful. It not only hampers your physical activity but takes a toll on your emotional well-being too. You live in a constant state of fear and despair. Learning how to cope up with chronic pain empowers you again.

Any pain that lasts for more than six months is termed as chronic pain. It can range from mild to severe, continuous or episodic, and slightly irritating to completely debilitating.

Being in constant pain also affects your mental and emotional health.

The anxiety, helplessness and despair leaves you fatigued. This also depresses the production of natural painkillers in the body. The negative thoughts arising in the brain about the quality of life boost the production of chemicals in body which can further amplify the pain sensations.Thus, you land up in a vicious cycle where pain leads to depression which, in turn, leads to more pain.

Experts say that this cycle can even depress the body’s natural immune mechanism making you susceptible to different kinds of infections.

Chronic pain can lead to insomnia, irritability, decrease in social activities (as the affected person likes to withdraw from social activities), and mood swings.

Chronic pain can be a result of some injury or infection or some other ongoing cause of pain like some debilitating disease. There may be instances when no apparent reason for the chronic pain can be determined. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include headaches, backache and joint pains. Long standing muscle pain or painful conditions of nerves like the carpal tunnel syndrome are also termed as chronic pains.

Managing chronic pain involves not only relief from the physical pain but also dealing with the mental and emotional aspects of the chronic pain. It is only when both the fronts are addressed simultaneously that one can break the vicious cycle. It has to be a joint effort from physicians and psychologists.

Apart from taking your medicines to cope up with the physical aspect of chronic pain, here are some tips which would help in dealing with the mental and emotional aspect of chronic pain.

1. Accept your condition

The first and foremost step of coping with your chronic pain involves coming to terms with the fact that you suffer from a chronic pain which may take a considerable time to go away, or you may even have to bear with it for your entire life. It is easier said than done. Acknowledging that you suffer from a chronic condition is almost like accepting defeat. You always considered yourself fit and fine and now suddenly you are in a situation which is affecting both your body and soul. And it is not going to go away easily.

But remember that only if you accept the situation that you will be able to regain the mental strength to fight with the condition. Living in denial would never give you the courage to meet the situation head-on. And do away with the grief as soon as possible. It is only natural to feel sad about your condition but remaining sad throughout is certainly not the way you would like to spend your life.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • “Chronic Pain Management”, by Pain Management Health Center, Web MD, reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 18, 2012, accessed on January 6, 2013.
  • “Coping with chronic pain”, by the American Psychological Association, accessed on January 6, 2013.
  • “11 Tips for Living With Chronic Pain” by Pain Management Health Center, Web MD, reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 18, 2012, accessed on January 6, 2013.
  • Photo courtesy of tipstimes on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/tipstimes/7256275084/
  • Photo courtesy of brymo on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/brymo/1445433785