- Chronic Pain & Wellness
- Chronic Pain & Wellness
Do You Have Time For Pain Relief?
By Dr. Peter Abaci
Being healthy doesn’t just happen. It requires work and dedication. Likewise, effectively managing pain also takes special effort and commitment. When you have a chronic condition like fibromyalgia or back pain, you can’t expect to just wake up one day and be rid of all that ails you. No, in order to get chronic pain under better control, you need to invest in the process.
Your pain relief investment will require help from a few different resources (but hopefully not too much in the way of dollars), with one of those being the investment of your time. What you do with the time that you have each day can have a big impact on how well you can keep your pain under wraps. Making changes to your daily routine or how you spend your down time can tip the scales for better pain control in your favor.
In our modern world, time has become a very valuable commodity. There are only so many hours in a day, and they can easily get gobbled up by work and family responsibilities. Modern technology makes this even more challenging, as you can now get overloaded 24/7 with work emails, text messages, and funny cat videos on Facebook. This means you may not have enough time for you, including doing things that keep your pain under better control. Striking the right balance between work and looking out for others and your own health needs can be a real challenge. It might mean sitting down and drawing up an actual schedule for yourself, so that there is time budgeted for activities that will keep you strong and refreshed, inside and out.
Consider these potential pitfalls for those of you who are time-challenged:
- Eating on the go: Processed, packaged food or take-out from fast food restaurants can be convenient sources of quick, easy meals, but they may not be so kind to your pain. They are often loaded with mediators of inflammation like trans fats, starches, and lots of sugar and salt. Shopping and preparing healthy meals is time consuming, but it is an important part of creating a healthier, more active body. Plus, having a set meal time for family or friends is great for bonding and communication.
- Too Still: How much of your day is spent sitting or lying down? Working at a desk, using a computer or smart phone, and watching television are typically sedentary activities. Yet, our bodies need to move to feel good. Exercise, stretching, and walking can be a critical part of effective pain relief, but it can be hard to find the time or even the motivation when you are hurting and stressed for time. If you find yourself being typically very sedentary, start to gradually up the amount of time you spend moving until you find a healthy balance between exercise and rest. Make time for regular physical activity.
- Always connected: Technology may help you get a lot of things done each day, but it can also be very distracting. Being connected can eat up a lot of your day if you aren’t careful, which leaves less time for other important activities like sleeping or working out. Budget time to unplug and disconnect from things like email, texts and social media.
- Everyone depends on you: Being a spouse, parent, breadwinner, or caretaker are all big commitments, where others depend on you each and every day. Getting too overwhelmed by these responsibilities can mean sacrificing the time you need to take care of yourself. Remember, the better you manage your own health, the better equipped you will be to help others.
- Too much noise: There is a lot bouncing around in our heads pretty much most of the time, and when we are in pain, a lot of that may include anxiety, worry, or thoughts of hopelessness. Yet, more and more research is finding the benefits of meditation and mind/body practices for improving pain relief. Budgeting some quiet time for whatever practice works best to recharge can be well worth it.
When it comes to pain relief, your time is one of your most valuable commodities. Spend it wisely.
About the author
Dr. Peter Abaci
Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center: A Prospira Center of Excellence
Peter Abaci, MD, is certified in anesthesia and pain management by the American Board of Anesthesiology. He serves as the Medical Director of the nationally recognized Bay Area Pain and Wellness... View Articles