Coping with pain

Pain and arthritis are inseparable. Proper treatment of arthritis under expert care controls disease and reduces pain.  Pain is an individual experience. Hence one should find his or her own way to tackle with pain. There is no magic pill to kill pain. It is always advisable to use least possible dose of painkillers due to their various adverse effects. One can control pain by sensibly understanding own pain and finding out ways to combat it. Life returns back to normal once again. One can live well with pain though it may not go away completely.

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Chronic pain has emotional dimensions. This leads to anxiety, insomnia and depression in almost every patient. Depression prolongs pain. Clinical psychologists may be consulted in such situation. They can identify the factors underlying stress. They help in changing ones attitude towards pain, increasing will power to combat pain and installing urge to work despite pain.

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Remaining active is absolutely essential for physical fitness. Rest invites illness. Jobless inactivity increases loneliness and focuses attention towards pain. Exercise is as essential as being active. Body ache is common during initial days of exercise. This pain is a feature of regeneration of muscles all over. Initiate exercise with a short work out and increase slowly over a period of time. Exercise decreases pain and increases endurance. Do whatever you like-walking, cycling, yoga or dance. These help us control our body and increase our capacity to live with pain.

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Music therapy, aroma therapy, Yoga-pranayam, massage, physiotherapy and many other modalities are used for treatment of chronic pain. There is nothing good or bad about them. One can try some of them and select one that helps most for relief of pain. This is like trying various screw drivers for fitting a screw and using whichever is of a correct size.

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We will not be able to deal with pain without understanding it. Hence one should study one’s own pain well and try to control it our self. Thoughts, emotions and behavior affect pain as well as living with pain. One should learn to live with pain by changing all these factors. We should be able to develop a positive attitude towards everything around us. One must be able to understand that a given situation can be viewed by various perspectives. One should also recognize that a single job can be done in different ways. As Helen Keller quotes ‘I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do’. Although pain may be inevitable but we can avoid pain related suffering ourselves. Proper balance of drugs, exercise, work and rest will help one to live with pain.

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One should plan everyday by setting some goal and make efforts to achieve that. Do at least one thing everyday which makes you happy. Try to divert your mind away from pain. A hobby can help you in this respect. Learn stress-relieving techniques. It takes time to adjust with the situation. You may sometimes fail and sometimes benefit from every small change. It is good to listen to other patients facing similar situation. We can learn many things from them.
Try to help them - this will give you a big satisfaction.

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Overwork increases pain in some patients. Distribution of work is important in such situations. Patients with inflammatory arthritis have stiffness in mornings – they should work more in the evenings. Patients with degenerative osteoarthritis can work more in mornings as they have less pain during early hours of the day. One should reduce hours of work or change the job if this approach does not work. One need not get depressed in such a situation.

In the words of Sahir Ludhianwi (Hum Dono)-

Jo mil gaya usi ko mukaddar samajh liya
Jo kho gaya main usko bhulata chala gaya
Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya.....


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One should accept pain and live with it as it may not go away completely. Denying pain, if it is a part of our life, is like denying life itself. Suffering from chronic pain does not mean end of everything. There are many instances other than pain which can make life miserable. One must remember that although many people suffer from pain, almost all of them do live a successful life.