If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a condition that causes chronic pain, you are likely feeling a surplus of emotions. Grief, guilt, depression, anger, and shock are all very common, but so is relief. For many people, including physicians receiving a diagnosis for something that has been causing them problems for a while is the best news they can receive because now they can create a plan to cope with it. And creating a plan of action is the best thing you can do.
Coping with the Emotions of Your Diagnosis
The first thing to do after receiving a diagnosis of a condition that causes chronic pain is to find someone to talk to. Family members and friends are great, but unless they’ve gone through similar situations, they may not completely understand your feelings. Enlist the help of a good counselor, psychologist or support group. Talking through your experience with other people in your situation is one of the best ways to process emotions and fears.
The next thing to do is find a physician you trust (not yourself) and give them the responsibility of your care. This partnership will allow you to get the proper treatment, but also allow you to open up and share your worries. As a bonus, since both of you are physicians, you might get new insights and perspectives on your particular diagnosis.
Techniques for Chronic Pain Management In and Outside Your Home
It is critical for you as a physician to understand that your life is not over. There are many ways to cope with chronic pain that involve completely safe and natural techniques.
1. Ask for Help Around the House
Sometimes, your body will want a break from certain daily to-dos. Reach out to family and friends when you need assistance with anything, such as running errands or walking the dog. You can also hire a professional to take care of certain home projects like landscaping or lawn mowing. There are many cleaning services available as well; prices range from $93 to $176 in Fort Lauderdale.
Use relaxation methods any time you start to feel anxiety or pain. Anxiety can often cause your muscles to tense up, increasing pain levels. Choosing to stay calm and in control can help alleviate pain or prevent it from flaring up. Some effective relaxation techniques are deep breathing, visualization, and meditation. Choose the ones that work for you and consistently use them.
Exercise is one of the most helpful things you can do for your body. It helps to strengthen muscles, build bones, and reduce inflammation that causes pain. It also tells your brain to release those feel-good hormones called endorphins that help not only with pain, but also depression and anxiety. Just remember to consult your physician before beginning any new exercise regime and start out slowly. If you’ve been sedentary for very long, low-impact cardio exercises like walking are probably the best place to start. You can build from there with simple body-weight exercises like squats or push-ups. Just keep your form in mind to avoid injury. Once you’ve gotten into a routine, you can continue to vary your exercises by joining a fitness facility.
Studies show that lack of sleep and chronic pain are directly related. Pain is often also the culprit of a lack of sleep, so it can create a vicious cycle. Find natural sleep remedies such as hot tea (chamomile tea can be purchased for $2.37 online) and relaxation exercises to help you drift off. Getting plenty of sleep ensures that your body is always working at its fullest capacity.
Depending on your situation, your physician might decide to put you on prescription medication for pain. As a physician, you know the high risks of opioid addiction, so further discuss this with the physician in charge of your care to consider supplementing your prescription medication with natural pain management methods.
6. Take Control at Work
Just because you are a physician suffering with chronic illness doesn’t mean you can’t take control at work. Don’t allow the “risk of depression” to take over. Instead, have positive energy and inform your colleagues at work of your illness and any special needs (i.e. wheelchair, robotics etc.) you have so they can accommodate you. Depending on your diagnosis, you might need to modify your work hours/workload and you might need to take regular breaks while on schedule. Lastly, develop a plan in case you have a medical appointment or emergency and need to go to the hospital for care – your plan should include who will cover your duties, patients and other tasks you’re responsible for.
Getting a diagnosis of a condition that causes chronic pain can be scary, but you need to know you are not alone. Support groups and forums are all around if you just take the time to look. Find someone to talk to with your particular condition and remind yourself that as a physician you can still continue to lead an active and productive life.
Learn more about our guest contributor by visiting http://juliemorris.org
Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self-get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.
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