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knee bone diagram with red colored target depicting joint pain with text "Reducing Chronic Pain"Chronic pain affects the lives of millions of Americans.  For some, it is a daily struggle, and it is normal to feel frustrated and confused by the ups and downs of living with chronic pain.  Here are some tips from the Virginia Gay Hospital therapy staff that may help you better manage chronic pain.

  1. Do your research. Learning about the disease processes that affect your chronic pain can help you better understand what will trigger flare-ups and will also help you collaborate with your primary care provider, physical therapist, or other healthcare professional to determine the most effective pain management treatments for you.
  2. Manage the emotional side effects. Pain can be significantly affected by a person’s perception and attitude towards their pain. Often, individuals with chronic pain also battle with depression and anxiety which can have a tremendous impact on their day to day pain.  Discussing with your healthcare provider mental health resources available to you can help you to manage your pain through breathing and relaxation exercises better, assessing and reducing stressors which can trigger flare-ups, and through other personalized techniques.
  3. Remember, some days will be better than others. It is important on the days you feel the best that you try not to make up for lost time and push yourself too hard.  Try breaking larger tasks into smaller ones with breaks throughout as a useful management option.  For a more individualized solution, discuss activity pacing and modifications with your therapy staff.
  4. Get moving. Gentle exercise, even on days where you’re not feeling great can be an effective way to manage pain. Low impact exercises that your therapist provides you can help keep stiff joints lubricated, muscles strong, improve your mental health, and help maintain your physical capabilities.
  5. Try complementary therapies. These can include massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, dry needling, and diet modifications.  Be sure to discuss these therapies with your healthcare provider before starting a new treatment.

October is National Physical Therapy Month. For more information about therapy services at Virginia Gay Hospital, visit our therapy services web page: myvgh.org/our-services/therapy-services/