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Stress Management for Chronic PainAccording to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) chronic pain persists as pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. Chronic pain can result from a single initial cause such as a sprained back or a serious infection, or it can result from an ongoing condition such as arthritis or cancer. Tennessee residents who experience chronic pain may be helped by learning stress management techniques.

Common Characteristics among Tennessee Residents with Chronic Pain

Many chronic pain conditions affect older adults who present with complaints including the following:

  • Headache
  • Low back pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Arthritis pain
  • Neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself)
  • Psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system)

A person may have two or more co-existing chronic pain conditions. Conditions that often present with chronic pain include the following:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)

It is not known whether these disorders share a common cause.

About Stress and Pain

It is not surprising that with chronic pain, a person feels stress. There is the physical stress on the body in its effort to deal with the pain. In addiction, there is the stress of having to get through the day while enduring pain. Finally, there is the stress of not knowing when this pain will cease, if it will cease at all, or what options are available find relief from the pain. Fortunately, there are healthy stress management techniques Tennessee residents can learn to deal with chronic pain.

Characteristics of Stress

According to the American Psychological Association, stress has affects on your body, mind, and behaviors, including the following:

  • Body – Headache, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, upset stomach, and sleep problems
  • Mood – Anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, irritability, lack of focus, anger, sadness, or depression
  • Behaviors – Overeating, under-eating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal

Tennessee residents dealing with the stress of chronic pain may be tempted to use drugs or alcohol to cope. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), about 17% of Americans age 60 and older misuse prescription drugs, alcohol, or both.

Common Treatments for Chronic Pain

According to NIH, medications, acupuncture, local electrical stimulation, and brain stimulation, as well as surgery, are some treatments for chronic pain. Psychotherapy, relaxation and medication therapies, biofeedback, and behavior modification may also be employed to treat chronic pain.

Common Treatments for Stress

According to the Mayo Clinic, taking steps to manage stress can have numerous health benefits for patients with chronic pain or stress. Tennessee residents should explore stress management strategies such as the following:

  • Physical activity
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi

The goal is to find a combination of mental and physical activities that can help alleviate both your pain and the stress associated with it.

Get Help for Stress Management and Chronic Pain

Many people of all ages suffer with chronic pain and the stress associated with it. Unfortunately, many turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain and alter their feelings of stress. If your or a loved one in Tennessee would like to learn how to manage stress and chronic pain in healthy ways, please call our toll-free number today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about stress management and chronic pain.