Dealing with Chronic Pain


Sometimes after you've seen many doctors and specialists and had all the tests you have the unfortunate realization that your pain is chronic.  For many, this is an difficult reality thanks to conditions that cannot be easily cured or treated, such as degenerative disc diseasespinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis.  This type of pain often follows a pattern of low level of pain or discomfort with intermittent flare-ups of more intense pain.  Living with pain day-in and day-out is exhausting and frustrating. But you can do a lot personally to help keep the severity of pain—and the effect it has on you—in check. Learning all you can about pain management and maintaining good overall health are great places to begin.

Follow these steps to help manage your pain:

  • Utilize the following common pain management techniques :

    • Ice packs
    • Heating pads
    • Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications
    • Epidural steroid injections
  • Stay healthy overall

    • Good overall health—and the health of the muscles, ligaments and tendons that support your spine—will go a long way to minimizing painful flare-ups. Exercise, sleep, and physical fitness are critical, including stretching and building strength in the core trunk muscles that help support the spine. 
    • Participating in aerobic exercise increases blood flow which is essential to bringing important nutrients to the discs in the low back, as well as helping you lose extra weight that can take a toll on your back. Exercise, eating well, and avoiding smoking or excessive alcohol all help you decrease your risk for other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
    • There are no guarantees that pain won't continue to affect your life—even when you do everything right. But for many, these lifestyle changes can go a long way toward keeping pain in check.