There’s a seemingly endless list of conditions that cause chronic pain. These include injuries, autoimmune diseases, neuropathy, reproductive disorders, mental illnesses, and more. Sometimes, the pain itself is the illness. If you’ve just been diagnosed with a chronic pain disorder, you’re likely reeling from the news. The pain you’re experiencing feels intolerable, and it might be here to stay.
It’s not easy to accept that this is your new normal. When pain is already affecting your work, relationships, and mental health, the last thing you want to hear is that there’s no easy fix. However, living with chronic pain doesn’t have to mean taking it without a fight. There’s a lot you can do to manage chronic pain, and focusing on those solutions is the best way to move forward following your diagnosis.
Start by assessing pain triggers at home, like these common problem areas:
- Seating: If hard chairs trigger your back pain, add orthopedic seat cushions for comfort and support. Upgrade your workspace with an adjustable-height sit-stand desk and ergonomic office chair.
- Mattress: Poor sleep quality worsens chronic pain over time, reports Reuters. Unfortunately, pain also makes it harder to get a good night’s rest. Invest in a more comfortable mattress to fight pain-related insomnia.
- Hard-to-Reach Items: Stooping or reaching to access everyday items could be making your pain worse bit by bit. Reorganize to improve accessibility, making use of tools like lazy susans, roll-out cabinet drawers, and shelf risers that make items easy to reach.
- Clutter: Clutter over-stimulates the mind and serves as a visual reminder of everything there is to be done. This is more than an annoyance; since stress triggers pain, clutter impacts your overall quality of life. Take steps to create a tranquil home that eases your mind and your pain.
- House Cleaning: Keeping the house clean impacts pain in two ways. First, the very act of cleaning is challenging when you’re hurting. Second, strong fragrances like those in household cleaners trigger pain in some sufferers. Schedule chores in small bursts, opt for fragrance-free cleaners, and consider hiring housekeeping services to reduce your burden.
Rethinking your home environment doesn’t stop with organization and furnishings. Chronic pain takes an enormous toll on your energy and mental health, and it’s important that your house promotes total wellness.
Create a private space in your home that you can escape to when you feel the spiral of stress and pain taking over. What you do in this space is up to you, but the focus should be on relaxing and centering yourself. Some pain sufferers find that breathing exercises take their focus away from the pain, while others prefer visualization exercises or progressive muscle relaxation. You can hear directly from others living with chronic pain regarding what works for them at healthtalk.org.
A private space accounts for the fact that we can’t always control what happens in the rest of our house. Partners, children, and pets create messes and distractions that make full relaxation harder to achieve. In solitude, all your mental energy can be committed to overcoming pain. Your indoor oasis should be clean and serene, with soothing colors, air-cleaning plants, and relaxing sounds and scents. Set rules about who’s allowed in and out and make sure your family understands the importance of uninterrupted time.
A chronic pain diagnosis certainly isn’t good news, but it’s not a death sentence either. You can live a full, happy life in spite of your chronic pain when you make personal wellness a priority. Take these steps to eliminate triggers and turn your home into a sanctuary, not yet another source of pain.
Managing your chronic pain goes far beyond the home though. Book an appointment at Aquarius Wellness for a massage, acupuncture, or facial for both pain and stress relief customized to meet your needs.
Jackie Waters is an independent blogger focused on simplicity, sustainability, and tidiness. She lives on a three-acre hobby farm in Oregon with her four energetic boys. You can learn more about Jackie by visiting her website HyperTidy, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.