With Recovery Comes Pain

Dealing with a chronic or acute injury, illness, or condition is no laughing matter. Whatever the prognosis, the patient will likely experience some degree of pain. The pain can come from the steps in the procedure, tissue damage, or severe inflammation. During recovery, pain management becomes a top priority, so the patient can be comfortable and heal. Sometimes, taking pain medication, including potent opioids, is not enough or too dangerous. Adding 1 or more of these 4 pain management techniques can help with recovery.

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1. Physical and occupational therapy

Almost any injury or condition can benefit from therapy. Physical therapy (PT) is a series of stretches and exercises that strengthen the muscles surrounding the damaged area. The goal is to target deep tissues, muscles, and tendons while creating a platform to reduce pain. Occupational therapy (OT) teaches the patient to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) while minimizing pain. These tasks include dressing, grooming, toileting, and eating. Starting PT and OT early in the recovery process can make a difference.

2. The mind-body connection

Going through illness or injury places a psychological toll on the patient. The added stress can intensify the pain or lengthen the recovery time. The brain plays a crucial role in perceiving pain and can even produce pain-relieving chemicals. Meditation is an excellent way to train the body and mind to manage pain effectively. The practice involves focusing on the breath and being mindful of thoughts and feelings that come and go. Studies show that meditation can significantly reduce pain and even bypass the need for opioids.

3. Try acupuncture

The traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture still helps millions today. Acupuncture involves inserting tiny needles in strategic parts of the body. These points activate and release the body’s natural energy flow, which can help treat different conditions. A trained practitioner will insert the needles based on the patient’s ailment. Research has shown that acupuncture helps people with chronic pain such as osteoarthritis, back pain, postoperative pain, and several other chronic conditions.

4. Invest in massage

Incorporating different forms of manipulation of tissue and muscles, massage can provide pain relief and relaxation. A therapist will use a device, hands, fingers, or forearms to target soft tissue, which can provide a host of benefits. Massage frees up tight muscles, improves range of motion (ROM), and helps nerve function. Patients also release endorphins, which act as the body’s natural painkiller. Frequent massage sessions can help during recovery, making physical therapy and other techniques easier.

Enjoy a speedy recovery

An injury, surgical procedure, or illness can cause chronic pain, impacting the quality of life. The goal is to recover as quickly as possible while minimizing pain and discomfort. Patients who are unsure how to reduce pain should see a pain management specialist. This expert can create a holistic treatment plan, often incorporating these 4 techniques, to help people return to a pain-free life.

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