The invisible battle: managing your chronic pain

(BPT) – When struggling with chronic pain, many often feel their concerns fall on deaf ears. Without physical symptoms, friends, family and sometimes even physicians may fail to empathize with the debilitating effects of the condition. Just because chronic pain lacks physical manifestations, it doesn’t mean the battle is without casualties; sleep loss, decreased productivity and strained relationships are just a few of the things that may result from chronic pain conditions.

There are an estimated 100 million Americans living with chronic pain, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine. Many of those sufferers are dealing with conditions like osteoarthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and diabetic peripheral neuropathy, among others. While each individual experiences pain differently, there are some effective pain management techniques, including prescription medication, which can provide potential options to try before costly surgeries or potentially addictive narcotic pain therapy. Talk to your doctor to find out if these tips can help supplement your chronic pain regimen.

1. Be active – It can be difficult to think about getting out and exercising when you’re struggling with chronic pain, but light exercise can actually help soothe the discomfort from certain conditions. Look for low-impact physical activities like yoga, walking or aquatic exercise to get you started on a manageable exercise routine.

2. Eat healthy foods – Establishing a well-balanced relationship with food can help to maintain a healthy weight, and it can also provide the energy and nutrition needed to maintain an active lifestyle. Certain foods, like cherries, ginger and hot peppers have ingredients that may help to reduce pain.

3. Advanced technology options – New technology is bringing more options to chronic pain sufferers. Quell, a slim, lightweight wearable device that wraps around the calf, provides 100 percent drug-free pain therapy through non-invasive nerve stimulation technology. People with existing, implanted devices that utilize electrical stimulation – such as a pacemaker, defibrillator or implanted neurostimulator – should not use Quell. Visit the Quell site at to learn more and pre-order the device at a discounted rate.

4. Get a good night’s sleep – Two-thirds of people suffering from chronic pain report they don’t get quality sleep at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Creating a good sleep environment is the first step toward improving your sleep – consider experimenting with blackout shades or white noise machines. Devices that track sleep can also be beneficial to help you analyze your sleep activity. Quell is the only device of its kind approved for use during sleep and it includes the capability to monitor your pain therapy and sleep activity via your smartphone.

5. Try acupuncture and massage – Many have experienced pain relief through age-old traditions like acupuncture and massage. Acupuncture is believed to work by increasing endorphins and blood flow throughout the body, helping to reduce pain. Therapeutic massage is another potential pain-relief option for many sufferers of chronic pain, as the masseuse will encourage muscles to loosen, releasing pain and tension as well.

There are many conditions that cause chronic pain and each individual experiences pain differently. As such, there are many medication options available to help treat different kinds of chronic pain. Talk to your doctor to discuss how lifestyle adjustments and non-medication options like Quell can fit into your pain management plan and help you reclaim your life. You can learn more and pre-order Quell at at a discounted rate until mid-April.

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