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4 Tips for Managing Your Chronic Pain

Aug 25, 2015

1 in 10 Americans Suffer From Chronic to Severe Pain

Suffering from chronic pain? You’re not alone. A recent survey analysis from the US National Institutes of Health showed that approximately one in 10 Americans experience some form of pain regularly, many chronic and severe.* 

But wait, you are snorting, I already know this. So how do you cope with it?

Perry Fine, MD, an anesthesiologist who treats complicated chronic pain at University of Utah’s Pain Management Center says:

“The best approach to chronic pain management is through an interdisciplinary approach, addressing all aspects of the pain experience (physical, emotional, and the like) in an integrated fashion, with a focus on restoring normal life and function to the greatest extent possible."

If you are living with constant and recurring pain, Fine recommends seeing a health care specialist: “Everyone should be mindful about ‘pain health’, in the same way we are about our ‘dental health,’” he says. “Preventive activities and lifestyles to stay as mentally fit as possible reduce the risks of injury and pain and keep ongoing pain problems under control.”

4 Tips for Pain Management

Fine recommends these tips for managing your pain health. He notes that using these methods will also help your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of diabetes:

  1. Exercise actively every day—walking counts!
  2. Make stretching a regular part of your routine.
  3. Use low-impact, low-weight muscle toning and strengthening exercises.
  4. Use mindfulness exercises.

And remember, Fine warns: “The internet can be helpful, but beware claims for things that sound too good to be true—they usually are!”

Do these ideas help you cope? What, if any, relief do you get from your pain or how do you live with it?

Other Stats From the Analysis

 Here’s what the analysis showed:

  • About 23.4 million American adults, or one in 10 adults, experience a lot of pain.
  • Severity of pain could be associated with race, ethnicity, language preference, gender, and age.
  • Women, older individuals, and non-Hispanics were more likely to report any pain.
  • Adults who reported the most severe pain:
    • Had a worse health status,
    • Used more health care services, and
    • Had more disability.
  • But half of those adults with the most severe pain reported themselves as having overall good health.

*NIH Analysis Shows Americans Are in Pain

**Graphic used with the permission of the National Institutes of Health

Jen Brass Jenkins, MPC

Jen is the web content manager on the Interactive Marketing and Web Team. She manages content and projects working with clinical services, departments, and colleges across University of Utah Health Sciences. She also writes and edits many, many things. Find her on Twitter @chrlichaz.