If you struggle with chronic pain or anxiety, or know someone who does, you can attest to the impact both pain and anxiety can have on a person’s life. Frequently, pain and anxiety are linked; people who struggle with pain are more likely to experience anxiety and those who struggle with anxiety are more likely to experience pain. However, each person’s experience is unique and therefore the ways that they choose to manage their pain, anxiety, or both, has to be tailored to each person and situation.
Managing Pain and Anxiety
At Humboldt Harvest, we know that the path to wellness is personal and part of our mission is to help you on your journey. We hope this list of tips and techniques will provide you with proactive methods that are effective for you. What works for others may work for you, but you may also find yourself using different techniques in different combinations.
1. Deep breathing and meditation.
Using breathing techniques and meditation can help reduce tension in the body. Learning to take slow breaths – breathing in and releasing the breath slowly – can help relax your muscles and lessen times of pain or anxiety. Learning about meditation can be a tool for long-term wellness. It allows you to center or ground yourself during times of struggle.
While meditation classes are available, at the heart of meditation is repetition. Find a quiet place and body position. Many times this will be a seated position on a mat or in a chair. You can begin by holding a word or “mantra” in your head while you focus on your breath. Having a word or phrase in your head helps you to reduce distracting thoughts from entering your head. Focus on your mantra, breathe in, breathe out, and repeat.
2. Apply heat.
Sometimes pain can be lessened by using a heat pad on various parts of the body. Heat heals by increasing blood flow, bringing additional oxygen and nutrients to an injured area. Similarly, hot baths can also soothe the body and be a great space for breathing, aromatherapy, and relaxation.
Sometimes physical movement may be out of the question, but other times exercise can be a perfect way to help you to tap into natural endorphins and reduce pain or anxiety. Endorphins also block pain receptors, so if you have the ability to exercise you may be able to alleviate some of the pain you are experiencing.
Learning about your body and what is within your limits is part of learning to live with pain or anxiety. Starting small with a walk or a short yoga routine can be a way to start integrating exercise into your life. What’s important is that you do what feels comfortable for you and you listen to the needs of your body before, during, and after exercise.
4. Quit alcohol and cigarettes.
While alcohol or smoking may be a way for people to distract themselves from pain or anxiety, both alcohol and smoking can make both issues worse. When it comes to pain and anxiety, getting the sleep that you need can already be a problem. Drinking alcohol makes sleep less fulfilling and irregular. It can also cause inflammation, further intensifying pain and the associated anxiety. Cutting back on alcohol or removing it from your lifestyle can improve your sleep and quality of life.
Smoking cigarettes may distract you from pain temporarily, but in the long run cigarettes worsen chronic pain. Not only can cigarettes create health conditions which result in chronic pain, but smoking also intensifies pain sensitivity and makes it harder to cope with the pain the body is already feeling. Finding natural ways to manage pain and anxiety will break the uncomfortable cycle caused by drinking and smoking.
5. Meet others living with chronic pain.
While chronic pain can seem alienating, many people are living with pain all around us. It can be hard to put yourself out there to discuss the struggle you are living with, but sometimes it can create community. Meeting with a healthcare professional can expand your knowledge of available resources and can connect you with support groups or other people who can help.
Finding friends or people living near you who manage pain and anxiety can make the journey seem more manageable. Also, you can learn their techniques for coping. Even speaking with our friends about this post allowed us to learn new ways of managing pain and anxiety in our lives. Reach out — you never know who you can help or who will help you.
6. Track your activities and pain level every day.
Learning about your pain and your body will help you find out what feels right. Keeping a journal about your activities and pain can help you to get to know your patterns and can be a resource when visiting your doctor. Writing in a journal can demonstrate how you are learning to cope with your pain and anxiety. Plus, journaling is a great therapeutic tool for decreasing stress and anxiety in your life.
7. Use massage.
Getting a massage can be a wonderful way of caring for and relaxing your body. Some healthcare plans will cover body work, so see what benefits you can receive. Learning self massage techniques can make it easier for you to access the healing benefits. If you are experiencing a migraine or headache, learning to rub or roll your muscles can release the tension being held in your body. Here is a list of pressure points for reducing this kind of pain.
In addition to learning about your muscles and how to self massage, there are a lot of great tools available – foam rollers, massage canes, and massage balls/tennis balls are all great ways of assisting self massage.
Food is medicine. The nutrients we put into our bodies have a direct result on how we behave and feel. Eating a healthy diet is an important way of caring for yourself and can lessen pain and anxiety in your body.
9. Drink a cup of tea.
Drinking a cup of non caffeinated tea is a simple way of reducing stress and anxiety. With your hands wrapped around a mug of steamy tea, breathing in the herbal smells, a cup of tea is aromatic, calming, and hydrating. Discover how tea can reduce anxiety and create a soothing routine in your life.
10. Reduce stress and act on your passion.
In many cases stress intensifies chronic pain. If you are experiencing tension in your life, it can easily increase the anxiety or pain that you are feeling. By exploring ways to reduce stress, you can help yourself manage the physical and mental symptoms. Give yourself permission to do the things that you enjoy. Living a life of passion instead of feeling constrained by stress is another way to break the cycle.
The stigmas around cannabis might prevent someone from trying a tincture, but medicinal cannabis is becoming increasingly popular. Because CBD products offer benefits without making people feel high or “stoned,” more people are exploring their uses. The CBDs and terpenes in our products work as sleep aids and reduce anxiety, pain, and inflammation. Finding a formula and dosage that works for you can assist you on your path to wellness. Seeing the medicinal benefits of CBDs and terpenes is why we at Humboldt Harvest do what we do. Find out more about harvest science.