Chronic pain often leads to significant changes in a person’s daily routine. It is difficult to bend or stand for long periods of time because of the pain. Sleep is difficult and even taking a bath or shower can become a challenge.
Pain medications are often the first form of treatment, but often the side effects make it difficult for the person suffering chronic pain to perform job duties.
Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have found that Occupational therapy, along with acupressure, helps a person become active and involved with purposeful activities. There is a tendency for someone with chronic pain to become inactive and gain weight, which only worsens the situation.
By teaching a person with chronic pain better body mechanics, finding ways to simplify daily activities, and to use assistive devices (like a long handle reacher to put on socks without bending over) are important ways to help with chronic pain.
Relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, imagery and visualization can also help with how a person perceive pain. It gives a chronic pain sufferer control over their pain instead of just being given a pill, which concerns some people who fear drug dependency and addiction with medication.
Complementary therapies also can be used to alleviate side effects from medications. Both Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) treatments have been found effective in the treatment of chronic pain and often allows the strength of the pain medication to be reduced. Alternative medicine, like acupuncture, chiropractic care, and Indian or eastern medicine, is less accepted by the conventional medical community. Physicians are more inclined to use methods that they feel complement what they are doing.