In 2011, more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain at a cost of around $600 billion a year in medical treatments and lost productivity, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
Phillip Pizzo, MD, of Stanford University School of Medicine and chair of an IOM committee commissioned by Congress said that “for many patients chronic pain becomes a disease in its own right. We need to address this in a more comprehensive and interdisciplinary way and include prevention as a very important goal.”
WebMD has a 15-question Pain Quiz that takes only a few minutes to complete. Click here!
My score: 13/15.
Here are 10 daily habits that can reduce chronic pain:
- Deep breathing, biofeedback, meditation
- Avoid alcohol
- Quit smoking
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Keep a pain journal (info for your doctor)
- Schedule relaxation; set limits
- Keep busy with activities that take your mind off pain
- Know your meds; educate yourself about other treatment options
- Reach out: Tell friends & family; ask for help
Two things that aren’t on the above list are buried in the correct answer to one of the questions in the Pain Quiz:
- Positive thinking: People who expect less pain may feel less pain.
- Intense feelings of love can provide pain relief similar to the effects of painkillers, according to a Stanford study.
The latter — intense feelings of love — may explain my best friend, FOTM’s Joan’s management of her constant excruciating pain, from osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. In addition to medication, she offers her pain as redemptive suffering to Christ.