The Mental Aspect Of Managing Arthritis Pain
As part of May’s National Arthritis Month, we will be looking at arthritis pain management here on the BROAVA blog.
If you have arthritis, you probably have read and heard a lot about pain management. Hopefully, you also know that a successful arthritis pain management plan means more than taking physical actions—it’s also about taking a positive mental approach. Following, courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation (AF), are some tips on how to use your mind as a key contributor to pain management.
1) Distract yourself. Focusing on pain only makes it more disruptive. Instead, try turning your attention to something unrelated to your pain. Explained the AF:
The more you focus on something outside your body, such as a hobby or other activity, the less you will be aware of physical discomfort. If you can’t avoid thinking about the pain, try to think of it differently. If that doesn’t work, view the pain as a message to change your routine. If sitting too long causes discomfort, stretch your legs for a bit.
2). Practice positive thinking Negative thoughts can solidify a mood. So, learn to think positive. Said the AF:
For example, you may come home from work and think, “I don’t want to exercise today. It’s cloudy outside, there’s no one to walk with, and besides, I’ve already exercised twice this week.” Or perhaps you approach the situation from a different perspective and think, “I don’t feel like exercising today, but I know I’ll feel better afterward and have an easier time falling asleep.”
3) Change unproductive habits. If you’re going through medicine faster than you used to or you find yourself talking more and more about your condition, consider altering these patterns. The AF explains how:
One way to make a change is to do something positive in place of the old habit. Reinforce your behavior change by rewarding yourself each time you do something positive – perhaps by spending some extra time in a soothing whirlpool or taking an additional 10 minutes to read the morning newspaper.
At Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center, we recognize that there’s more to treating a patient than addressing the physical ailment. Our care team focuses on the entire patient experience—and the mental approach to treatment is a major part of this.