Get enough sleep
If you are tired during the day and have trouble sleeping, try to:
- Set a bedtime and a wake-up time—and stay with these times, even on weekends. This helps your body get used to a regular sleep time.
- Get some exercise during the day.
- Avoid taking naps, especially in the evening.
- Avoid drinking or eating caffeine after 3 p.m. This includes coffee, tea, cola drinks, and chocolate.
Deal with problems right away
Treat medical conditions and mental health concerns early, before they get worse and become harder to treat.
Untreated health conditions (such as shingles) or mental health problems (such as depression or anxiety) can make chronic pain harder to treat.
Get regular aerobic exercise—such as swimming, stationary cycling, and walking—to build your strength and health.
Water exercise may be especially helpful in reducing pain that gets worse during weight-bearing activities, such as walking.
Talk to your doctor before you begin an exercise program. Start slowly and increase your efforts bit by bit. If your joints are stiff, try taking a warm bath or shower first to loosen up. Also, do some stretching exercises each day.
Schedule your day so that you are most active when you have the most energy. Learn to move in ways that are less likely to make your pain worse.
Practice healthy habits
- Eat a balanced diet. Good nutrition will help you stay healthy and strong. For more information on good nutrition, see the topic Reference Healthy Eating.
- Stop smoking. Smoking may affect your level of pain and may reduce how well your chronic pain treatment works. For more information, see the topic Reference Quitting Smoking.
- Reduce stress. Try a relaxation therapy such as breathing exercises or meditation. For more information, see the topic Reference Stress Management.
Think about tools that may help
Reference Assistive devices, such as walking canes or doorknob extenders, may help you do your daily activities. These devices can help you to be more mobile and independent.
With Reference self-massage you can help relax your own back muscles using a tennis ball.
Caregivers need care too
If you are a caregiver for a person who has chronic pain, your own stress and worry can also cause you to have symptoms of depression, vague body pains, digestive disorders, or headaches.
Experts say that it is important to take care of yourself, too, and not to feel guilty about it. For more information, see the topic Reference Caregiver Tips.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 19, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation