Managing Flares in Your Chronic Pain
Chronic Pain is pain that persists for more than a few months. Temporary increases or flares in chronic pain are expected. A chronic pain flare is not a new pain – it is more severe occurrence of the already existing pain. This does not mean you have a new injury. It is important to remember that flares are going to happen, and in most instances will resolve on their own. Twin Cities Pain Clinic provides you with tools you may use when your pain flares up.
Rest – take breaks when needed, and get adequate sleep. Avoid activities that are likely to trigger your pain. Reduce your exercise routine slightly, but don’t completely stop it. It is important to keep moving during this time. Mobility is a key part of managing your pain and lack of movement can actually make your pain worse.
Hot Showers or Baths – a hot shower or bath will help dilate the blood vessels, promote blood flow, and help sore and tightened muscles relax.
Ice Packs or Heating Pads – use ice or heat, whichever feels the most comfortable for you. unless this is a band new injury, it is ok to use heat. Some people find it helpful to alternate the two – ice for 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of heat. (Do not ice for more than 20 minutes at a time and do not fall asleep with the heating pad on).
Distraction – watch TV, read a book, play a game or try to go for a walk. Think of an activity that will help to take your mind off of the pain.
Deep Breathing – find a quiet place to rest and breathe in and out slowly and rhythmically for 10-15 minutes.
Yoga – yoga helps our bodies relax, which can help muscle spasms.
Massage – massage therapy relaxes muscle tissue, which reduces painful contractions and spasms.
Please schedule an appointment with your provider if the pain does not start to improve after 1-2 weeks, if you have new symptoms, or if you have a change in the function of your arms or legs.