PAIN MANAGEMENT: TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF

I see a lot of veterans who wonder if they’ll ever be able to get their pain under control. They put off going to medical appointments because they think they’ve lived with the pain so long nothing will really help. If this sounds like you, don’t give up! Good pain management can vastly improve your quality of life.
Pain not only keeps you from doing the things you enjoy, it may also leave you exhausted and unwilling to spend time with your family and friends. It can affect your relationships, your mood and your ability to think straight. And pain can make it hard to eat or sleep, which makes your other symptoms worse.
Pain management means making a plan for keeping your pain under control. One of the key factors involves taking your medications on a regular basis, even when you think your pain is so much better you don’t need to take them. If you stop taking your meds because they worked and you aren’t in pain at the moment, then a pain crisis can develop and it becomes much more difficult to get your pain back under control.
Other ways of handling pain may involve using different medications to see which work best, and adjusting dosages to find the most effective amount. You may want to keep a pain journal. By writing down when you’re in pain and how strong it is helps your care team learn what’s affecting your pain levels.
You can also consider using alternative treatment modalities such as acupuncture, acupressure, massage, or music therapy. While these treatments may not seem like they’d do the trick, the big issue is getting your focus off your pain so it can fade into the background. Whatever it takes, don’t give up!

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