In September 2018, individuals who experience chronic pain or who have loved ones who experience chronic pain rallied on the steps of the Capitol building showing their support for a national movement called “Don’t Push Pain.” These individuals say they are not able to get the medication they need because of the opioid epidemic. On the other side of the coin, there are individuals who have greatly benefited from outpatient drug and alcohol rehab because of an addiction that sprung from using addictive medication to treat their chronic pain.

It is estimated that about one in five individuals in the United States is dealing with chronic pain. In some cases, medication is the answer. In other cases, it is not the best option. Here are some tips for managing chronic pain.

Learn Deep Breathing Techniques

Deep breathing is a great way to help your body to relax. This may ease some of the pain that you are experiencing, especially if the chronic pain you suffer from has to do with tight muscles. As you practice deep breathing techniques, you are going to feel that the tightness and tension from your muscles slowly seeps away. You are sending a message to your body that it should relax.

In order to benefit from deep breathing techniques, it is good for a person to find a quiet location where they will be able to relax without distractions and noise around them. Next, they want to get into a comfortable position. Deep breathing involves filling the abdomen with air and then holding it in for a couple of seconds. Then the person breathe out the air, like they are deflating a balloon.

Reduce Stress in Your Life

Having a lot of stress in your life is going to intensify your chronic pain. When you feel stressed out or you experience anxiety, anger, or other negative feelings, your body is going to be more sensitive to pain. If you can find a good way to control your stress, you will likely be able to get some relief from the chronic pain you experience. In some cases, it is advisable for a person to remove something from their life that is causing them lot a lot of stress, like quitting a stressful job or getting out of a bad relationship. Do what you can to reduce your stress to a reasonable degree. Then use aromatherapy, soothing music, candles, or other things to create an environment in your home to feel less stressed.

Get Regular Exercise

When you have chronic pain, exercising can sometimes be challenging. If you cannot engage in vigorous exercise, go for long walks, swim, or find other physical activities that move your body but do not cause you physical pain. The main benefit that you are going to experience is that your brain is going to release natural endorphins that can reduce your pain.

Many individuals have found that getting regular exercise can help them get off pain medication that is addictive. After going through effective drug rehab programs and breaking their addiction, regular exercise and non-medication therapies have helped them to cope with their pain or even eliminate it.

Avoid Alcohol

In order to effectively deal with chronic pain, you need to sleep well. Unfortunately, chronic pain sufferers know that getting a good night’s sleep is not an easy task. Some use alcohol to help them feel calm and fall asleep at night. This is not a good tactic. Drinking alcohol can actually make your sleep problems worse. Cutting back on alcohol or completely avoiding it will help you sleep better and improve your overall quality of life.

Track Your Pain

It is a good idea for individuals who suffer with chronic pain to keep a log or a journal with the purpose of writing down a daily pain score. A person should also note the physical activities they engage in, how well they were able to sleep the night before, the foods they eat, the amount of stress in their life, and other helpful information that can help them to perhaps figure out where their pain is coming from or what they can do to minimize it. This log is helpful when a person visits their doctor. The doctor will be able to use this log to get a good idea of how a person feels between doctor visits.

Medication may be the right answer for some chronic pain sufferers. However, it is not for everyone. These tips can help you minimize your pain without medication.