Home Chronic pain How to manage chronic pain in 5 everyday steps

How to manage chronic pain in 5 everyday steps

by Wasifa Ahmad Hasan

Let’s kick pain, in the a** !!

Okay, it’s weird, I know. But this is how we can act when we are facing it E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-Y.

Let’s get to the point. It’s easier to lecture about pain BUT tougher to experience it and the toughest tolerate it. I am not an expert in pain management but based on my studies and daily experiences, I am jotting down some useful facts about chronic pain.


Pain causes mental stress AND stress makes the condition worse. It’s ironic, given the fact that we can’t help but stressing about the pain when it hits us.  

“It is a complex experience which consists of a close relation of physical and psychological factors. When the human body is stressed, it releases certain chemicals which affect the brain’s way of sensing pain. It can have a positive or negative effect on the brain’s functioning depending on the situation. For example, if you are really excited or happy about something, you tend to forget the pain or discomfort for a short period of time. In the same way, if you experience a sudden shock or a panic attack or a major depression, it may trigger intense pain.”

So it seems like a never ending circle, isn’t it?

Well, it can be, if we let ourselves collapse in this system. Pain can be controlled. You can follow various methods to control and cope with it. You just have to find out which one works for you!

Here are some ways to ease the pain;
§  Deep breathing– Yes, we all know this. But have you really tried it when you just feel that mind numbing pain?

§  Meditation/ Yoga– Or anything that helps you relax. Praying, listening music, reading books or watching movies- anything that keeps your mind out of the pain and lifts it up!

§  Walking– Walking or physical exercise causes pain. So the 1st instinct that comes to our mind is- avoid it! But I say there’s no need for avoidance. Just don’t push yourself to do it. Simple strolling down the park helps to feel energized.

§  Talking about it– Talk about the discomfort with people who UNDERSTANDS. Join a club or support group, go for therapy or just talk with a close family member or a good friend. Talk with people who can empathize. We don’t need fake sympathy. We need someone who can support us in “that time”, not burdening us with questions and pointing us what we can or cannot do.

§  Be positive & humorous– Fault finding and blaming won’t help you fix the problems. So just accept it, have a positive outlook and try to find some humor in it!!


Remember those big, colorful and trendy handbags or purse with pretty skinny straps displayed in the shop which make us greedy?

Those also make us sore with pain. Carrying heavy handbag is an absolute NO-NO for a TOS sufferer because it creates more pressure on the already-pressurized-shoulder-area.

So what to do?
  • Carry the absolute necessary stuffs in your bag.
  • Switch sides frequently.
  • Try to avoid bags and carry things in your pockets.

What about those jaw dropping high heels?
  • No matter how tempting it is to wear high heels all the time, these babies can attribute to the pain. So try to release the pressure and wear flats sometimes. Those can be cute too!

And for the ladies………….. The silent culprit….. Bras!
  • We all know how much painful it is to wear strapped bras! We can’t avoid this piece of garment all together.
    So search for the right sized bra with a front-hook closure OR a “vanishing back” which has no seams, hems or stitching & is made out of a soft, stretchy fabric, and under wire that doesn’t poke.


Hot or cold compression on the affected area or hot water bath numbs the intensity of pain. For some people, moist heat can aid in pain management and for some, cold helps to lessen it. It is interesting, however, given the fact that cold temperature makes the TOS pain worse for some.


No, food can’t alleviate the pain… but a healthy diet will help you to have a fit body and strong immune system. Try to choose,

  • ·         Whole grain food
  • ·         Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, e.g. – Salmon, Flax seeds, Sardine, Walnuts.[Click on this link to know more about omega 3 fatty acid]
  • ·         Foods loaded with antioxidant, e.g. – beans, fruits – strawberry, blackberry.
  • ·         Spice with “ayurvedik” properties. (Did you know, Ginger contains a quartet of substances that have analgesic qualities similar to aspirin or ibuprofen. Turmeric — a spice used in Indian and Thai curry dishes — contains curcumin, another ginger-family member, which may also help nip pain in the bud.)
  • ·         Green leafy vegetables.
  • ·         Low fat dairy.
  • ·         And of course, adequate water.

Food pyramid


If you can’t sleep due to pain, talk to your doctor about it. Get enough slumber time, at least for 8 hours. Lack of sleep can aggravate the pain. So maintain a healthy sleep routine and stick to it!

I appreciate you for giving all this time to read this.
 Now go relax and have some fun!
You deserve it!!
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[Image source- internet]

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Wishful Thinker January 25, 2012 - 6:48 pm

Thanks Marianne!
My TOS was caused by bilateral cervical ribs. I had surgery on my right side on 2009 and going for the left side on the 1st week of February..

Marianne Sciucco January 4, 2012 - 1:49 pm

Good advice! Thanks for sharing. Also, thanks for commenting on my TOS blog, http://mytoslife.blogspot.com. I see you are a dental surgeon. How has this affected your TOS? Mine is occupation-related – poor ergonomics on a portable computer workstation. Just curious. I like to compare notes.


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