Dr. Subrata Chakravarty’s 4 Techniques to Mitigate Chronic Pain
If Eastern wisdom has taught us anything it’s that pain is inevitable while suffering is optional. This applies to chronic pain as much as it does to other aspects of our life. Pain is a necessary part of our physiological makeup that is meant to trigger the defense mechanisms and spur our body into action. While we may have no control over pain itself, we can learn to manage how we react to it and minimize its impact on our daily lives.
One person who knows about pain and whose very professional career is to alleviate it is Dr. Subrata Chakravarty, an expert Anesthesiologist. Dr. Chakravarty believes that accepting chronic pain is the first step towards managing it. “It’s the emotional struggle,” he says, “associated with pain that makes it much worse than it really is.” Besides accepting it, the following techniques help you manage chronic pain and keep it under control.
While physical chronic pain is itself hard to handle, other factors such as anxiety, stress, and tension make it almost unbearable. “Pain leads to,” says Subrata Chakravarty, “anxiety and tension which themselves increase your awareness of the pain. They both feed off each other in an endless cycle.” One of the best methods to break this cycle is to practice relaxation.
Relaxation exercises are easy and convenient. You can practice them in the car, at home, or in the office. There are various techniques to help you calm your mind and relax your body. They can be as simple as diaphragmatic breathing, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness, or you could try complex techniques like yoga, qi gong, and tai chi.
One of the problems with chronic pain is that it gets in the way of your daily activities. In the days when the pain is unbearable, you stop all activities and when it eases off, you overdo it. However, the downside here, as Dr. Subrata Chakravarty puts it, is that this might increase the pain in the following days. “You should learn to pace yourself,” he says. “Large tasks that need extra effort are better managed when broken into smaller tasks.” Pacing yourself and taking it slow and steady can go along way into achieving a lot without causing unnecessary suffering.
Setting Achievable Goals
Since pain interferes with your daily routine, you tend to feel you’ve lost control over your life. To regain that control, you need to set small goals and work toward achieving them. Dr. Chakravarty recommends setting measurable and realistic goals. Instead of vowing to spend more time exercising, set yourself a goal of exercising 20 minutes a day, five days a week. These simple goals will keep you motivated and engaged. With each milestone you reach, you’ll feel you’re rebuilding your life back and getting a sense of normalcy and productivity once again.
Regular pain caused by an injury would require you to rest and not use that injured part until it heals. But with chronic pain, rest means the muscles and joints become stiff with disuse. This in itself can cause them to hurt more. Start with gentle exercises as you build your stamina and pain tolerance. Your goal is not to overreach or test your limits; rather it’s to keep your muscles toned and your joints lubricated.
Your physical therapist will help you find the best workout routine that suits your age and fitness level. From walking and swimming to yoga and strength training, there are many options to keep your body fit, prevent weight gain, and keep your chronic pain manageable.