The holiday season is upon us, and while it’s an opportunity to have fun with family and friends, it also can be stressful, exhausting, and a pain in the neck. That’s especially true if you live with a chronic pain condition, because stress and overwork can increase your pain level significantly.
At his practice in Sherman Oaks, California, interventional pain specialist Dr. Edward Carden offers customized pain management services, including a wide range of innovative treatments to reduce or even eliminate your pain.
He knows, though, that pain is a fickle beast, showing up when you least expect it. That’s why he encourages his patients to adopt strategies ahead of time to manage their pain during the holiday season. Here are five strategies you can put to immediate use.
1. Pace yourself
Yes, there’s a lot that needs to be done, from cleaning and cooking to buying presents and contacting family and friends. If you try to do everything at once, though, not only will you tire yourself out, but your pain levels will increase and stay increased until you slow down.
The best thing you can do is to pace yourself, doing no more than one “big” item a day. Don’t worry, it’ll all get done. Make sure to schedule some downtime, too.
2. Share the load
Even if you’re hosting the relatives for the holidays, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Ask the people who are coming to chip in on the work, bringing a dish they made, wrapping presents, or anything else you feel you can’t do yourself.
Stressing out about what needs to be done only exacerbates your pain; sharing the load gives you time to breathe and your pain an opportunity to fade into the background for a while.
3. Take care of yourself
Consuming too much food and alcohol and not getting enough sleep and exercise aren’t only unhealthy behaviors, but they’re also the perfect formula for triggering your pain and adding illness on top of the mix. Take steps to protect yourself and your health by:
- Getting a full night’s sleep
- Staying hydrated
- Not stuffing yourself
- Limiting alcohol or avoiding it altogether
- Exercising regularly
- Washing and sanitizing your hands frequently
These steps not only help manage your pain levels, but they also help keep other health conditions in check.
4. Stick to your routine
Pain management requires a routine that you stick to day in and day out, even during the holidays. This is a time when shopping, relatives, office parties, and the like all strive to keep you off balance, but don’t let them.
Take your medication at the prescribed time, go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, and exercise as much as you normally do. A sense of order can help keep you feeling as good as you can. To avoid trouble, set your alarm for sleep time, exercise time, and medication time.
Talk with your doctor about ensuring you have enough medication to make it through the holidays when pharmacies may have limited hours. Also, schedule any pain management sessions you need to keep your symptoms under control.
5. Enjoy yourself
It’s easy to forget that the holidays are supposed to be fun, so no matter what else is going on, make time to do things you enjoy, even if it means saying no to someone.
And if you still find yourself stressed out, practice some deep breathing to help calm yourself. Your body and your pain will thank you.
Yes, the holidays can be stressful, and you can experience pain flare-ups if you’re not careful. Just remember that not everything has to be done this minute, and if something doesn’t get done at all, that’s fine, too.
To learn more about how you can manage your pain over the holidays, or to discuss any other pain management issues, give Edward Carden MD Inc. a call at 310-842-8668 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Carden, or book online with us today.