Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry as well as in an academic laboratory, Dr. Luigi Franciosi had the opportunity to conduct medical research with anesthesiologists who investigated different approaches for treating people with pain. No matter the reasons, chronic pain is life changing and it deprives people of sleep, joy, and energy; negatively impacting their daily activities. Learning to cope with chronic pain can be a full-time job. However, many people are learning how to manage their chronic pain with one or more of Luigi Franciosi’s tips suggested below.
1. Cut Back on Substances
Alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine can all intensify one’s chronic pain. Taking a shot of liquor at bedtime might help someone fall asleep, but the alcohol will ultimately make the pain unbearable later in the night or during the day. Those in pain should consider cutting back on these substances and instead consume more water and healthy foods throughout the day.
Luigi Franciosi stresses that exercise is important, but the exercise needn’t be overly strenuous. Long walks, stairs, or yoga will release neurotransmitters (dopamine and endorphins) in healthy amounts to push good feelings throughout the body. It can also improve sleep at night and energy during the day.
3. Try Biofeedback Techniques
Biofeedback includes a few different disciplines: regulated breathing, heart rate variability, and neurofeedback. It is important to work with a professional in order for the feedback technology to be properly administered. The biofeedback specialist connects a few sensors to different parts of the body, and then shows the patient how their body responds to different breathing techniques and emotional triggers.
Those that master biofeedback techniques are quickly able to control their own stress throughout the day. It also allows them to manage the pain. For some, biofeedback eliminates most of their chronic pain altogether.
4. Incorporate Consistent Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or guided imagery, allow the body to process stress and lower one’s blood pressure. Stress tends to inflame parts of the body, which in turn increases one’s pain. For those whose pain and health issues stem from deep stress, being consistent with mindfulness exercises will in time eliminate the deep stress and allow the body to heal itself.
5. Find Purpose in Work or Everyday Tasks
Luigi Franciosi explains that a lack of purpose along with chronic pain can lead to deep depression. The two can feed each other. Instead, many people suffering from chronic pain have been able to experience joy and purpose by finding meaning in their work (even switching careers, if necessary) or in their hobbies at home to give them something to work towards every day.
6. Look for Ways to Reduce Stress
On top of the methods listed above, someone suffering from chronic pain should look for ways to reduce their stress. Sometimes, reducing stress means minor life adjustments, such as an extra hour of sleep or making time for oneself to read and relax. Other times, reducing stress might mean ending a relationship with a toxic person or changing one’s diet. Any additional methods to reduce stress will ultimately improve an individual’s quality of life.
Luigi Franciosi concludes that managing chronic pain can be a challenge at times but through the tips he provides here, one can figure out what works best for themselves.