General Information

Chronic pain and holidays

Suffering with chronic pain is always difficult, but during the holiday season it can be even more so. There are many societal, family, and patient expectations around enjoying the Holidays including:

    • People who are struggling with their chronic pain condition often feel isolated and reluctant to share what is really going on with them.
    • The holidays can trigger some trauma that increases stress and pain symptoms.
    • Living with chronic pain can impact a person psychologically and emotionally.
    • Chronic pain is a medical condition, and it cannot be cured by festivities.
    • Patients are disappointed when they realize that their condition does not take a break, at least for the holidays.

Finding Peace with your Pain

Managing these expectations and practicing a good self-care plan is vital. it is equally important to understand and practice emotional wellness.

The first step to enjoying the holidays may be to embrace the idea of making peace with your pain by using some non-pharmacological methods of treating the physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms of pain.

There are effective treatments for pain, and you can put those treatment plans in place ahead of time before holiday. Medications are not the only option available to treat pain, non-pharmacological interventions could be used in combination with drugs to help ease and coping with pain.

Non-Drug Options for Easing Pain:

Some of the options patients have found helpful include:

    • Acceptance of pain. Stop fighting pain and make it your friend.
    • Environment. Maintaining a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere around the patient goes a long way toward easing pain. Do not be afraid to excuse yourself from stressful gatherings.
    • Some techniques have been found to eases patient’s pain include: Breathing techniques, Guided imagery, Hypnosis, biofeedback, and gentle movement such as tai chi. Relaxation techniques are often very effective.
    • Physical therapy. If a person has been active before and is now confined to bed, even just moving the hands and feet a little bit can help. Try to regular daily physical activity e.g. walking, stepping.
    • Several studies have found that acupuncture can be helpful in relieving pain for people with chronic pain conditions.
    • TENS. Trans-cutaneous Electrical Nerev Stimulation can help reducing pain.
    • Massage. Many people find relief from gentle massage. Several studies have found that massage is effective in relieving pain and other symptoms for people with chronic pain conditions. In some hotels massage service may be available.
    • Gel packs. These are simple packs that can be warmed or chilled and used to ease localized area of pain.
    • Pet therapy. If you have attacks of pain, trying to find something pleasant to do– like petting an animal’s soft fur — to distract and relax yourself can be helpful.

When you implement some of these suggestions, your Holiday Season may not be perfect, but hopefully more enjoyable so you can focus on what is truly important when gathered with family and friends.