How to Create a Serene Home to Help with Chronic Pain
By Kim Thomas
If you have a newly-diagnosed condition that causes chronic pain, you likely have several questions. You may be wondering how you can live with the diagnosis and pain.
You may be worried about safely managing your symptoms. And, you may be wondering if there are things you can do at home to make life less painful and easier to manage. The good news is that, with the help of your doctors and some proactive steps at home, you can manage your symptoms and help your chronic pain significantly. Our guide will show you how.
Create a Relaxing Space
While you cannot eliminate your pain by following a mind over matter mantra, you certainly can minimize it with some relaxation techniques. A first step toward reducing pain is seeing a psychologist; these experts will help you handle your pain-related thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a healthy way that helps you manage your pain more successfully. Psychologists frequently encourage chronic pain patients to practice relaxation and alleviate stress and anxiety that causes or results from pain.
Psychologists also will tell you that the more stress you have, the more tension and pain you feel. That’s why many people with chronic pain create a relaxing space in their homes. This relaxing space should be free of clutter, because Princeton researchers found that clutter contributes to stress. Taking some time to sort items you want to keep and those you want to sell or donate will be well worth it when you realize that your organized home is more relaxing. Be sure to have designated spaces for the items you choose to keep, rather than shoving them under the bed or in closets.
One other way to create a relaxing home is to incorporate natural elements into your décor. Replace cold, metal objects such as lamps and bookcases with wooden items in natural, warm colors. Place a tabletop fountain or fish tank in your relaxation space so you can hear the soothing sounds of water. Place a small wind chime near an air vent or fan.
And, be sure to have houseplants in as many rooms as possible. Not only do some plants clean the air and add oxygen to it, but houseplants also reduce stress levels and aid in healing; one study found that surgical patients with plants in their rooms had lower blood pressure and fewer symptoms of pain, anxiety, and fatigue.
Once you have created a more relaxing space at home, you will be able to practice relaxation techniques such as meditation. Studies show that meditation helps people reduce pain; in fact, one study showed an approximately 40% reduction in pain intensity during meditation. It works by reducing stress and activating and reinforcing certain areas of the brain used to process pain, and it can even be effective for people who are new to meditation. Overall, meditation helps people react differently to their pain; they control their emotional reaction to it and subsequently experience lower levels of pain.
To practice meditation at home, enter your relaxing space. Ensure that it is quiet and that you will not be disturbed for at least 15 minutes. Sit and relax with your hands on your lap. Sit cross-legged on the floor or sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Be careful not to slouch. If you have chronic back pain, you can try alternative meditation positions such as an inverted sitting position with your back on the floor, your head on a pillow, and your legs up on a chair.
Another position that works for people with chronic back pain is the corpse pose: lay on your back, rest your hands beside you with the palms facing up, space your feet shoulder-width apart, and place a pillow under your neck and knees.
Create a relaxing space at home that is conducive to meditation helps with managing pain. Free your home of clutter, decorate with natural elements, and place houseplants throughout your home to create a serene environment that reduces stress and helps with pain.
Image via Pixabay by Wokandapix