Where can I get further help? If you feel your pain is getting out of control, make an appointment to see your GP or take a look at the Trust’s website to see what services we offer and contact details. If you cannot get online please contact our Customer Services team on 0800 587 2108 for more details Website – www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk Follow us on Twitter to get updates on what we’re doing: @allofusinmind Like us on Facebook for the latest local health news, info and events: search for allofusinmind
Booklets available in this series: Anger – How do I manage it? Baby Blues – Will we be ok? Bereavement – How can I cope? Confidence – How can I get some? Healthy Living – What should I do? Healthy Sex – How can I be sure? Low Moods – How can I feel better? My body, my health – Check it out! Self Harm – How can I help myself? Shyness – How can I manage it? Sleep – How can I get some? Stress – How do I manage it? The end of life – How can I prepare for it? Worries – How can I best deal with them? Your feedback is welcome We invite you to share any comments, compliments, concerns or complaints you have about the Trust. Please speak to a member of staff or contact our customers services team on 0800 587 2108, who can also provide help in understanding this information, including in other formats. Job no. 5808 > 6107 Dec 2014
Pain What can I do to help myself?
Pain – What can I do to help myself?
Step one: Think about your pain
Pain is something we all deal with at some point in our lives. This booklet aims to help you to start thinking about what kind of pain you are experiencing and how you can manage it.
If you have a lot of pain it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a lot of damage to your body. Pain is caused by signals from both the body and the mind. The amount of pain you feel is influenced by how your mind is working and what is going on around you.
Pains such as headaches or muscle strain are typically treated with painkillers or rest and will usually stop with time. Pain that occurs continuously for more than 3 months is called chronic pain and requires management. Chronic pain can limit what you are able to do, impacting on your day-to-day life.
For instance, imagine you are a professional footballer and you score a goal. Your teammates jump all over you to celebrate, make you fall over and bang your leg. It’s likely that you don’t feel this pain much as you are in happy spirits from scoring a goal.
If you experience pain on a regular basis, it’s important to visit your GP who will help you come up with a plan to manage it. We want you to find this booklet helpful; however it is not intended to be a direct substitute for a consultation with a healthcare professional, such as your GP.
Now imagine you’re the same footballer and you get tackled, fall to the floor and bang your leg. The chances are you will feel this pain as you will be thinking about what impact any damage to your legs will have on your footballing career. It’s not to say the damage will be less or more in each situation, but what you are thinking will determine the amount of pain you feel. Pain can only be explained by the person experiencing it; sometimes there are no physical signs. If you are in pain, especially if you have a particular condition, tell your GP as soon as possible as they can help you to manage it.
© 2014 Southwest Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. All rights reserved.
There’s no way I can go out feeling like this
Step two: Start managing
Soothe the pain
You must know your limits before undertaking any sort of physical activity with pain so please check with your healthcare professional before starting anything new.
Managing pain depends on the type of pain you are experiencing; you may not be able to rid yourself of it straight away as the body takes time to heal. However, there are things that you can do to try and help. This could include a warm bath, shower, heated pads or a hot water bottle. If you have stiff muscles or joints in the morning, try an electric blanket or a mattress pad to warm your body up. A cold pack from the chemist helps to numb pain caused by an impact injury and reduce swelling. You can make your own cold pack by wrapping a damp towel around a bag of ice cubes or frozen vegetables (don’t keep this on for too long as you may get cold burns). React If you get regular pain after doing a recurring task take note of it. Next time try to adapt what you are doing to reduce the pain. Try taking regular breaks, changing position or breaking down the activity into smaller sections.
I don’t want to move
However unless you have been advised to stay in bed you must keep active to try and keep your body moving by exercising and stretching. Toned muscles feel less pain than unused, stiff ones. If you can, try to take a short walk to your favourite place and take in the fresh air and surroundings. Keeping healthy and maintaining a healthy weight will improve your overall health and wellbeing. Being overweight can put added stress on muscles and joints so it’s important to keep yourself in good physical shape. Find out more by reading the ‘Healthy Living – What should I do?’ booklet at www.swyt.co/selfhelpguides
It’s important that you know your body and pain threshold and make new judgements every day about what your body can do. The amount of pain you experience will change so don’t use it to limit your activities. One day you may feel the pain is too much to do the gardening, but that doesn’t mean that you’re never going to be able to do it again.
Write (some more!) and take action
If you start experiencing pain regularly, try to keep notes. There is a page for you to write in at the end of this booklet. This can be for yourself or for notes to speak to someone about. In this diary ask yourself:
If you’re finding that pain is taking over your everyday life and you feel overwhelmed with things that you need to do, it might help you to write a ‘to do’ list.
What makes the pain worse/better? What does the pain stop me doing? Do I avoid things because I am worried I will feel pain? Does the pain affect my sleep? When I’m feeling stressed or upset does this affect my pain? How effective are painkillers and how many am I taking?
Go through this list in order of priority at your own pace. It doesn’t matter if you don’t do everything all in one go; you’ll notice as soon as you’ve ticked off one task you will feel relieved for doing it. Try not to get stressed, and if you have any difficulty, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Support
Notice how your body and mind reacts to treatments, activities and moods. This will help you work through them and to spot patterns.
Look to your friends and family for support. You may want to push those closest to you away when you’re feeling down as you may feel like a ‘burden’ but remember they are here to help you.
By writing things down you might start looking at your thoughts and feelings in more detail than you have done before. It is normal to feel anxious about this and you may find it useful to speak with a healthcare professional about it before you carry on.
They can work with you to make a plan of how you are going to manage the pain you are experiencing. If you need to visit your GP, ask them to go along with you or ask them to join you in an activity that takes your mind off the pain.
It’s taking over my life
Or, why not join a local support group? Not only will this help you socialise but will also introduce you to other people who are going through a similar situation. Visit your local GP practice or go online to www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk and see what groups are in your area. If it seems daunting going on your own, ask someone to go with you!
Step three: Let’s start a conversation
A relaxed body and mind will cope better than one that is tense. Complementary therapies can be used alone or in conjunction with medicines. They’re not prescriptive or invasive and work with the interaction of the mind, body and energy systems. Examples of the types of therapy available are:
If you feel your pain is getting out of control then talk to someone who can help like a GP. They will talk to you and help you to decide how best to help you move forward and if you feel it is appropriate they will come up with a pain management plan with you.
• Acupuncture • Aromatherapy • Hypnotherapy • Visualisation • Reiki • Relaxation Techniques/Mindfulness Please talk to your doctor first to make sure it will not affect any medication or treatment you are currently undertaking. Please note that many of these therapies will cost and you need to check the reputability of the therapist before you undertake any treatment. Sleep well A good night’s sleep helps to keep our body and mind fit and healthy. Try to relax before you climb into bed by having a warm bath, a hot drink or read a chapter of your book. Make sure that any electrical devices that may wake you up are turned off. If you are having problems sleeping read the “Sleep – How do I get some?” booklet by visiting www.swyt.co/selfhelpguides