Coronavirus Advice for Chronic Pain Patients
Most people infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment, but serious complications of COVID-19 are most likely to develop in elderly people as well as those who have weakened immune systems.
During these uncertain times, it might not be easy to see doctor to receive immediate medical attention. Chronic pain affects 50 million people in the United States alone. Chronic pain causes significant suffering, limitation of daily activities, and reduced quality of life. Chronic pain sufferers can experience increased risks of anxiety and depression and an overall reduction in their quality of life.
Below are some ways to help cope with chronic pain conditions (back, neck, or joints) during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Activity restriction or modifications: You will need to determine what your limitations are. For example, lie down for 10 minutes every two hours, or maybe you find you can go for a 30-minute walk, but you need to allow 30 minutes of rest before and afterward. Perhaps you need a standing desk instead of a seated one to work at your computer comfortably
- Diet and nutrition: A balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy weight and getting important nutrients that support your overall well-being.
- Exercise: As difficult as it can be to get yourself moving when you have chronic pain, it is also extremely important. Any exercise, no matter how minimal, is better than nothing at all — just do the best you can.
- Sleep hygiene: Establish a routine, create a restful environment, and minimize day napping.
Tips to deal with increased anxiety
Many chronic pain sufferers experience an increase in pain levels correlated with higher stress and anxiety levels. During the COVID-19 outbreak, anxiety levels can rise increasing insomnia and pain.
- Practicing meditation: Partaking in relaxation activities with deep breathing exercises can help manage anxiety, improve function and reduce pain.
- Virtual Visits: Our pain management physicians are available for virtual visits to discuss methods like mood-stabilizing that can help reduce both your anxiety and pain levels.
Tips to avoid isolation
- Communicate: Be intentional about calling, video chatting, and other means of interaction with your loved ones.
- Try online learning: Why not learn a second language or new skills you have been wanting to learn in the past?
- Rediscover: Take time to rediscover the things you may have overlooked like your front porch while maintaining social distance.
Creativity as a practice to help cope with chronic pain
When we suffer from chronic pain, we may lose the ability to work or socialize, which can increase the sense of loneliness and helplessness. To counteract those feelings, we need to get creative.
Everyone can nurture their inner creativity. Even if you don’t have an art form you’ve mastered or a craft you’ve practiced for years, it is possible to cultivate creativity (such as cooking or knitting).
Connect with your doctor from the comfort of your home
- Rather than heading into a doctor’s office, you can share symptoms and ask questions via MyOchsner, all while reducing potential exposure to the coronavirus.
- It does not matter if you haven’t seen a pain physician before, you are now able to see our pain physicians as a new patient.
- If you are on some type of medication, you should be able to get your prescription filled or refilled via telemedicine. With the current coronavirus declared as a public health emergency, providers can prescribe certain medications via telemedicine.
For more information about various procedures and resources on mindfulness, nutrition and more, visit us online at Ochsner Pain Management.
We are seeing current and new patients virtually via smartphone and tablet through our MyChart app. To request an appointment, login to your MyChart app or visit my.ochsner.org, and find an available time that works for you. Our staff will call you to confirm the appointment and walk you through the steps to prepare for your virtual visit.
The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.
Sign up for your MyOchsner account here or give us a call at 866-624-7637, to book a virtual visit.