Many of us face being sick from the common cold or flu from time to time, and after a couple of days or weeks, the illness runs its course and goes away. Though for the days we are sick it might feel rough, the good thing about common diseases is that they go away eventually, never leaving a trace except for the memories of being sick. However, some of us aren’t so lucky, and have to live with certain chronic medical disorders throughout our lifetime. Though it would be nice to have a chronic medical condition leave us alone, this might not be possible if we have a disease that is prolonged. Some common chronic medical disorders can range from things such as migraines, seasonal allergies, hyperhidrosis, chronic pain, even chronic mental health disorders.
Though being diagnosed as one of the many people suffering from chronic medical disorders can be scary, it’s important to understand that you are not alone. Chronic disorders are rampant throughout the world, throughout the United States, and even now are increasing as our population gets older and more prone to chronic diseases.
In fact, over 65 million Americans are trying to balance the daily demands of work, home, children, social responsibilities, and providing care for someone who is disabled, ill, incapacitated, or aging. It’s no wonder there are so many health issues and chronic medical disorders our population now has to face. But, the good news is that with the proper medical care, medication, therapy, and most importantly lifestyle changes, living with a chronic medical condition doesn’t have to be a death sentence. If you’re wondering how you can make your life easier while struggling with a certain illness, it’s important to talk to your doctor first and foremost about options.
You can also refer to these 15 tips for living and dealing with chronic medical disorders. Don’t lose hope on ever finding relief, or finding a cure, and remember that science and medicine is evolving every single day for the benefit of mankind. It’s up to you to stay strong, healthy, and as optimistic as possible when dealing with chronic medical disorders.
1. Take Prescribed Medication
Though you might be hesitant to take prescribed medication, medication is essential in helping you live with certain chronic medical disorders. For instance, if you’ve been diagnosed with a lifelong condition such as the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, medication can help to keep symptoms at bay while also helping your body fight your disease. Certain medications can also help regulate your mood if you suffer from depression or anxiety. Talk to your doctor about how to best balance your medications, and if you feel you would like to wean off of certain ones, bring this to their attention before doing anything yourself.
2. Visit Your Doctor Regularly
Like taking your medication regularly, it’s equally important to continue to visit your primary care doctor and continue to inform them of any changes to your health. Whether it’s good or bad, doctors are there to help you and give you advice on any challenges you might be facing when dealing with chronic medical disorders. Maintain your appointments in order, re-schedule work or other activities if you have to, and never be scared to bring up any concerns or fears to your doctor. They are the first line of defense when battling any chronic pain, chronic mental disorder, or any other issues you might be dealing with.
3. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
You wouldn’t think visiting a dentist would help with chronic pain or other chronic medical disorders such as headaches or even bad breath. Surprisingly, these issues can all be related to your oral health, and visiting a dentist can help you once and for all fight these issues. Did you know that clenching your jaw and teeth grinding can cause headaches? Or that wisdom teeth can cause chronic pain and you might not even know it? Bad breath can also have causes such as infections and poor oral hygiene. Visiting a dentist is a great way to take care of some much-needed oral health, and should be done regularly at least twice a year.
4. Take a Holistic Approach
If you want to try new holistic approaches to dealing with pain management, this is completely fine and might even help in dealing with chronic medical disorders. For instance, the Department of Veterans affairs now widely uses acupuncture to help treat veterans with severe and chronic back pain. You might find that holistic approaches, such as chiropractic care, homeopathic care, and naturopathy can add balance and give you the extra help you need in your quest to end chronic pain. It’s never too late to try these forms of pain management out, and holistic care can definitely add on to traditional western internal medicine practices.
5. Try New Products
Just like trying out holistic approaches can help in dealing with your chronic medical disorders like pain, so can trying new products you might not have even considered. For instance, aromatherapy products made with essential oils from lavender have been found to calm people down and relax. CBD infused products have been found by some to help ease their anxiety levels, help reduce pain levels, and are gaining more and more popularity as more research is conducted into its effects on the brain. It’s important to talk to your doctor before trying out new products. However, it can’t hurt to add on to your traditional medicine products that you feel are benefiting you and helping you ease your chronic pain.
6. Have a Good Sleeping Schedule
Sleep is so important to have when dealing with chronic medical disorders. For instance, if you suffer from anxiety or depression, a lack of sleep can cause your mental health to worsen and add on more stress. Chronic pain sufferers can also see an increase in their symptoms if they lack sleep, or the lack of sleep might result from the chronic pain one faces. It’s important to have a set sleep schedule to get as much rest as you can, and to let your body rejuvenate and rid itself of cortisol, stress, and tension for the day. Practice some meditation before bed, get rid of electronics, and install blue light filters onto your phone or computer to help ease you into sleep.
7. Practice Bio-Feedback
Bio-Feedback is a new form of therapy that is breaking barriers and shocking scientists and those living with chronic medical disorders. Bio-Feedback involves having someone consciously alter certain physiological functions such as blood pressure, blood flow, heart rate, breathing rate, and even pain levels through doing so. It has been shown to greatly decrease migraines and their intensity and duration, and is simple to begin doing. Talk to your insurance and seek health care services that can help provide you with bio-feedback therapy. This therapy is easy to master, and can make a world of difference if you’re suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, and headaches just to name a few.
8. Practice Art or Other Hobbies
Focusing on pain and our chronic medical disorders can be exhausting, and these diseases can feel as if they’re sucking the fun and joy out of life. It’s important to get some hobbies and seek out distractions in order to lessen your worries and get you back to enjoying life. Art in particular is a great way to distract yourself, while also getting some added mental health benefits. Some of the health benefits of art include lowered stress levels, better cognitive functioning, improving memory and resilience in the older population. If you don’t want to partake in art, other activities such as writing, doing puzzles or word games, even just going out with friends and family are all great ways to distract yourself from chronic pain.
9. Seek Therapy
Living with certain mental health conditions can prove to be difficult, and sometimes debilitating depending on your stress levels and the severity of your mental health condition. During times of stress, loss of a loved one, or certain life events, symptoms from anxiety, and depression can all worsen and make life extremely difficult. Because of this, it’s important to always seek proper mental health service such as regular talk-therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or group therapy sessions to help you during stressful times. In addition, if you have other mental health conditions that require extensive medication and treatment from a psychiatrist, continuing to take medications and meeting with your medical provider regularly can all help you cope and live a good life even with your mental health disorder. Breakthroughs in therapy, and de-stigmatizing mental illness are all helping improve the lives of those struggling with mental health, and knowing this can help you understand you are not alone.
Going to therapy can do wonders for helping you cope with certain mental health conditions. Meditation and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation can all prove extremely beneficial in helping deal with both mental and physical chronic medical conditions as well. Decreasing stress levels through meditation can all help in getting your mental health and chronic pain in order. In addition, forms of meditation such as yoga can help you stay calm, while also helping to relax tension and pain in your body.
11. Remodel for your Lifestyle
If you live with a chronic medical condition such as pain, migraines, etc., it’s important to remodel your home, car, and anything else to help in managing your condition. For instance, investing in ergonomic chairs, memory foam mattresses, and specialized bed frames can all help in reducing chronic pain in your back. Installing a stairlift, ramp, or choosing a home with an elevator can all help in managing diseases that make it difficult to walk up stairs. Little things in life can add up and make a big difference, so keep this in mind when looking at what to remodel and how to renovate your home to help you.
12. Inform your Job about your Condition
Some conditions, such as mental health disorders, pain, and headaches, are invisible to the naked eye and can be difficult to tell others about. Nevertheless, letting your job know about your chronic medical disorders can help when you have to call off for a day or two during flare-ups. Many jobs offer paid sick time, even if it’s just to take a mental health day if stress levels at work are making your condition worse. Let your employer know about any pre-existing conditions, and don’t be afraid that this will discourage employers from hiring or giving you good reviews at work, as it’s illegal for any employer to discriminate or reprimand an employee for a disability!
13. Exercise Regularly
Exercise and pain relief go hand in hand. Exercises such as running, yoga, and simply flexibility exercises can all help in making your body feel strong, getting endorphins that help you feel good flow through your body, and significantly improve your health overall. If you feel you’re not ready to exercise just yet, visiting physical therapists can help you resolve any underlying issues with your pain you might have. A physical therapist is a good first-stop when dealing with any chronic pain issues, such as bad knees, that can prevent you from exercising. Talk to your doctor and your physical therapist in order to know when it’s safe for you to start taking advantage of all the health benefits of exercise.
14. Have a Healthy Diet
Having a healthy diet can go a long way in reducing inflammation, reducing blood pressure, and helping to ease any chronic medical disorders. Disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease, and anemia all have links to your diet, and improving the food you eat helps tremendously to alleviate symptoms of these diseases and help improve your overall mineral levels. A healthy diet is key when dealing with chronic medical disorders. Start buying organic, incorporating more fruits and vegetables, and have fun while cooking!
15. Join a Support Group
At the end of the day, only you know how difficult it can be to deal with chronic pain, or other chronic medical disorders. A support group for living with alcoholism, cancer, addictions, insomnia, or any other chronic illnesses can all help you in finding hope and staying optimistic about your illness. Seek out help, build a good support group, and know that there is hope and a light at the end of the tunnel for you and others suffering from these chronic conditions.