There are many other aspects of health that impact the way we perceive pain. Certain programs are offered to patients that include multiple self-management techniques. For example, one study provided a program to chronic pain patients that addressed a variety of pain-related functions, including goal setting, exercise, stretching, mindfulness, sleep, hygiene and nutrition. These self-management techniques increased patient’s physical and cognitive function. Additionally, according to interviews with patients, the program may help reduce opioid consumption. The results of this study support the need for self-management programs to help chronic pain patients address their condition with more than just medications. The next step is making similar programs more broadly available (4).
Another study noted the impact of physical activity on mental health and perceived disability in patients suffering from low back pain. Patients underwent a general exercise program that combined muscular strength, flexibility, and aerobic fitness exercises. The program not only reduced pain, but also reduced patient’s perceived disability while improving psychological factors. A program that benefits both mental and physical health empowers patients with chronic pain. They realize that pain is a part of their lives, but it doesn’t necessarily have to limit them (5).