Pain is the body’s signal to tell us that something is wrong and that we need to stop and pay attention. It’s like that guy at a drag race waving the checkered flag as cars speed by. Pain is our brain’s flag, telling us that maybe we should get something checked out. It could be something as simple as a toothache or bigger injuries like a broken jaw. Plainly put, pain can suck, but what’s good about it is that it goes away after a short amount of time.
But sometimes, dental pain takes longer to fade out. Alarmingly long, sometimes reaching up to three months’ worth of waiting around a dull ache that feels constant. That is what you call chronic pain. Chronic pain happens for many reasons, and it could be a telltale sign that something in your body has been wrong for a long time now. Here are five easy ways to control your dental pain.
1. Clear your mind of negative thoughts
Some types of pain are brought on by too much stress. A good way to ease this is by teaching your body to relax. Deep breathing exercises help take the focus off the pain so that your body feels it less. All you need to do is sit, take deep breaths, and clear your mind. As much as possible, keep your focus off the pain you are feeling.
You can also download phone applications that offer guided meditation. Some apps include mood trackers. Others offer calming images and animations you can focus on as you get your breathing under control. Do this at least once a day, and you’ll see how much it helps when the pain flares up.
2. Go to your primary care provider
Dental guidance and physical therapy can help you gain some mobility back after the pain becomes debilitating. Their job is to help you build strength and endurance, so when the pain rolls in, your body can roll with the punches. It’s not only for people coming out of dental surgery or from sustaining a heavy injury, so if you’re looking to improve movement under pain, immediate medical attention is your best bet.
You can also seek an occupational therapist if you’re looking to improve the quality of your daily life. They can help you make adjustments to your everyday activities to make it easier to manage life with dental pain. Some people feel the need to consult with both a dentist and an occupational therapist, so feel free to do so, too.
3. Alternate heat and cold
You often see athletes and performers do ice soaks and sauna sessions, but a normal person with chronic pain will be well enough off with temperature packs. You can buy these at health and wellness stores, and these are usually dual-purpose.
If you need a hot compress, you can pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and put it on the affected area, Need it cold? Keep it in your refrigerator. It’s a quick fix that will help you in case you can’t see a doctor immediately.
4. Move your body
Regular physical activity can help your muscles with endurance, which you need to hone if you live with chronic pain. A better endurance reduces how painful your symptoms can get. It can also give you a boost of endorphins, a happy chemical that helps block pain. Symptoms of chronic pain can ease up with the help of a healthy fitness habit.
But don’t just jump into an intense workout willy-nilly. Consult a doctor and a fitness specialist and ask for their opinion on a regimen for someone who had chronic pain. 50 jumping-jacks won’t mean a lot to someone who is physically fit, but if you have chronic pain in your legs, those jumping-jacks will make you feel worse.
5. Talk to someone
Chronic dental pain is a heavy thing to live with, and it can cause someone to be anxious and depressed. You can join support groups to talk to people who also know what it’s like to live in pain constantly — no more having to explain it over and over again because they understand it already. Having a support system can squash loneliness and help you realize that you aren’t alone.
Talking to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist can help, too. Sometimes, pain is psychosomatic, and talking to trained professionals can help you make sense of the inner turmoil you might face.
A final word
Seeking long-term treatment for chronic dental pain is also a good option, but if you don’t have the time or money for it yet, these five tips are known to help you get through it better. If things get too severe for you, consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible.