When you live with chronic pain, you already know that there are good days and there are bad days. Sometimes you might be able to pinpoint exactly why today feels worse than yesterday, but at other times it can seem entirely random.
“There are a huge number of lifestyle factors that affect pain,” says Lloyds Pharmacy pharmacist Anshu Bhimbat. “We know that some people will experience more pain when it’s colder, for example, and that if people haven’t slept well, their tolerance of pain is lower.”
She also points out that the time you take your pain relief will affect how you feel at some points of the day, as it’s quite normal to experience more pain when your medication begins to wear off. But as Ms Bhimbat explains, almost every aspect of your day can feed into how you feel.
“If you’ve eaten a heavy meal and feel lethargic, you might find that you feel the negative effects of pain more than if you’d eaten well,” she says. And anything that affects mood can also affect pain levels. “If you’ve exercised or had a massage, or a bath, this can trigger the release of positive hormones, which are the body’s natural painkiller.”
Conversely, if you’re particularly stressed – whether due to work or a family matter – you can also find that this exacerbates your pain. But, says Ms Bhimbat, sometimes just making a small change – for example putting on some music that calms you – can have a really positive impact.
“Lloyds Pharmacy research suggests that 41 per cent of people find that listening to music can help alleviate their pain,” she says. Part of Lloyds Pharmacy’s Pain Management Service includes a consultation with a pharmacist who can help you identify the things that make your pain worse, and, crucially, those factors that could improve it.
Try the Lloyds Pharmacy online pain management assessment