5 Steps to Take After Being Diagnosed With a Chronic Pain Condition
by Kim Thomas
Many medical conditions cause chronic pain and a host of other symptoms. You may have just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or a rarer condition such as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy that causes progressive, widespread nerve pain. Take the following steps to live a fuller life with your diagnosis.
1. Educate Yourself (and Your Loved Ones) About Your Condition
Learning more about your chronic pain condition will help you manage it in the long run. Teaching your family and friends about your condition, as well as what makes the pain better and worse, can also be helpful.
Some people will not understand your pain — or they might even dismiss it because your condition is invisible to them. In these situations, you have two choices: Talk to them and explain how their actions hurt you or move on from the friendship.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
Living with chronic pain can be physically and emotionally draining. There's likely little you could have done to prevent your condition from happening. Practice kindness with yourself as you are going through a difficult time while learning to manage an ongoing diagnosis.
If you find that you can't function in your current space, consider finding a more accessible home. Research the local real estate market or get in touch with a licensed realtor who works with people with disabilities to help you make your next move. Just make sure you’re working with a real estate pro who is experienced and trustworthy. It may help to ask them some questions before you jump in, such as inquiring about their fees and services, sales experience, and how quickly they can find you a home.
3. Access More Health Insurance Benefits
If you have a chronic pain condition, you likely know that you're going to be visiting the doctor on a regular basis. You may choose to use other ways of dealing with your pain, such as using supplements or finding a professional massage therapist, to deal with your pain as well. Many of these benefits are covered by health insurance plans.
If you don't have health insurance, now is the time to consider signing up. Health insurance plans no longer exclude people with preexisting conditions from obtaining quality coverage. If you freelance, look into private health insurance plans or consider joining your partner's plan. You may be able to purchase a marketplace plan, COBRA, or one through the Freelancer's Union.
4. Consider Choosing a Low-Deductible Insurance Plan
A high-deductible health insurance plan might not be in your best interest. A low-deductible plan could save you money over time as your insurance will kick in sooner and share the costs of your doctor's visits and medications. Some employers offset this high deductible by giving you money for a health savings account. Depending on how much the HSA stipend is, a low-deductible plan may still be the better option.
5. Find a Counselor Who Specializes in Chronic Pain Conditions
According to specialists who work with patients with pain conditions, chronic physical pain can take a toll on your mental health. If you're not already seeing a counselor you trust, think about finding one. He or she can help you navigate your feelings about your health and life responsibilities — and these sessions can also help you manage your emotions tied to the losses that come from having a chronic pain condition.
Chronic pain can be difficult to live with, but you don't have to give up on having a happy, productive life if you're dealing with a new diagnosis. Learn all you can about your diagnosis and investigate your health insurance options to make the best choices for yourself now and in the future.
Roy Hunter's Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy offers professional therapeutic services as well as coaching and training for those who want to begin work in this field. Visit the site to learn more.
Image via Pexels
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Article posted: January 17, 2023