How to Cope With Chronic Neuropathic Pain

Chronic nerve pain can have a negative impact on your quality of life. That's why it's important to seek out medical care and maintain communication with your doctor until you find the treatment that is right for you. There are many medications and treatments available to help you get your pain under control. In addition to medical care, there are also life strategies that can help you cope and can help reduce the effects of neuropathic pain on your life.

Chronic neck pain.
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Physical Rehabilitation

The role of physical and occupational therapies in chronic neuropathic pain cannot be overlooked. Studies on the effects of exercise on neuropathic pain suggest that exercise can help reduce pain when used along with other medical interventions.

Studies on neuropathy following chemotherapy drugs have shown that physical rehabilitation can improve functionality and decrease pain for patients who are left with chronic nerve pain following chemotherapy.

Seek Out Peers

Peers can understand your situation, and they can be there to listen to your feelings. Sometimes it's helpful to talk to someone who isn't part of your day-to-day life, such as in a support group setting.

Other people who are going through the same experiences as you can also share their own coping mechanisms with you. A peer may give you an idea that you never considered.

Keep a Pain Journal

A pain journal is a safe place for you to talk about your pain, especially if you aren’t comfortable sharing those feelings with another person. Sometimes venting your frustrations on paper is enough to make you feel a little better.

You can also document details about your pain in your journal, which can help you recognize trends that increase and/or decrease pain sensations.

Practice Relaxation

For some people, the tension that results from excessive stress can intensify pain sensations. Of course, living stress-free is next to impossible. But learning to relax can help decrease some of that day-to-day tension, which is good for your body, and also for your mental well-being. Try listening to some peaceful music, soaking in a warm bath, or taking a nice stroll.

Seek Help If You Feel Depressed

The effects of day-to-day pain can leave people more vulnerable to depression. It’s normal to feel sad from time to time. If you notice increased feelings of sadness, or if you start to feel hopeless, it might be time to seek out a psychiatric consultation. You can talk to your healthcare provider for advice on finding a qualified mental health practitioner.

Maintain Regular Healthcare Provider's Visits

If you’ve had chronic nerve pain for a while, treatments that were working before might not work anymore. This can make you feel frustrated. It’s always a good idea to keep up with your healthcare provider visits in order to keep your treatments current.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Hallquist V. The role of exercise and rehabilitation in the cancer care planJADPRO. 2016;7(3) 339–342. doi:10.6004/jadpro.2016.7.3.20

  3. van Laake-Geelen CCM, Smeets RJEM, Quadflieg SPAB, Kleijnen J, Verbunt JA. The effect of exercise therapy combined with psychological therapy on physical activity and quality of life in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy: a systematic review. Scand J Pain. 2019 Jul 26;19(3):433-439. doi:10.1515/sjpain-2019-0001

By Erica Jacques
Erica Jacques, OT, is a board-certified occupational therapist at a level one trauma center.