Pain, while inconvenient, is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. It can appear suddenly, or build over time, ranging from a slight annoyance to severe and debilitating. For those struggling with chronic pain, it can often seem there is no relief in sight. But, you may be in more control than you think. Read on to discover five easy ways you can manage your chronic pain.
- Stay Active – By now, we all know that exercise provides an abundance of benefits beyond just the physical. For pain management, staying active is key because when you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, or brain chemicals that help improve your mood while also blocking pain signals. Working out also strengthens muscles, helping to prevent injury and further pain, plus it can help keep your weight down, which reduces the risk for heart disease and more.
- Eat Healthy and Drink Up – A well-balanced diet is another crucial element in managing your pain. An easy-to-digest diet free from processed foods can alleviate inflammation and pain, according to studies published the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Incorporating healthy foods like leafy greens, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, asparagus, low-sugar fruits and soy products and staying away from an excessive amount of dairy, chocolate, citrus fruits, wheat products and processed foods can help to achieve this. Dehydration may also aggravate the symptoms of some chronic conditions, like headaches and back pain. Although it may be tempting to load up on coffee or soda, their diuretic effect makes them poor choices for hydration. Water keeps you hydrated without the extra calories, sodium or caffeine.
- Practice Yoga and Meditation – By learning to take control of stress through practices like yoga and meditation, you may find some relief from chronic pain, among other benefits like reducing stress, anger, depression and anxiety. Stress makes muscles tense and causes spasms, and because muscle tension plays a big part in chronic pain, practicing yoga and meditation or just deep breathing helps your body relax, which may ease pain.
- Perfect Your Posture – It doesn’t matter if you’re in front of the TV at home or your computer at work, maintaining correct posture is essential in fighting chronic pain. Many of us find it comfortable to slump into a bad posture with a rounded back, head resting in front of the spine. Resting in this position can impair nerve and blood flow, contributing to pain. Keep your head directly above a tall, straight spine to prevent strain on your back and neck muscles and help to keep your pain in check.
- Talk it Out – Whether you talk with a mental health professional or a peer with chronic pain who understands what you’re going through, talking it out can be a very beneficial tactic in managing your pain. Seeking help allows you to learn to cope with the pain better and help you avoid negative thoughts that make the pain even worse. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
When lifestyle changes aren’t enough for pain management, ProOrtho Eastside orthopedic clinics are here to help. Contact us today to take the first step in fighting chronic pain and getting back to your healthy, pain-free lifestyle!