3 Ways to Minimize Chronic Pain
by Jackie Waters
Living with chronic pain can be very frustrating. People dealing with this condition find themselves distressed because they no longer have the ability to move as fluidly as they would like. If you are battling chronic pain and find yourself trying to ward off depression, know that you can still lead a happy and active life with a few adjustments.
Eat a healthy diet
Most chronic pain is linked to inflammation. While inflammation is a process that is needed because it helps the body respond and heal from injury, chronic inflammation leads to long-term pain and discomfort. It happens when an injury does not heal properly. One of the easiest ways to minimize chronic pain and inflammation is through a nutrient-rich diet, consisting of healthy, whole foods as opposed to processed foods.
Increased insulin levels will worsen pain so it’s best to avoid excessive amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners. Leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collards are all great anti-inflammatory foods. You will also want to eat fish -- salmon, mackerel and trout are all good choices. Steer away from vegetable oil and opt for healthy, fatty oils like olive or coconut oil. Also try to avoid junk food and caffeine, because not only are they bad for your physical health, but consumption of these foods irritates your muscles, disrupts your sleep, and compromises your immune system.
Monitor use of prescriptions
For some people, the best way to combat chronic pain is through the use of prescription drugs such as opioids and antidepressants. While these provide relief, if left unchecked, there can be long-term damage associated with taking these medications. One of the main concerns is a dependency on pills, which can lead to a full-blown addiction. Those who have abused substances in the past are more likely to succumb to this, but those who have never had a substance abuse problem are also at risk. If you take prescription medication, always be sure to monitor your usage and have frequent discussions with your provider. If you notice signs of dependence, then it’s important to talk to your doctor about alternative options to help with pain relief. Other options for pain relief include acupuncture, massage therapy, music therapy, or even hypnosis.
When dealing with chronic pain, exercising is probably the last thing on your mind. In fact, you may believe that it will cause you more pain, but as long as you choose your level of activity and form of exercise carefully, it is just the opposite! Exercising frequently strengthens your muscles, which helps prevent more pain and reinjury. Also, as endorphins are released during exercise, your mood will improve and block pain signals, which means your tolerance for pain will increase. Great types of low- to no-impact activity include yoga, tai chi, and swimming. The latter of which is beneficial for just about everyone. That said, be sure to clear any increase in physical activity with your doctor, and be sure not to overdo it.
Your life does not end when chronic pain begins. As long as you make the commitment to be proactive, you can lead a happy and productive life! Use these helpful tips to begin your journey to learning to live with chronic pain.
About the Author:
Jackie Waters is a mother of four boys, and lives on a farm in Oregon. She is passionate about providing a healthy and happy home for her family, and aims to provide advice for others on how to do the same with her site Hyper-Tidy.com.