Chronic pain is a ailment that affects millions and millions of Americans. It can severely interfere with its victims quality of life, and it leaves more people disabled than heart disease or cancer. Chronic pain is different from acute pain, which comes on suddenly, and will disappear once the problem (such as infection or injury) is treated. Chronic pain, however, persist indefinitely. This is why it can be so difficult to manage.
However, there are specific techniques you can practice, and lifestyle changes you can make, that have been proven to help with chronic pain. At its heart, pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you can reassure your body that “all is well” so to speak, your pain will become more manageable, and may eventually disappear.
Change your diet
One thing you can do is to change your diet. Some foods are more inflammatory than others, so sticking to a healthy diet is especially important if you suffer from chronic pain. Try to avoid too much red meat, coffee, heavily processed foods, and foods that are high in sodium. Instead, opt for lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
In addition, dehydration can actually exacerbate chronic pain. Make sure you are getting enough fluids each day, particularly if you are bothered by headaches or back pain.
Embrace relaxation and meditation
Stress and chronic pain are tightly interrelated. In fact, prolonged negative feelings—particularly depression, anxiety, and general stress—can make the body more sensitive to pain. Regular meditation can help your mind slow down and metaphorically breathe. Listen to calming music, explore nature, or start a more formal practice with a meditation app.
You might also consider getting a massage, which can do wonders for chronic pain and relaxation, especially in the neck and shoulder areas.
Release endorphins through exercise
It might seem counter-intuitive to exercise while experiencing chronic pain. And indeed, exercise can make symptoms worse if done too intensively. However, light and moderate exercise can release endorphins that block pain signals while not putting too much strain on the body. Try a calming yoga flow, or a brisk walk to start.
These are just a few of many methods that can help you manage your chronic pain. When you come visit our clinic, we will talk with you about your condition, and then come up with a plan to get you feeling great again. Make your appointment today.