Here we will go over five strategies for managing daily life with chronic pain.
Chronic pain is characterized as pain lasting longer than three months. Chronic pain can develop for various reasons, such as injury, arthritis, mental health conditions, and disease. Unfortunately, this condition affects an individual in many ways. They may struggle to eat, work, complete daily tasks, or enjoy life. Luckily, some strategies can be used to improve your chronic pain.
Let’s jump right in!
Exercising while suffering from chronic pain may sound counterproductive; however, physical activity is highly beneficial for pain relief and often an integral part of recovery.
When exercising, your body releases endorphins (feel-good hormones) , which provide natural pain-relieving effects. Physical activity also reduces inflammation, which is a major contributor to pain, it improves mood and improves sleep.
Additionally, exercise is important for an individual’s recovery because it increases strength and flexibility, making movements less rigid and more stable. This is the biggest reason physical therapy is prescribed to those with chronic pain.
2) Eat Healthily
A healthy diet does many positive things for the body, many of which improve pain.
A healthy diet has an emphasis on fruits and vegetables and contains lean meats, poultry, fish, whole grains, beans, and nuts. When eating healthily, you want to limit trans fats, preservatives, added sugars, processed meats, and sodium. Portion control is another major component of a healthy diet.
When you follow a diet similar to that mentioned above, inflammation decreases, mood is improved, energy levels are boosted, and sleep quality improves. A healthy diet also promotes healing and weight management or loss. Being overweight can contribute to pain because the extra pounds put stress on your skeletal structure. Back and knee pain are incredibly common in overweight individuals.
3) Build a Support System
Having a support system is an important part of managing chronic pain and maintaining a good quality of life throughout your struggles.
Your support system can include friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, doctors, therapists, or anyone else you are comfortable with and care for.
These individuals will provide empathy and understanding when times are tough. They also boost your motivation and encourage your successful recovery. Most importantly, they are an emotional outlet and people to ask for advice.
Managing chronic pain is difficult, and sometimes you need someone to talk to. Having a support system helps your mood stay elevated, and loneliness away.
4) Use Natural Remedies
Many medications have harsh side effects and cause damage to the body. Staying away from prescription painkillers is typically a good idea. Instead, consider using natural remedies.
Essential oils- Essentials are concentrated plant extracts that retain the plant’s natural scent, flavor, and benefits. Of course, since these oils are concentrated, so are the effects that each plant may provide, meaning that essential oils can be used for the quick relief of many ailments- pain included. For anti-inflammatory effects, try lavender and chamomile. For a natural analgesic, try peppermint or wintergreen.
Cannabis- Cannabis has become one of the most popular natural remedies in America. The plant serves as a remedy for all types of conditions, such as insomnia, anxiety, seizures, PTSD, and chronic pain. Like essential oils, certain types are more effective than others for each condition. When it comes to pain relief, an indica-dominant strain is best. Here, you can find a great strain to start with.
Omega-3 fatty acids- Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids, and they can be found in various health foods such as salmon, walnuts, spinach, and kidney beans. These acids are great at reducing inflammation, improving blood flow, and modulating nervous system function.
5) Keep Stress Levels Low
Your mood and emotions play a major role in how your body feels physically. Negative emotions and stress can manifest itself within the muscles, causing pain. Contrarily, positive moods release hormones that relieve pain.
Every time you are stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode. In fight or flight, you release cortisol, a stress hormone that serves the purpose of keeping you on high alert until safe. Your muscles will tense up, your body will release glucose for extra energy, and your blood pressure will increase.
Having this hormone released sometimes is ok; however, hormones are toxins that should only be released in small doses. When exposed to cortisol for extended periods, all of that muscle tension creates knots throughout the entire body. The increased release of glucose causes weight gain, and the constant exposure to toxins damages muscles and major organs.
You can work on keeping stress levels down by setting boundaries, going to therapy, practicing self-care, eating healthy, and exercising.