Living with Chronic Pain can be Difficult – These Tips May Help!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 5 people are living with chronic pain.
If you experience pain or discomfort on a regular basis, we encourage you to consult with a physical therapist who can work with you to address the symptoms and causes of your pain. By doing this, you will be able to achieve pain relief in the long-term and improve your overall physical function.
Are you looking for natural ways to manage your pain? Below are five of our top tips for safe pain management, all supported by research and relatively easy to implement. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us!
1. You may need to improve your posture.
Do you constantly slouch in your chair or hunch over your phone? Are you using proper body mechanics when picking up objects—whether it’s a heavy box, a pencil on the ground, or even your child or grandchild?
There are so many ways we move our bodies every day that may not necessarily seem problematic. But if we repeatedly put our bodies under certain types of strain, over time we can begin to experience tissue damage and chronic pain.
Consult with a physical therapist who can evaluate your posture, movement mechanics, and ergonomics. He or she can help you identify patterns and habits which you may not even be aware of but are still exacerbating your pain.
2. Certain foods can help ease inflammation.
Yes, food really is thy medicine! Research suggests that avoiding highly processed foods and consuming a lot of veggies, fruits, whole grains, high quality protein, and healthy fats can help decrease pain.
One reason is that eating a lot of nutrient-dense foods ensures our tissues get the raw materials they need to heal and repair. Plus, when we minimize or eliminate foods in our diet that tend to promote inflammation, including alcohol and sugar, then pain our pain levels can naturally go down.
3. Get your body moving.
Exercise can alleviate pain by increasing blood flow, stimulating the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that provide natural pain relief, and increasing joint strength and stability. So get active—around 30 minutes of exercise on most or all days of the week.
It’s helpful to talk to a physical therapist if you have chronic pain before starting an exercise program. Your physical therapist can provide services that naturally alleviate your pain and maximize your function so exercise is easier and safer for you to do.
4. Restful sleep is incredibly important.
Sleep is essential for optimizing your body’s healing and regeneration process. It’s also an important way for managing stress. For these reasons, getting enough sleep can actually help you experience less pain.
Does pain make it tough to fall asleep or stay asleep? Try these sleep hygiene tips to make it easier:
- Sleep in a pitch black room with the bedroom temperature set to 65 to 68 degrees.
- Dim the lights and power down your electronics for at least an hour before bedtime.
- Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning (weekends and holidays included).
5. Breathing exercises can go a long way.
Deep breathing is good for your body because it helps you get plenty of healing oxygen into your tissues.
But taking deep breaths also stimulates the part of the nervous system that helps you relax, which is a great way to alleviate stress and ease pain.
The following exercise, known as four-square breathing or box breathing, has been shown to help manage pain. Sit in a comfortable position and follow these steps:
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts.
- Hold your breath for 4 counts.
- Breathe out through your mouth for 4 counts.
- Hold at the bottom of your exhalation for 4 counts, then repeat the cycle for 2 minutes.
Contact us for more tips!
As stated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke,
“While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years.
There may have been an initial mishap — sprained back, serious infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain — arthritis, cancer, ear infection, but some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage. Many chronic pain conditions affect older adults.
Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself), psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system).
A person may have two or more coexisting chronic pain conditions. Such conditions can include chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and vulvodynia. It is not known whether these disorders share a common cause.”
Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact Aim Orthopedics to consult with a licensed PT today!
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