Researchers have spent a lot of time understanding what causes chronic pain and how to get relief. Typical origins of chronic pain include sports injuries and auto accidents. Health issues that cause chronic pain include arthritis, cancer, diabetes or migraines. For those living with chronic pain, there are a variety of ways you can manage chronic pain. Getting help when you need it, relaxing the body and mind, exercise and what you eat are all part of the contributing factors to best managing your chronic pain. Here are some of the main ways to manage your chronic pain.
While it may seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re in pain, exercise is one of the best ways to manage chronic pain. When exercising regularly, you raise the endorphins in your brain which are chemicals that boost your mood. These endorphins also block pain signals so you aren’t constantly getting the chemical message that you’re in pain.
Exercise also strengthens the muscles so you have more possibility of preventing re-injury. Exercising of course has many other benefits for your body. Keeping weight down and heart disease and a natural control of blood sugar levels are a few of the additional benefits you can expect. Your doctor should be able to let you know what your limitations are.
Biofeedback is the practice of consciously control the many functions of your body. Evidence states that this technique has been effective for patients with chronic pain. Through the process that has been created, it’s easy for patients to master.
During a session, you’d wear sensors which will allow you to either see or hear certain functions in your body. This could include your pulse, digestion, tension of your muscles or your body temperature. Squiggly lines on the monitors give you insight on what’s happening in your body. Now, you’re taught how to control the squiggles and response appropriately to alleviate your chronic pain. It takes a few session until your mind trains the biological system to respond.
8. Reduce Stress
Just as important is what you shouldn’t do to agitate chronic pain. When negative feelings take over such as stress, anger, anxiety or depression, the body responds in like. There is an increase of susceptibility to pain when you’re feeling negative. Find ways to manage the stress you have in your life. Be cautious of negative thoughts that can evolve to bad days, weeks and months.
Some of the more popular techniques are listening to uplifting music, meditation or visualization. Visualization can be especially powerful when you imagine yourself pain free and in harmony.
7. Join A Support Group
When you suffer from chronic pain, you may feel very alone as everyone arounds you lives a normal life pain free. Depression can set in if you don’t seek support from others who understand your situation. People share their experiences and talk about how they manage chronic pain.
Counselling is also recommended when necessary as people with chronic pain are also more susceptible to depression. Coping with the pain is part of the overall management as negative feelings increase the pain.
6. Perfect Posture
When you sit incorrectly and fall into the C-slump which is a round back, you prevent blood flow which affects your nerves. This can make your chronic pain even more severe whereas perfect posture can alleviate some of the pain you’re in.
Keep your head above your spine which should be tall and straight. This takes strain from the muscles in your back and neck.
5. Healthy Eating
Regardless of what kind of chronic pain you have, it’s important to eat healthy. There are foods that actually assist in pain prevention due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Leafy greens and foods high in omega-3 acids such as cherries, asparagus and soy products alleviate inflammation. A low-fat, low-sodium diet aids in the digestive process and improves blood sugar levels.
Drinking water is also essential as dehydration can aggravate symptoms of certain types of chronic pain. Avoid drinking too much coffee, pop and juice as they are not good sources of hydration.
4. Deep Breathing
To ease pain, the practice of breathing deeply along with meditation techniques can be very helpful. Deep breaths relax the body from tension and tightness so the muscles can become more relaxed. When the body and all of the muscles are deeply relaxed, chronic pain is not as intense. The deep breathing also feeds your organs with oxygen which creates internal health.
Many forms of meditation are available but practices that focus on the breath are best for chronic pain. Focus on breathing in slowly, hold the breath for a few seconds and slowly breathe out. If thoughts arise, let them go and repeat a positive phrase that helps you to relax. It can take time to get used to the process of doing nothing in meditation but continue with the practice.
If you’re more comfortable with just breathing deeply to relax the body, do so in a quiet and comfortable space. Breathe into your stomach and imagine it’s filling up like a balloon. As you breathe out, image your abdomen is like a balloon deflating. It has been suggested that the yoga discipline of Asana is a powerful tool to alleviate chronic pain. It is the practice of both yoga breath work and meditation.
3. Avoid These Foods
There are certain foods that will cause inflammation which is a common cause of pain. It’s the chemicals in foods that perpetuate pain. They include; tomatoes, dairy, chocolate, eggs, citrus fruits, high fat red meat, wheat, processed food of any kind.
Liquids that should be avoided include; red wine, coffee, tea or pop.
This bright yellow spice is being used to prevent arthritis and has been used since ancient time for its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains curcumin which is easy on the liver and kidneys while reducing inflammation within the body.
Turmeric has the ability to increase the flexibility of your ligaments and boost your immune system. It’s a subtle spice, just add it to your meals or put some into your tea.
When the pain gets too much, your doctor may advise that you take antidepressants to manage your chronic pain. Studies have revealed that antidepressants, along with other drugs, are being used to target brain chemicals, manipulating chemical messages.
Specialists in chronic pain have come to understand the sensation of pain and why it occurs. The association of the nervous system and the mind along with insights into the neurotransmitter system. They have found that certain drugs can send different messages to the brain so your pain is alleviated or lessened.