As we get older it almost seems inevitable that we experience some kind of chronic pain. Whether it’s your knees, shoulders, back or something else, there are probably days that it is crippling and other days where you can manage. Part of the trick to managing chronic pain is to simply research and power yourself with knowledge as to handle flare ups. Below we have a few tips to help you better manage your chronic pain and live life to the fullest.
Managing Chronic Pain
Exercise. It may be the most simple suggestion we can make, but continuing to move and strengthen your body through workouts is seriously one of the best remedies for chronic pain. Moving your body boosts your mood with “feel-good” chemicals that help to block out the pain signals. Keep it simple and work your way up if you want—just be mindful of any pain you are feeling in the moment. You aren’t supposed to hurt yourself further.
Relax. Have your ever noticed your chronic pain flair ups are worse when you are feeling stressed? If you have, figure out some techniques to help calm your mind and body. Unfortunately, depression, anxiety and anger can make your pain worse, but simply learning breathing techniques, guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation can go a long way to keep your pain at bay. Learn your stress triggers, be aware of them and deploy whatever method works best for you to calm down.
Watch what you eat. If you find that you struggle to eat nutritiously and simultaneously have chronic pain, look no further. A lack of nutrition, aka fruits and vegetables can increase inflammation which in turn can increase your chronic pain. If this sounds like you, make a more concerted effort to add more water, fruit, veggies, beans and whole grains to your diet while cutting out sugary, processed foods.
Physical therapy. When all else fails turn to someone who knows what to do. We often think of physical therapy as something you do to recover from an injury, however, it is also very affective in keeping chronic pain in check. With the help of a therapist you will be guided through a series of exercises designed to improve your strength and mobility while also taking you through recovery practices as well.
Surgery. While not ideal, it is nice to know that you can get drastic improvement in chronic pain with the help of surgical intervention when nothing else has worked. Yes, there are risks associated with surgery that you will have to decide if they outweigh living in pain every day. If you feel like this is an avenue for you, speak with an expert and get an evaluation before moving forward.