Nothing tests people like constant pain for which there seems to be no effective treatment. And yet, as we age, more and more of us face pain on a daily basis.
Science has proven you do not have to become a slave to pain medications. Too many doctors will prescribe a potentially addictive drug instead of explaining the many lifestyle modifications you can adopt to relieve pain. Most people can manage pain without the drowsiness and confusion caused by many pain medications.
It behooves everyone with pain to advocate for their own well being, even if it means talking back to a doctor or two. StretchSPOT invites you to read on to learn how you can fight pain and lessen its impact on your life.
Eliminate Triggers at Home
If you are living with pain, make sure that you have removed triggers in the home. If you have allergies, for instance, ensure the home is dust and mold free. Make sure litter boxes are always fresh. Wash fabrics like bedspreads and curtains at least three times a year to remove dust mites.
If your pain comes from migraines, look critically at your lighting to make sure it’s neither too bright, nor too dim. If you suffer from sore joints and muscles, put heavy objects, like step ladders, in one central place so that you don’t have to move them around a lot.
Eat Right to Reduce Inflammation
Much chronic pain is related to inflammation of joints and cartilage. Scientists at Harvard University tell us that diet alone is an important factor in reducing inflammation. If you suffer from chronic swelling, avoid margarine, red meat, processed meat (such as sausages and hot dogs), anything made with white flour, sodas, and fried foods — especially fried carbohydrates, like french fries.
At the same time, there are foods that reduce inflammation. In general, people who adopt a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, tomatoes, and fatty fish, will live with less pain. Other foods that promote health and reduce inflammation are dark and leafy vegetables like spinach, turnip greens, kale, and mustard greens; cherries, oranges, blueberries, and strawberries; and nuts.
Reduce Fat Tissue
A National Institutes of Health study suggests that loss of fat (also known as “adipose tissue”) can reduce the inflammation that frequently leads to pain, especially in people over fifty. That is why the best thing you can do to reduce pain might be to lose weight.
Even if your weight is within normal range, a loss of fat tissue could have benefits. Consult the Mayo Clinic’s BMI chart to see how much weight you can safely lose. A sixty-year old woman who is five feet and seven inches tall can weigh as little as 120 pounds without being too thin, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Find Ways to Battle Stress
Stress can make chronic pain much, much worse, which is why it’s important to find ways to decrease your stress and anxiety levels as much as possible. Some techniques to help you reduce stress include keeping your mind from jumping on stressful thought trains, identifying the things that can trigger extreme stress in your everyday life, and reducing contact with people who tend to stress you out.
Discover the many foods that can help you reduce stress. Options like herbal tea, dark chocolate, avocados, and whole grains can help you fight stress and manage those levels. Keep your home free of stress by adding some indoor plants and decluttering.
Do the Right Exercises
No one knows exactly why resistance exercises, combined with aerobics, reduce inflammation in some patients. However, at least two studies suggest that this specific regime has the potential to reduce inflammation in patients with ongoing pain. Patients of all ages with type 2 diabetes in particular seem to reap rewards.
Another good reason to do resistance training is that it builds up muscles. The stronger your muscles are, the more work they can do, taking pressure off sensitive joints. If your pain is located mostly in your neck and back, do exercises that strengthen those muscles. People with knee pain from osteoarthritis benefit from working out their quadriceps.
Of course, people with chronic pain need to approach exercise with caution. Exercise for pain is a long-term proposition, and you need to build up slowly. That’s because exercise can easily cause the inflammation that you are trying to escape.
When you are trying out a new exercise, do it for no more than five minutes the first time. Then gradually increase the amount of time you spend on it. Building up to one hour of low-impact, targeted exercise a day should make you feel much better.
If you’re feeling sore after your workout, book an appointment with StretchSPOT. Our professional stretch therapy can help with relieving muscle pain and tightness, as well as help speed up your recovery from working out.
You are not powerless against your pain. Fight it the right way, and you will put it in the background of your life where it belongs.