Five Things You Can Do To Help Your Chronic Pain

Five Things You Can Do To Help Your Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can be so debilitating it can feel like it dominates every aspect of your life. Here are some steps you can take to deal with your chronic pain.

  1. Exercise

Although it may seem counterproductive, exercise can help with chronic pain. Exercise produces endorphins, which act on the opiate receptors in our brains. Endorphins help to reduce pain and increase pleasure, causing a feeling of well-being.

Ask your doctor about what kinds of exercise might be best for your specific situation. They can give you advice on the best types of physical activities to help relieve some of your chronic pain.

  1. Relaxation

Reducing stress can also help with chronic pain. One good way to reduce stress is to try relaxation techniques. Mediation and relaxation training has been shown in scientific studies to correlate with decreased pain perception. Whether by reducing stress or activating and reinforcing areas of the brain that process pain, meditation helps reduce pain intensity in many patients.

Deep breathing exercises like foursquare breathing, can help you improve your mindfulness and your physical well-being. These techniques involve breathing deeply so that your abdomen expands and contracts with each breath. By concentrating on your breathing, you can take the focus off of your stress and reduce the pain.

Biofeedback is another way to decrease chronic pain from migraines and tension headaches. By wearing sensors that help you “see” or “hear” certain bodily functions, you can learn to control what’s going on inside your body. 

  1. Healthy Diet

The expression “you are what you eat” is surprisingly accurate. Dr. Fred Tabug, a visiting researcher at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, notes, “A lot of chronic pain is the result of chronic inflammation, and the evidence is quite strong that your diet can contribute to increased systemic inflammation.” The good news is that while your diet can increase chronic pain, it can also decrease it. 

Try to incorporate variety into your meal planning with a mix of whole grains, healthy proteins, vegetables, fruit, and healthy oils like olive and canola. This won’t be a quick fix, but if you commit to permanent changes in your diet, you should see lasting results.

  1. Cut Back on Alcohol and Cigarettes

Chronic pain can also cause sleep problems. Although it may be tempting to use alcohol to sleep, it can actually make sleep problems worse. Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol to reduce pain may lead to dependence or increased pain sensitivity. If you’re already taking pain medication, adding alcohol into the mix could be dangerous or even deadly.

Studies have shown that patients with chronic pain who also smoke can have worse pain and problems with functioning, sleep, and mood. Smoking can also lead to other health problems, which might aggravate chronic pain.

Cutting out alcohol and cigarettes can have many overall health benefits that will positively impact your life and help you manage your chronic pain more successfully.

  1. Join a Support Group

There are many ways that chronic pain can negatively impact your life. Being unable to take part in regular social activities can be isolating, and being unemployed and dealing with financial struggles can make that isolation worse. 

However, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone; there are other people with chronic pain who are going through the same thing. They can provide support and offer advice on how to deal with the issues that come with chronic pain. You can also reach out to a mental health professional who specializes in people dealing with chronic pain. Remember that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.

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