Chronic pain sufferers aren’t (all) just cranky by nature. Pain drains you physically and mentally. Simply put, physical pain IS a pain! It is exhausting, frustrating and debilitating. But you can lasso this beast. Making a few mild changes in your lifestyle can give you greater control over chronic pain or help ease it. In fact, altering a few daily habits can make a huge difference in maintaining a healthy and pain-free body in the long run. (1)
If you want freedom from nagging aches and pains, read on to see what you can do to improve your life and bid adieu to pain.
Know how ignoring a pesky person makes him go away? Pain is that, too. Paying attention to your pain will probably make it worse. Distraction is a powerful technique that may draw your attention from the symptoms, so you may feel less pain. Engaging in thoughts and fun activities that may help you distract your mind from pain, is really a good way of controlling pain. (2) Try to busy yourself in something new and interesting to get a temporary solution for your pain.
Move Your Body
Earlier a sedentary lifestyle was advised in case of pain. However, nowadays, participating in exercises and physical activity is often an antidote to chronic pain. Exercise may also help to improve their physical functioning, as well as their mental health, thereby assisting in pain management. (3)
Physical activity and easy, relaxed movements are a good way to deal with pain. Get involved in movement therapies such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, pilates and so on to help manage pain and be healthy on the whole. You can also opt for strength training, aerobics, range of motion, flexibility, and balance training programs. (4, 5) Something as simple and basic as stretching can also help in easing the pain. (6).
Undoubtedly certain foods such as broccoli, fish, ginger, grapes, green tea and so on are anti-inflammatory. But, rather than focusing on just a few foods, focus on a balanced, all-inclusive diet. (7) Also, as far as possible, fortify your body with fresh fruits and vegetables – these are known for having health-enhancing properties. (8)
If you must be fussy about one type of food, let it be the processed types. There’s one important thing that you may need to keep in mind while making a selection of food, say no to processed food – anything that comes out of a box or packet should be avoided. Processed food mostly causes obesity or weight gain. (9) In fact, weight loss is an integral part of managing pain. Obese patients will have long-term benefits from losing weight. (10)
Take Nutritional, Pain-relieving Supplements
Though it is a bit harder to fulfill our body’s nutritional needs, taking nutritional supplements may be a good way to fulfill our body’s nutritional needs. Plant-based supplements such as ginger extract, devil’s claw and Boswellia serrata extract may have anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful in easing the pain. (11) Some natural compounds including herbal remedies and dietary supplements have been used for years to diminish inflammation and pain (12)
Meditation and Stress-relieving Exercises
Meditation is another technique for dealing with pain that is becoming increasingly popular these days. The logic is that it helps reduce or banish the stress that comes with chronic pain. (13) Mindful meditation may be especially beneficial. Emotional control and enhanced cognition, as well as the improved contextual value of sensory events, are helpful in managing pain. (14)
Mindful meditation may also have a lot of health benefits such as reducing symptoms of pain and depression, and thereby, improved quality of life. (15)
Restrict the Use of Controlled Substances
Many people prefer to consume alcohol for pain relief, due to its capability of suppressing the central nervous system. A study conducted in the year 2015 has suggested that people who drank alcoholic beverages were less likely to disabled by chronic pain than non-drinkers. (16)
However, excessive consumption of alcohol may cause problems and is dangerous for many reasons such as the risk of falls and accidents, liver damage, as well as violence and other crimes linked to alcohol abuse. (17)
Smoking is another major factor that may increase the risk of many types of pain. Regular smoking may increase the risk of low blood pressure among young adults. (18) Tobacco is strongly associated with reduced bone density. (19, 20)
Keep the above factors in mind to manage pain and lessen a variety of health problems. Your body is your own sacred space. Treat it like one. Take steps to distract your mind, have a positive outlook, eat well, exercise and avoid alcohol and other intoxicants if you want to minimize your pain. If you still have any questions or want to know more about pain and inflammation, and want to successfully manage pain using simple tips and techniques, a copy of our new free eBook may be helpful to you.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements and/or product(s) described in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease, illness or health condition. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or dietary supplement program.
- Dean, Elizabeth, and Anne Söderlund. “What is the role of lifestyle behavior change associated with non-communicable disease risk in managing musculoskeletal health conditions with special reference to chronic pain?.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders. 16:87(2015). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4397667/
- Johnson, Malcolm H. “How does distraction work in the management of pain?.” Current pain and headache reports. 9:2 (2005): 90-95. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15745617
- Geneen, Louise J et al. “Physical activity and exercise for chronic pain in adults: an overview of Cochrane Reviews.” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 4:4 (2017): CD011279. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5461882/
- Lee, Courtney, Cindy Crawford, and Eric Schoomaker. “Movement therapies for the self-management of chronic pain symptoms.” Pain Medicine. 15:S1 (2014): S40-S53. https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/15/S1/S40/1824046
- Geneen, Louise J et al. “Physical activity and exercise for chronic pain in adults: an overview of Cochrane Reviews.” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 4(2017): CD011279. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5461882/
- Muanjai, Pornpimol, et al. “The effects of 4 weeks stretching training to the point of pain on flexibility and muscle tendon unit properties.” European journal of applied physiology. 117:8 (2017): 1713-1725. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28647867
- Totsch, Stacie K., Megan E. Waite, and Robert E. Sorge. “Dietary influence on pain via the immune system.” Progress in molecular biology and translational science. 131(2015): 435-469. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25744682
- Slavin, Joanne L, and Beate Lloyd. “Health benefits of fruits and vegetables.” Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). 3:4(2012): 506-16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/
- Poti, Jennifer M et al. “Ultra-processed Food Intake and Obesity: What Really Matters for Health-Processing or Nutrient Content?.” Current obesity reports. 6:4 (2017): 420-431. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5787353/
- Okifuji, Akiko, and Bradford D Hare. “The association between chronic pain and obesity.” Journal of pain research. 8(2015): 399-408. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4508090/
- Ghasemian, Mona, Sina Owlia, and Mohammad Bagher Owlia. “Review of anti-inflammatory herbal medicines.” Advances in pharmacological sciences. 2016 (2016). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4877453/
- Maroon, Joseph C et al. “Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief.” Surgical neurology international. 1:80(2010). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3011108/
- Banth, Sudha, and Maryam Didehdar Ardebil. “Effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on pain and quality of life of patients with chronic low back pain.” International journal of yoga. 8:2 (2015): 128-33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4479890/
- Zeidan, Fetal, et al. “Mindfulness meditation-related pain relief: evidence for unique brain mechanisms in the regulation of pain.” Neuroscience letters. 520:2 (2012): 165-173. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304394012004806
- Hilton, Lara et al. “Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. 51:2 (2016): 199-213. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5368208/
- Macfarlane, Gary J., et al. “Alcohol Consumption in Relation to Risk and Severity of Chronic Widespread Pain: Results From a UK Population‐Based Study.” Arthritis care & research. 67:9 (2015): 1297-1303. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26212017
- Chaloupka, F. J. (2004). The effects of price on alcohol use, abuse, and their consequences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK37612/
- Alkherayf, Fahad, and Charles Agbi. “Cigarette smoking and chronic low back pain in the adult population.” Clinical & Investigative Medicine. 32:5 (2009): 360-367. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19796577
- Patel, R A et al. “The effect of smoking on bone healing: A systematic review.” Bone & joint research. 2:6(2013): 102-11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3686151/
- “Smoking And Bone Health”. NIH https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/conditions-behaviors/bone-smoking