Managing Chronic Pain: How To Make Helpful Lifestyle Changes
Managing chronic pain isn’t always easy, and if you’ve only recently been diagnosed with a condition that causes it, you may be at a loss as to where to begin. This is because while there are many different causes for chronic pain--meaning pain that lasts longer than 3-6 months--there is no one way to treat it. What works well for one person may not work for someone else, and sometimes it’s necessary to try a few different methods before you find one you’re comfortable with.
One thing many experts agree on, however, is that there are some lifestyle changes that can help you feel better. Getting daily exercise, changing the way you eat, learning new ways to relax, and finding coping methods that can help you manage your pain no matter where you are can all help in a general way.
Here are a few tips on where to begin.
Improve your environment
There are many, many ways you can go with this, from creating a space solely for relaxing to decluttering your home in order to reduce stress. Your mental health is absolutely tied to your physical health, which means taking care of your mind is an important part of getting your body in good shape. Living in a home that has a lot of clutter or needs a good cleaning can be hard on you in many ways, and it can actually amp up the stress you’re feeling, so pare down your belongings a bit and get organized. Go from room to room to avoid becoming overwhelmed and create sections for things you want to keep, things you can donate or sell, and things you can trash. You don’t have to get rid of important memories, but most of us have overfull closets that can definitely be reduced without fear of missing anything later. For some great information on creating the best home environment for your mental health, read on here.
Make a workout plan
Creating a workout plan will help you manage your pain and possibly even keep it under control, especially if you talk to your doctor first. Depending on the type of chronic pain you suffer from, there may be exercises that you can tailor to fit your needs. Individuals who are living with arthritis or back pain often find relief in doing some simple exercises everyday, either right after waking up or before bed at night. Look for the best exercises for your specific pain and customize a routine that will help you feel better. Need some ideas? Start here.
Change up your diet
The things you eat and drink can have a big effect on how you feel, so it’s important to think about the best diet for your needs. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat the things you really enjoy; moderation is usually key, and adding more water, fiber, fruits and veggies, and whole grains to your daily diet can’t hurt.
There are also specific items you can add to your grocery list that some experts believe can help chronic pain, such as fish, dark leafy greens, nuts, and berries. It’s also a good idea to limit your caffeine and refined sugar intake, so push that soda aside for some flavored water.
Handling chronic pain can be difficult even on the best of days, so finding ways to relax and take care of your mental health is imperative. Talk to your loved ones so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your needs, and keep your doctor updated on any changes that occur so that he can help you manage your medication or change things up.
Author: Jackie Waters