Getting old isn’t for the faint of heart. Who knew you could throw your back out just by brushing your teeth? Or that getting up from a chair would feel like climbing Mt. Everest?
It might seem like every time you wake up you have a new pain somewhere along your body. This is why it’s important to do all you can to help the aging process. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try and how well you take care of yourself, you can’t escape some type or degree of chronic pain.
As you age, you’re more likely to experience chronic pain due to past or present injuries, medical conditions, or degenerative diseases. And even if you can’t eliminate the pain completely, there are things you can do to better manage chronic pain so you can live a healthy and happy life.
At VIPcare, our physicians join patients on their health journey. And for many, that includes managing chronic pain. In addition to working with your provider to find relief, here are some tips for managing chronic pain. You can do these on your own to help alleviate pain and possibly prevent it from getting worse.
Deep Controlled Breathing
If you’re in pain or worked up, usually the last thing you want to hear someone say to you is, “take a deep breath.” It sounds so simple and pointless. However, there is something to be said about it. Research has shown that taking deep, controlled breaths can significantly reduce feelings of pain. This is because deep breathing does a number of things for you and your body.
When you’re in pain, your muscles tend to tense up. This definitely doesn’t help your situation. In fact, it only adds to your chronic pain. However, by taking deep breaths, you promote healthy blood flow, regulate your heart rate, and lower your blood pressure, all of which aid in relaxation. And if you’re able to relax your muscles and reduce muscle tension, some of your pain should subside.
When taking deep breaths, breathe through your nose. Listen to your breath when you exhale and focus on your pain exiting your body.
Exercise Through the Pain
We know that when you’re in excruciating pain, engaging in physical activity of any type doesn’t exactly sound very appealing. The word exercise alone probably just makes you cringe. But oddly enough, if you can work through the pain, there is possible relief on the other side. Of course, never overdo it. Listen to your body.
Exercise has a powerful pain-reducing effect on the body. This is because when you exercise, your body produces a chemical called endorphins. Endorphins are our body’s natural pain killer by helping to manage pain signals between nerves.
In addition to producing endorphins, exercise also helps to promote blood flow which we just discussed how that in itself fosters relaxation to reduce pain. Being active will boost your mood and help keep you limber, both of which can positively impact your chronic pain.
Eat for Pain Relief
Eating a healthy diet is always important, whether you’re in pain or not. But if you’re suffering from chronic pain and depending on the type of pain and what’s causing it, you most definitely need to watch what you eat.
Inflammation is one of the biggest culprits of chronic pain. And unfortunately, there are lots of everyday foods that can exacerbate inflammation. Foods you should try to limit or avoid include:
- Unrefined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and pastries
- Fried foods
- Soda and other sugary drinks
- Red meat, such as burgers and steaks
- Processed meat, such as hot dogs and sausages
- Margarine, lard, and shortening
While limiting the above foods, try to add some extra anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, such as:
- Fruits, including strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
- Healthy nuts, such as almonds and walnuts
- Green leafy vegetables, including spinach and kale
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
- Olive oil
Reduce and Manage Pain with a Healthy Lifestyle
Chronic pain isn’t pleasant or fun. It can make the simplest tasks and chores seem impossible. However, just by taking small steps and making healthy choices, you can help manage your chronic pain.
The above tips for managing chronic may not eliminate your pain in its entirety, but they can certainly help you get through the days and some of the more challenging moments. At VIPcare, you and your provider can work together to devise a treatment plan to manage your chronic pain so you can get relief and start living your best life.
Schedule your appointment today to learn more!