Chronic pain can interfere with your daily activities and lower your quality of life. In order to continue enjoying your usual activities while also experiencing less discomfort, it’s important to learn ways to manage your pain. Whether you have chronic pain from arthritis, an old injury, spinal problems or other conditions, there are many steps you can take to keep your pain under control and prevent it from affecting your life.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Chronic pain can feel worse when you have a lot of tension in your muscles. Learning to relax your body through certain techniques helps ease this tension. You can engage in relaxation training and focus your attention on breathing by taking long, deep breaths. This has the added benefit of taking your mind off the pain as you release tension in your muscles.
Dehydration can cause chronic pain to feel worse, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough fluids on a regular basis. When you’re dehydrated, you might also suffer from other kinds of pain in addition to your usual chronic pain, such as headaches. Keep in mind that certain beverages, such as coffee, can increase your risk of becoming dehydrated. To make sure you get plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, drink water throughout the day.
Watch Your Diet
Eating the right kinds of foods and avoiding certain foods can help you manage your discomfort. You want to eat foods that help ease inflammation, which relieves chronic pain. These include walnuts, salmon and other foods with omega-3 fatty acids, as well as products that contain soy. Other foods that might help ease inflammation include spinach, other leafy greens, asparagus, cranberries and fruits that have low amounts of sugar. Limit dairy products, citrus fruits, eggs, fatty red meats, coffee and other beverages with caffeine, processed foods, and products that contain wheat. Eating higher amounts of these foods can raise your risk of inflammation, leading to chronic pain flare-ups.
Use Distraction Exercises
Visual imagery is another effective solution. This exercise involves focusing your mind on pleasant thoughts to help avoid negative ones, such as how much pain you’re in. You can also distract yourself by doing activities that you really enjoy, such as watching your favorite movie, spending time with friends or reading a book. These activities don’t put any strain on your muscles or joints, which helps prevent chronic pain from becoming worse.
Yoga offers a great way to exercise while also working toward reducing stress and easing chronic pain. This form of physical activity emphasizes the importance of bringing your mind and body into harmony rather than just focusing on exercising your body. This mind-body emphasis can help you develop ways to ease stress and reduce muscle tension, leading to fewer bouts of chronic pain. Just make sure that you check with your doctor before starting yoga exercises. Your doctor can provide you with guidance on which forms of yoga are safe for you to do.
If you need help managing chronic pain, please contact Boulevard Medical Center to schedule an appointment.