July 23, 2018 | BY Robert Smith
Living with pain can challenge every aspect of day-to-day life. Not only is the pain itself a constant battle, but pain can also impact your confidence, relationships, and ability to maintain an active and healthy social life. Mood changes can also become common as you struggle to enjoy – or even take part in – everyday tasks.
Pain is going to happen. It’s a fact of life. But just because it happens doesn’t mean you can’t help to ease your aches or be proactive in pain management.
Knowing what to do to help alleviate chronic pain is half your battle. So to help you win that battle – if not the war – with pain, we put together a few tips and tricks to help give you an edge over your aches and pains.
Pain is your body’s natural stressor. It’s a warning sign to avoid danger that reads: stop and assess; something’s not right. But suffering from chronic pain can also cause an overload of stress, which is equally damaging to your body and can cause pain to linger.
Learning simple relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, guided imagery, and even yoga can not only help your body get to a mental place where stress is reduced, but also alleviate pain and help your body heal faster.
Take your medication according to your doctor’s instructions. Medication not only treats the illness itself, but also keeps nagging and debilitating symptoms at bay. By taking your medications on time, as prescribed, you’ll be doing your body a service and help keep pain from taking root.
During your recovery, you’ll likely have days when you feel better. It’s tempting to try to get as much done as possible while you feel good. However, pushing yourself too much can actually make your pain worse and prolong the healing process.
When you have a good day and pain levels are low, take things easy. Don’t try to do more strenuous activities, and always follow your doctor’s guidelines. Your body will thank you for it.
It may sound counterproductive, but moving helps to keep stiff joints lubricated and, in the long term, can help ease pain. Many doctors recommend physical therapy as a method of reducing joint pain and improving your body’s natural healing processes. Talk to your doctor and see if there are low-impact exercises that will work well with keeping you fit and healthy, while also helping to reduce any painful joints.
Carbohydrates, especially when a person’s activity is limited, can cause weight gain and inflammation – two primary sources of pain. When you don’t feel well, you’re more likely to grab sugary, pre-packaged foods. Unfortunately, while these snacks may taste good, they can also make pain worse, particularly if you have arthritis.
That’s not to say you can’t enjoy a sweet snack every now and then. Treats are a great way to boost your mood and keep your spirits high. However, most dieticians recommend individuals eat a diet primarily containing anti-inflammatory foods during recovery from surgery, illness, or injury. By eating foods such as fruit, orange vegetables, and leafy greens, you can help reduce your weight and keep inflammation at bay.
Sometimes an ache or pain will require ice, sometimes heat. Other times, an alternating hot/cold scenario will work best. Ask your doctor if applying an ice pack or heating pad to your body will help, and then be sure to take a few minutes each day to treat those aches.
Getting the proper amount of sleep will help manage pain by giving you a boost of energy and leveling out your mood. These are important to keeping a clear focus on the other tips listed in this outline, such as staying active and eating a healthy diet.
At The Arbors, we understand how much pain can take out of you. In addition to preventing you from doing what you love, pain can make you feel exhausted, weak, and impact your self-confidence. That’s why we work with our patients to help control pain while in our care.
If you or a loved one is expecting to need the services of a rehabilitation center that will take your recovery and pain seriously, come take a tour of our facility. Let us show you how our highly skilled staff and compassionate care can help you heal.