Reclaim Your Life: Tips for Chronic Pain Sufferers
The following article is by one of Simply Living’s regular contributors, Brad Krause. Lear more about Brad from his bio at the end of the article. Living with chronic pain is nearly as frustrating as it is painful. Anyone who’s made repeated trips to the doctor or specialist only to be told “Let’s try a different prescription” understands how frustrating it can be to find a solution. An over-reliance on medication often leads to a dead end, leaving patients grasping for any form of lasting relief. In many cases, relief requires taking a multi-pronged approach, as there are multiple factors at work. Stress and lifestyle habits are contributors to chronic pain and need to be managed, and the best approach is often natural.
Alleviating Stress and InflammationStress is a major factor in chronic pain and, like depression and anxiety, makes the body more sensitive to pain. The body’s stress response causes muscles to tighten; the greater the stress, the tighter the muscles. Inflammation and joint pain can also result, causing both joints and muscles to be tender, sore, and highly sensitive to touch. The pain may persist in one area of the body or migrate all over. Without an effective response, the sufferer may even become immobilized due to the severity of the pain. Inflammation can be mitigated with CBD oil, a cannabinoid which helps the body function with less pain without becoming intoxicated. It’s a natural way to mitigate the problem and helps you feel relaxed. Be aware that there are many brands of CBD on the market, so spend some time researching the best oils for you at the best price.
MeditationMany chronic pain sufferers experience success with meditation, which helps take the mind off the sources of stress and relaxes muscles and joints. Other patients experience relief listening to soothing music that elevates mood and makes pain more bearable. Progressive muscle relaxation and mental imagery relaxation (creating calming and peaceful images in your mind) can also produce positive results, though these approaches may take time to learn.
Deep BreathingDeep breathing exercises lower the heart rate and blood pressure and can be quite effective at reducing stress. Find a quiet, secluded spot that helps you block out thoughts and concentrate on breathing into a spot below the navel, allowing the lungs to slowly fill with air, then slowly releasing it. The aim is to loosen muscles by relaxing the entire body. Other practitioners of meditation have success with repetition, repeating a word or phrase over and over while focusing on your breathing and ignoring thoughts altogether.
ExerciseEndorphins are chemicals in the brain that elevate mood and block pain signals. Endorphins, which are activated by exercise, cause you to feel exuberant and anxious to reproduce the feeling, which encourages further exercise. Exercise can also help reduce pain by strengthening muscles, which helps gird your body against the tightening that produces pain.
Lifestyle ChangesChronic pain management also requires altering habits you might not even realize are contributing to your condition. Alcohol intake, for example, can exacerbate the body’s pain responses by robbing you of valuable sleep, which repairs and strengthens the body’s systems. Eliminating alcohol results in better, more restful sleep and a heightened feeling of well-being. Dietary changes, including foods such as broccoli, blueberries, spinach, whole grains, and nuts, can reduce inflammation pain. It should be noted that anti-inflammatory diets are based on a practical approach to a diet featuring vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and proteins.
ResourcesChronic pain sufferers can find plenty of helpful information online through resources such as the American Chronic Pain Association, the American Pain Society, and Life in Slow Motion, which features blogs about chronic pain, illness, and disability. If you suffer from chronic pain, rest assured that you can enjoy a rewarding, fulfilling life by addressing your condition with exercise, natural stress relief strategies, and lifestyle changes. It’s important to bear in mind that managing chronic pain isn’t a one-dimensional undertaking. It requires diligence, patience, and attention to detail.
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