If you’re one of the many people living with the symptoms of chronic pain, this article is for you. There are many simple lifestyle changes you can make to find relief for your pain symptoms, and help manage flare-ups when they occur. This is great news for those who are living with chronic pain.
For starters, some dietary changes could be very beneficial. Cleveland Clinic recommends reducing any foods that are known to cause inflammation within the body. At the same time, you might want to consider increasing those foods which are known to reduce inflammation. Foods which cause inflammation might include common allergens (such as dairy), wheat and grains, or even grain-fed beef. Instead, opt for grass-fed meats, dairy replacements (such as hemp milk), and anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables, such as bananas or leafy greens.
If you are living with chronic pain, you may want to consider eliminating gluten, certain types of sugars (including foods containing FODMAPS), and MSG from your diet. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes, and alcohol – all of which can increase inflammation in the body and contribute to chronic pain flare-ups. In addition, if you are prone to frequent headaches, you may also want to avoid nuts and chocolate, which are known migraine triggers.
In addition to changing your diet, there are also some other lifestyle changes you can make to help ease your chronic pain symptoms so you can get back to enjoying your life. Try picking up some healthy habits, such as tai chi or yoga, to help alleviate stress. Meditative movement techniques such as these have been used for thousands of years to help manage pain while assisting the body with healing itself. Breathing techniques such as meditation may also be helpful for those who are living with chronic pain.
Now that we’ve discussed some lifestyle changes to try, it’s also important to consider some lifestyle habits that you might want to avoid. If you are living with chronic pain, you’ll want to avoid eating large meals, which can increase pain symptoms, and you should also avoid foods that are known to cause inflammation.
You’ll also want to reduce the number of chemicals and toxins in your home, possibly even switching to all natural cleaning supplies. You should avoid letting your home become too messy and difficult to clean, as this can aggravate your pain symptoms. If necessary, consider hiring a housekeeper or finding someone to assist you with chores that trigger your symptoms.
If, at first, you begin to feel overwhelmed while you are trying to change your lifestyle, don’t worry; this is actually quite common and can be easily remedied. Many people make the mistake of trying to implement too many changes at the same time, only to become overwhelmed and give up. Instead, it’s best to start by changing one habit at a time before moving on to the next one. With patience and persistence, you can gently begin to heal your body and create the life you want to live. Good luck!
~ Jackie Waters
Community Hospital Blog Contributor
Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Brooke Cagle