Pain Management: 15 Easy Ways to Reduce Chronic Pain

Reviewed on 2/15/2018, 1/15

Get Moving

We all need to exercise, but pain may keep you from being as active as you should be. The problem is, when you do not exercise, muscles get weaker and you may suffer from even more pain. Try to be as active as you can because exercise releases endorphins, chemicals that ease pain and boost your mood. Just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise will do the trick, releasing endorphins that decrease your perception of pain. Ask your doctor what kinds of aerobic exercises are appropriate for you. Remember, a well-rounded exercise program includes strength training and stretching activities, too.

Get Centered

Mind-body interventions including deep breathing, biofeedback, and meditation may help you get a handle on chronic pain. In some studies, meditation helped older adults with low back pain or osteoarthritis cope better and experience improved function. In another study, older and younger adults experienced significantly less pain after participating in a biofeedback trial. Tai chi with deep diaphragmatic breathing may help ease symptoms from a variety of chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and low back pain. Ask your doctor which interventions are appropriate for you.

Skip the Alcohol Late at Night

Studies have shown that sleep disruptions may trigger chronic pain. They may also increase the risk of developing depression which exacerbates chronic pain. You may be tempted to reach for a night cap before nodding off, but an alcoholic drink before bedtime can hurt your ability to sleep more than it helps. A drink may help you fall sleep in the short-term, but alcohol reduces deep, restorative REM sleep. You may also be more likely to wake up during the night if you had a drink or two before bedtime. Set the stage for a good night’s sleep and less pain by having a cup of tea or warm milk before bed instead of an alcoholic drink.

Skip the Cigarettes

Many people reach for cigarettes in an effort to try to self-medicate chronic pain, but it is not a good idea. Smoking may bring short-term relief of stress and pain, but tobacco use is associated with many detrimental health effects that may increase pain in the long run. Smoking slows wound healing, increases the risk of degenerative disc disease, causes rheumatoid arthritis, and impedes circulation-increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. All of these may lead to increased chronic pain. If you smoke, quit. If you need help quitting, ask your doctor for medications and treatment programs that can help you kick the habit for good.

Eat Well

Eating a healthy diet that is high in anti-inflammatory foods such as lean protein, colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and healthy fats keeps your body strong and helps boost your defenses against pain. Omega-3 fatty acids like those found in oily fish such as salmon may be very beneficial for inflammatory pain conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. Anti-inflammatory compounds called flavonoids, such as alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) found in foods like broccoli and spinach, may help ease the pain from diabetic neuropathy. This also applies for vitamin E. Ask your doctor what kind of diet is appropriate for your pain condition.

To review tips 6-15 of “Pain Management: 15 Easy Ways to Reduce Chronic Pain” go to the following link.

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Tags: exercise, releases endorphins, chemicals, ease pain, boost your mood, Pain Management,

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