Everyone occasionally experiences pain. Pain is the way your body tells you something is wrong. But when pain overstays its welcome, it can be uncomfortable and affect your overall quality of life and mental health.
Chronic pain is the kind of pain that lasts more than three months. It can be due to surgery, injury, or a health condition like arthritis, cancer, lower back pain, or neurogenic pain.
Chronic pain is also related to other chronic lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They share common lifestyle-related risk factors like high BMI, inactivity, smoking, and poor diet.
Effects of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a common and costly condition that has many negative effects, including;
- Reduced productivity
- Loss of income
- Increase in medical expenses
- Chronic pain can result in immobility
- It can lead to depression and irritability
- It can affect your sleep and lower your energy levels
- It can cause a drug dependence problem
- It can affect your family emotionally and financially
Lifestyle Changes To Help Reduce Chronic Pain
People suffering from chronic pain are always looking for a way to reduce their pain. Standard chronic pain management includes the use of;
- Medicines like NSAIDs:- long-term use of NSAIDs can damage your kidneys and liver and lead to gastrointestinal irritation
- Steroid injections:- they only help for a short while and have harmful effects
Adjusting your lifestyle, however, is one of the best ways to deal with chronic pain. Here are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your chronic pain;
1. Check What You Eat
Diet is the best way to manage chronic pain and keep your body strong. Diets full of sugars, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods can lead to inflammation and increase your pain. Changing what you ingest is a significant step towards reducing pain if you suffer from chronic pain.
Your diet should include foods like;
- Vegetables about eight portions a day
- Proteins in moderation. Consider focusing more on plant proteins.
- Use healthy fats like olive oil and avocados.
- Choose whole grains and complex carbohydrates
- Include foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
Watching what you eat will also reduce weight, relieving chronic pain conditions like osteoarthritis.
2. Reduce stress
Your body reacts to stress in various ways, such as muscle tension and headaches, which only worsen your chronic pain. To reduce stress;
- Identify your stress triggers and work on them
- Stay active
- Find a distraction like doing something you like.
Disrupted sleep increases sensitivity to pain and inflammation, which worsens chronic pain. You can improve your sleep by;
- Making sleep a priority
- Developing a sleep routine to prepare your mind and body for sleep
- Practicing mindfulness and deep breathing
4. Physical activity
Physical inactivity affects both your cognitive and bodily functions. On the other hand, physical activity improves your sleep, reduces stress levels, and releases endorphins which are feel-good chemicals that will enhance your moods and are natural pain relievers.
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