You couldn’t survive without pain of some sort. It’s the signal your body sends your brain alerting you’re hurt and you need to protect yourself. If you fell down the stairs and broke your leg, the intense feeling would cause you to scream, then someone would come to your aid and call the ambulance. You’d get the required treatment and live to walk another day. Thanks, pain!
But what about when it’s chronic? Whether the root cause is arthritis or back injury, you’re doing your best to get through it, but your body hasn’t gotten the memo and keeps telling your brain, “Ouch!” That puts a damper on your whole day, as even basic tasks like doing the dishes or shopping for groceries come to a screeching halt with a flare-up.
Medication helps, but self-management is becoming more common as a treatment option, as it gives sufferers greater control over their lives. It consists of methods to keep pain in check naturally, largely through alterations in lifestyle. Here are a few that may come in useful.
An overwhelming body of evidence demonstrates that the mindfulness inherent in this ancient practice helps soothe pain and even control it in the long term. Inner Health Studio recommends a technique that only takes 20 minutes a day, which can easily be done at home by finding a quiet space free from distraction, that has a source of natural light, and that offers a view onto the greenery in your yard or a nearby park.
A doctor writing for Practical Pain Management recommends consuming a high amount of protein. This class of compounds consists of amino acids that serve as the building blocks of natural pain relievers secreted by your body. Take it easy on the sugar, as that causes inflammation.
Regular physical activity keeps pain at bay in a number of ways. First, it keeps your joints moving smoothly and your muscles strong to better support your skeleton. In addition, trimming down means there’s less weight putting pressure on the various parts of your body where you could experience flare-ups. Fitness also encourages an elevated mood and resistance to stress.
Yoga and Tai Chi
These are two activities you should consider adding to that exercise regimen of yours. Both involve slowly advancing through a series of poses that strengthen your core and increase flexibility without exerting too much pressure on the joints. Pain relief is just one of the benefits, along with lower heart rate and blood pressure.
It’s a quick fix that takes only five minutes total using one technique presented by a physical therapist writing for MindBodyGreen. It begins by concentrating on how you inhale and exhale, then gradually incorporating simple movements like pressing your feet into the floor and lifting your buttocks. Besides reducing pain, it also relieves stiffness and even stress.
It increases blood flow to aching joints and muscles, warming and relaxing them through increased circulation. Studies also suggest that a nice rub down triggers the release of natural painkillers in your brain while speeding the flow of a hormone called oxytocin, which is related to elevated mood and calmness.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the right tunes could dull pain considering its almost magical effect on your mood. How it works isn’t perfectly clear, but it seems to be related to the release of those painkillers in the brain mentioned above. It may also redirect your attention away from the suffering at the same time.
You’ll avoid strenuous movements that trigger flare-ups with some simple changes to your living environment, such as getting rid of low, soft furniture and opting for higher, stiffer surfaces instead. Also, consider installing grab bars in the bathroom for greater support and stability.
These efforts may not get rid of your pain completely. However, they’ll certainly make it easier to get through the day and even enjoy some of your favorite activities with less discomfort.
Image via Pixabay.