Chronic pain can take a tremendous toll on a person's overall wellbeing. When several treatments fail to fully relieve the pain and heal your problem, it might be easy to begin feeling hopeless. But what if there were five simple things you could start doing today to help relieve pain and the stress surrounding chronic pain?
Lucky for you, these five simple things do exist! Read this blog to find out some of the very tips we teach to clients in our Chronic Pain Coaching Programs at Body Amor Wellness. Start getting more out of life than just surviving chronic pain.
Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Diet plays an incredible role in the regulation of inflammation and pain. When experiencing a flare-up, avoid processed foods, refined grain products, and sugary "feel-good" foods. These foods play a role in increasing inflammation, lowering energy and mood, and promotes weight gain.
During bad pain days, be sure to stack up on "feel-good" foods that improve gut health, energy, and mood. Real "feel good" foods contain high amounts of omega-3 like salmon and nuts, antioxidant-rich foods like berries, kale ad artichoke, high fiber foods like broccoli, beans, and apples, and nonstarchy greens.
Boost Your Mood
Trust me, as a fellow chronic pain Warrior myself, I know it's so easy to want to curl up in a ball and eat ice cream when your body is throbbing in pain! However, staying stagnant and feeling helpless only makes it worst.
Avoid sugary foods that induce depressive feelings, practice mindful movement like yoga or qi gong, go for a walk in nature if you can, commit to at least 10-minutes of self-care activities, and call a friend to lift your spirits.
Recharge Throughout the Day
Usually, flare-ups occur when we overwork ourselves, sit with bad posture for too long, or are under too much pressure and stress. The trick to preventing this is to use time management skills to schedule mindfulness techniques and mini self-care breaks throughout the day, even for just 5 minutes at a time!
Whether you had a long day at work or taking care of household duties, or just had a long day of nagging pain, lying down for hours and hours before bed isn't necessarily a recharge. Take some time to listen to what your body needs to feel better, restore and heal.
Refer to your pain journal to reflect on what activities or modalities help decrease pain, stress, and anxiety. Then commit to doing at least one of these before performing more duties or curling up on the couch to binge-watch your favorite Netflix series.
Sticking to Goals
Life with chronic pain can be a mental, physical, and emotional rollercoaster. Some days are great, and other days might not be so great. Your overall wellbeing will depend on the amount of internal and external pressure and stress you experience, as well as what activities you do or don't engage in.
Try organizing your goals into action steps. Then prioritize each action step according to how much energy is required and what healthful action should be performed if pain levels increase. Easy tasks like opening the mail or ordering meal plans are for higher pain level days and difficult tasks are for lower pain level days. Incorporate these plans so that no matter what, you always know no day goes to waste.
Living with chronic pain is tough, but living with chronic pain and feeling lonely is even tougher. Understanding the emotions you experience when interacting with others can help strengthen bonds and increase the amounts of security and support you receive from those around you.
To improve your interactions with others while in pain do this: First identify the emotions and what caused you to feel his way. Then reflect on your response and one way you could have reacted better. Remember that those that have not experienced chronic pain in their lives cannot fully understand or empathize with your chronic pain experience, nor guess what the best support to offer you is. Practicing good communication skills and honesty are the keys to strengthening relationships. You can also try to use mindfulness techniques like journaling, yoga, and meditation to practice pinpointing what is making you frustrated.
Their support can make all the difference in feeling supported and cared for while keeping hope and tenacity during your healing journey. It's never worth it to lose loving relationships over a moment of frustration. For more tips to better manage emotions with chronic pain, watch this free webinar by clicking here.
Other helpful pain management tips:
Mini Course: How to Easily Reverse Chronic Pain Symptoms