Chronic pain – ongoing pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks – can be draining and affect everything from quality of sleep to ability to work. A doctor will generally prescribe some kind of pain relief, however there may be times when you don’t want to rely on this medication alone. Here are just a few tips for helping to manage chronic pain better.
Cut out triggers
Various foods and bad habits are triggers that can increase pain. Sugary foods for example are known to spike insulin levels and make any existing inflammation worse. The same can be said of smoking, which can alleviate pain short-term but can heighten sensitivity to pain in the long run. Try to cut out these triggers as best you can in order to keep the pain at a manageable level.
Consider natural supplements
There are many natural pain relievers out there that you can consider. Ginger is commonly used to combat stomach pain, whilst turmeric is used by many people to relieve join pain. You can also use more heavy duty substances like Kratom as found at The Kratom Connection. You should always check that it is healthy to take these supplements on top of any prescribed medication. Always read into the side-effects, particularly with stronger natural supplements, so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Do activities that produce endorphins
Endorphins are the body’s natural feelgood drug and they can be excellent at combating pain. Exercising, laughing, listening to music and having sex are all activities that flood our bodies with endorphins. Certain foods such as chocolates and spicy chillies have also been found to have this effect. Start doing activities that produce endorphins and you could find that the pain subsides. Be wary that certain activities may make pain worse because of the location of the pain – high-impact exercise could make joint pain worse, so you’re best sticking to low impact exercises such as yoga and swimming.
Stress can make chronic pain worse – especially prolonged bouts of stress. Cortisol, the stress hormone, can help to cause inflammation whilst causing our muscles to become tense. We are also more alert when we are stressed, which can in turn effect our ability to sleep. Without proper sleep, the body is likely to feel pain more acutely. Learn to destress at the end of each day by meditating or having a long hot bath – this will reduce cortisol levels and hopefully reduce some of the pain that you’ve been feeling.
Join support groups
There are many support groups set up for people with chronic pain such as Pain Support. These groups are worth joining in order to meet other sufferers and share coping strategies. You could find that simply talking to other people that have chronic pain improves you mental wellbeing and has an effect on the way you face your chronic pain.