Managing The Aches And Pains Of Life
As life goes on, we all find ourselves collecting more aches and pains while we get over. Even those with the healthiest lifestyles might find themselves with a new tinge or soreness from time to time. And some have it worse than others, having to deal with chronic pain. It becomes a distraction, an annoyance, and sometimes debilitating. So, here we’re going to look at how we can all learn to manage our pain a little better without relying on medication alone.
Give yourself an endorphin boost
Exercise has been recommended as a form of pain management for years now and a big part of it is due to the mental chemistry it involves. Exercise naturally releases endorphins, which not only boost your mood, but the “high” of an endorphin rush acts as a natural painkiller that works for hours after the initial rush wears off. Not all exercises are equal, too. High-intensity exercises have been shown to produce more endorphins by Productivity Theory. The next time that pain is feeling particularly severe, try getting on a spin bike or doing some kettlebell exercises if you’re able.
Yoga may not be quite as intense as the other exercises named above, but it still has plenty of pain fighting potential to take advantage of. First of all, it’s worth considering that it can tackle the source of many physical kinds of pain, including joint soreness. A lack of flexibility in the joints and inflammation both cause stiffness and pain, and yoga effectively reduces both by improving your range of movement. Yoga also involves breathing exercises, which can increase the level of oxygen that gets to your brain and muscle tissues, alleviating muscle pain and helping muscle recovery. As pain causes our breathing to naturally become shallower, we can starve certain parts of our body unconsciously when we’re in pain. Yoga helps us become more conscious of our breath and opens up the flow of oxygen through the body once more.
Work it out
A helping hand can go a long way, too. If you’re suffering from acute and chronic physical pain, whether it’s muscle pain, back pain, joint pain or otherwise, there are few more qualified to help you find the source and manage it than a physical therapist like Move Forward PT. While most kinds of exercise can help manage pain to some degree, physical therapists are trained to find the precise methods suited to the precise kind of pain you’re feeling. If pain is making your will to exercise hard to find, then a supportive, informative presence and the feeling of teamwork can help you break through that mental barrier, as well.
Put better things in your body
You are what you eat, so if you’re putting too many unhealthy things in your body, expect that to be reflected in how you feel. Both smoking and too much alcohol consumption have been shown to have worse impacts on your sense of pain in the long-run. On the other hand, good nutrition can make a world of difference. If you’re suffering from joint pain especially, anti-inflammatory foods such as cabbage, cauliflower, and ginger could give your body a boost and reduce the swelling that can exacerbate injuries or cause joints to feel achy. Don’t overload with just anti-inflammatory ingredients. A balanced diet is always the best way to ensure your body is able to recover and stay in supply of the most vital nutrients.
Watch those scales
Talking purely in strictly health terms, the stresses on your body of your own weight could have a lot to do with both the causes and the severity of pain. The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to develop chronic conditions that cause or exacerbate pain. Particularly when it comes to the back and the joints, the more pressure put on those supporting parts of the body, the more prone they are to weakness, inflammation, and aches. Weight control is always going to be an essential part of your health, and it should be no surprise that it can have such an impact on pain levels as well.
Mind your head
Pain isn’t purely physical, either. The mind and the body are one and the same. Stress and physical pain share a circular relationship. The more pain you are in, the more stressed you get. Stress, beyond heightening your sensation of pain, can exacerbate physical pain such as muscle, joint, or back pain by causing your body to tense up, which increases inflammation and friction in those pain points. Yoga has already been mentioned for its physical benefits, but the mental benefits of relaxation are just as important. Other stress-busting methods such as distracting yourself with a hobby, keeping a journal, or going for a walk can help you improve your emotional state which can then manifest as a decrease in your pain levels.
Ensure a better night’s sleep
When it comes to finding methods of improving both mental and physical help, there are few things as essential as sleep. A good night’s sleep controls the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the brain. This is why you feel in a much worse mood when you don’t have a restful sleep. But pain can get in the way of a good sleep, so it’s worth looking at sources like Ted and Staceys Mattress Guides & Reviews for mattresses built specifically for those suffering from chronic pain. Good beds that support those pain points and help ease the tension and the load off can help you get a better night’s sleep. Beyond helping your mind de-stress, this is also crucial for the body’s recovery process.
Find some healing hands
Physical therapists can help you exercise in ways that better target your chronic pain. In a similar manner, massage can help you directly ease the pain by working with the specific pain points. Massage does a lot more than feel good. The stress-busting benefits are worth it alone but it can also relax your muscles, which reduces the likelihood of muscle imbalance and stiffness, improves blood and oxygen flow, and have help to reduce inflammation. If you don’t have room in the budget for weekly trips to a massage therapist, there are self-massage techniques you can learn that can be just as effective. A foam roller can help them be even more effective.
Consider a support group
If you are suffering from chronic pain that has been with you for some time, then there is a lot of potential benefit to finding a support group. The process of sharing with a group of people who understand your difficulties can help greatly with the emotional side of suffering from long-term pain. If you’re able to find a group that deals specifically with the kind of injury or illness causing your pain, then you could learn all kinds of information and find resources that help you manage pain more specifically than the tips featured here. Pain can be an isolating experience since the people around you might be sympathetic, but they don’t fully understand what you’re going through. Finding those who do understand can be intensely liberating in its own way.
Take a deep breath
Many of the benefits that apply to yoga also apply to meditation. The importance of improving breath control and the release of oxygen to the blood. The stress-busting value. However, meditation may be a better option for those who are unable to practice yoga because of their pain or an injury. What’s more, meditation is as much a mental health practice. It can help you be more mindful of your body, including taking a closer look at circumstances and things that can exacerbate your pain. There are a lot of free meditation apps like those featured at Self that can help you make good use of half-an-hour to an hour of your free time.
Track it every day
If you put any of the steps above into effect, how can you be sure whether it’s working or not? To be completely real, any one of the steps above will likely not be enough to stop pain completely, especially if it’s chronic. But it can make a little difference and little differences can add up to be a huge deal. Keep a pain intensity tracker, either through a smartphone app or in a journal, and measure the activities and habits you took part in throughout the day. Not only can it highlight what is working for you, but it could provide more data for your doctor or physical therapist who can use it to prescribe more targeted pain treatment.
If you’re in pain and changes to your lifestyle aren’t enough, then don’t feel like you have to skip medication entirely. Just be sure to talk to your doctor, find out about any side-effects and choose the option that disrupts your lifestyle as little as possible. There are plenty of ways to fight pain, medication can be a part of it but it shouldn’t be the only option you use.