We know that living with chronic pain – pain that lasts more than 6 months – is stressful both physically and psychologically. Here are some ways that you can manage your pain and improve the quality of your day-to-day life:
1. Lose weight, if you need to. Being overweight can be hard on your back and joints. For every pound of extra weight, you add about 5 lbs of extra stress on your knees.
2. Continue (or start to) exercise. It sounds counter-intuitive, but exercise has been shown to be moderately effective for chronic pain. Even minimal movement such as walking can give you an endorphin boost and lift your mood. Consult with your physician about which exercises and stretches are appropriate for your condition.
3. Practice deep breathing. Meditation has been used for hundreds of years to calm the mind and reduce stress. This, in turn, can ease the tension in your muscles and decrease your sensitivity to pain. Try one of these three breathing exercises at home or take a guided meditation class.
4. Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol is a depressant, it disrupts normal sleep patterns, waking you up at night and leaving you feeling exhausted, even in the morning. Avoid drinking close to bedtime and limit yourself to 1-2 servings.
5. Eat better. Maintaining a well-balanced diet full of intact grains, vegetables and lean protein will improve your overall health. Eating well can also help you maintain your ideal weight and minimize glucose spikes.
6. Explore all your options. Though medication and physical therapy can be effective for mild pain, there are a number of new and improved treatments available today. Give us a call to learn about the advanced procedures we use at the Hemlock Pain Center to treat chronic pain and minimize the effect it has on your quality of life.