3 Lifestyle Changes To Help You Manage Your Chronic Pain Better

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Whether you have an old injury, back pain or suffer with muscle aches from fibromyalgia or another health condition, chronic pain is uncomfortable. What's more, it can lead to feelings of depression and hopelessness. That's why it is so important that you are able to manage your pain. You may be taking pain medication, but for even more relief, there are lifestyle changes you can make to make your pain more bearable. Here are just a few of the things you can do to get some relief.

Examine Your Diet

You may know that junk food is not good for you, but you may not realize that if you aren't eating the right foods, you may be contributing to your own pain. You may have an allergy that you are unaware of. For instance, some people report that potatoes and other so-called "nightshades"--peppers and eggplant--cause their joint pain. Others report problems when they eat gluten-filled foods such as pasta and bread.

To find out what foods may be affecting your pain, try eliminating some of the most common food allergens and see how you feel. Dairy foods, wheat products, eggs and nightshades seem to be the most common agitators. Then, after a few weeks, slowly introduce the food back into your diet, and see how you feel. If you notice a difference, you'll know that you should stay away from that particular food, because it causes your pain to get worse.

It's also important to make every effort to prepare all of your meals yourself, so that you know all the ingredients involved and can avoid any that cause your pain to flare up.

Exercise Regularly

If you are living a life filled with chronic pain, the last thing you may want to do is exercise. However, exercise is often one of the best things you can do to soothe chronic pain. That's because exercise provides a number of health benefits that can lead to a sense of relief. It improves circulation, which means that your cells get the nutrients they need, and exercise ensures you don't have even more pain because your muscles are getting stiff from not moving.

You don't have to do high-impact, heart-pumping cardio all the time, either. You can do low-impact exercise such as walking, water aerobics or yoga.

Get More Sleep

If you're like most adults, getting sleep is something that you don't think you have time for. However, sleep is not a luxury. You need sleep to revitalize yourself and recharge your muscles. When you are well-rested, pain is easier to manage because you aren't also feeling the strain of being tired. Not only that, but lack of sleep can cause you to have a slower reaction time, which means that you are slower to respond to stimuli; that can lead to even more injuries and pain.

When you don't get enough sleep, your decision-making may also be affected in a way where you are less likely to use any of the other tips in this article to keep your pain under control. You may not have the energy to exercise, or you may decide to get lunch from a fast food restaurant because you're too tired to prepare your lunch in the morning. Getting enough sleep can help you to do everything you need to do to manage your pain well.

Now that you know some ways you can help soothe your pain other than medication, you can start doing them. Be sure to tell your doctor what you are doing, so that they can make even more suggestions about how best to manage your pain. Speak with experts like the Illinois Pain Institute for more information.