Healthier Choices Decrease Chronic Pain

Small habits can make a big difference when you have chronic pain. Basic things like how you eat, exercise, sleep, stretch, and even think can limit or decrease your chronic pain! 

 

Did you know that many chronic health issues are caused by inflammation that can directly correlate to what we are feeding our bodies? The American diet is known for too many carbohydrates, bad fats, sugars, and processed foods. 

 

Foods that are known to help reduce inflammation:

  • Whole grains; brown, wild rice
  • Nuts, seeds, and beans
  • Vegetables; dark leafy greens
  • Fruit
  • Fish
  • Olive oil
  • Tea
  • Whole foods
  • Protein

 

Foods/beverages that are known to increase inflammation:

  • Red meat / processed meats
  • Sugary foods and beverages
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • White bread
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee creamer

 

Exercise and physical activity reduces chronic pain by building muscle strength and flexibility, reducing inflammation and fatigue, and improving sleep and emotion. There are many different types of exercise that can help limit and decrease chronic pain, but find something you enjoy doing and make it a habit. Be careful when exercising and make sure not to overdo it. Here are some low-impact exercises to start out with:

  • Walking
  • Bike riding
  • Swim classes
  • Yoga
  • Stretching

 

“Motion is lotion and movement is free.”  – Dr. Jackson Draeger

 

Proper sleep is crucial for chronic pain relief and essential to health and wellbeing. Poor sleep has negative impacts on chronic pain and can cause greater disability, poor mood and emotions, and limit ability of physical activity. Individuals should be getting a restful 7-8 hours of sleep every night and trying to go to bed and get up at the same time will help regulate your circadian rhythm. Avoiding the blue light from TV or electronics at least an hour or more before bedtime will also improve your sleep quality.

 

Don’t underestimate the power of proper nutrition, exercise, stretching, and good sleep with your chronic pain. There are many factors that have an effect on your body’s pain. 

 

Learn more information: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/

https://extension.usu.edu/heart/research/exercise-and-chronic-pain 

 

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