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3 Things To Avoid If You Want To Minimize Chronic Pain

3 Things To Avoid To Minimize Chronic Pain

People with chronic pain often think in terms of “more”. They should exercise more, meditate more, do more yoga, drink more water, and eat more healthy food. While all those things may be true, it can be awfully overwhelming to think of all the extra things you need to do when you aren’t feeling your best. That’s why it may be simpler for you to approaching minimizing your chronic pain with a different attitude; what should you stop doing because it makes your pain worse.

We explore the three things you should avoid to minimize chronic pain.

1. Eliminate Stress

People with chronic pain experience increased levels of stress, and stress causes more pain. This cycle of stress and pain needs to be broken if you are to get relief from your chronic pain, and patients find that reducing their stress is one of the best ways to minimize their pain. The Mayo Clinic suggests using relaxation techniques at home to avoid stress because relaxation decreases the effects of stress on the mind and body and helps you cope with the stress-pain cycle. Avoiding stress and becoming more relaxed is beneficial because you reduce muscle tension and chronic pain, improve your concentration and mood, improve your sleep quality, reduce your anger and frustration, and increase your blood flow to your muscles.

There are several relaxation techniques you can do at home. The goal is to focus your attention on something that calms you and increases awareness of your body. It’s more important that you regularly practice relaxation, and the type of technique does not matter as much as using the technique consistently to maximize its benefits.

Some people with chronic pain use visual imagery and body awareness to reduce stress and minimize pain; this involves repeating words or suggestions that help you relax and reduce muscle tension. You can try to imagine a peaceful place and focus on relaxed breathing to slow your heart rate. Other chronic pain sufferers slowly tense and then relax each muscle group to become more aware of their stress and tension to relieve it; it gives them a sense of control over their stress and pain. Additional relaxation techniques include deep breathing, massage, meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi.

Unfortunately, some people become stressed about the medication their doctors prescribe to minimize their chronic pain. Their concerns are valid, as we learn more about opioid addiction and the ways in which it contributes to heroin use and abuse. The opioid epidemic is reaching crisis level in the United States, as one in four people exposed to opioids become addicted to them. Even people who use prescription opioids conservatively and under the guidance of a medical professional risk becoming addicted to them. Now, more than ever, it’s important for people to use alternative treatments, such as those we explore in this article, to minimize their pain.

2. Re-think Dairy and Grains

Avoiding certain foods that cause inflammation is another way to minimize chronic pain. Doctors find that people who eat healthy foods that reduce inflammation find their fibromyalgia and chronic pain symptoms dissipate. Dairy and grains are foods that are known to contribute to inflammation, so avoiding dairy products and grains that contain simple carbohydrates with refined sugar is a must for minimizing pain. If you do eat grains, choose whole grains such as barley, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, and brown rice.

3. Avoid Red Meat

Chronic pain sufferers also should avoid red meat. Red meat also is known to increase inflammation and exacerbate chronic pain because it contains high levels of saturated fat and omega-6 fatty acids. Choose red meat for special occasions, and when you do eat it, opt for lean cuts that provide protein and nutrients without causing additional inflammation.

People with chronic pain can minimize their pain and reduce or even eliminate the need for prescription opioids when they avoid stress, dairy and grains, and red meat. Talk with your doctor about alternative treatments for your chronic pain and explain how you are working to rework your lifestyle to better manage your pain.

By Guest Contributor,  Jackie Waters

 

About Jackie Waters

Jackie was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her mid-20’s. Afterwards, Jackie began making the lifestyle changes needed in order to minimize the number of medications that she would need to take.

“As a neat freak, I’ve always been obsessed with a clean home. So, one of the first things I did was throw out harmful cleaning products and re-organize my home so that it would be easier for me to manage my “bad” days”.

Jackie also made diet and lifestyle changes to minimize as much as possible, her joint inflammation.

“I understand how scary it is to be diagnosed with a chronic illness. I’d love to share what I’ve learned with people who are newly diagnosed or who are struggling.”

If you would like to know more from Jackie or would like to help contribute articles to Healthdiagnosis.net, visit the Contact Us page.


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